Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Requirements engineering: Fad or Fact

A new term has popped up in the world of IT Service Management. Requirements Engineering may be a new term, but the concept (like all other good concepts) is as old as the hills.

Here is what it means. In simple terms it is the art of gaining an understanding of business (customer) and end user requirements. That is the summary.

The slightly more expanded view gives us a series of steps that we need to follow in order to get those requirements and then three categories that we can assign each requirement to.

The three steps to get the requirements are:

1. Gather (collect, assemble)
2. Analyze (examine, study)
3. Rationalize (substantiate, justify)

These three basic steps give us a well rounded requirements document that can be agreed upon between business representatives and IT.

Each requirement can be categorized in one of three ways. Categorization helps us with dealing with manageable "chunks" of information and avoiding duplication of effort.

The three categories are:

a. Functional - those requirements to support a specific business function
b. Operational - typically technically orientated towards availability, security, etc
c. Usability - the 'softer' requirements related to aesthitics and ease of use

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