Requirements development is hard. Major requirements problems remain, especially on larger projects, even when basic requirements development and management practices are effectively used. Part of the problem is that requirements development is less about technical activities like specifying and analyzing and more about messy human activities like teaming, discovering, communicating, and negotiating. Human factors get in the way of efficiency. High precision is unnatural to many people. Ambiguous communication is the rule, not the exception.
This workshop surveys more than 50 safety tactics that you can use in any combination to develop a requirements risk management strategy tailored to the dangers in your situation. By practicing some of the safety tactics and experiencing their impact firsthand you will learn about tactics for avoiding failures, mitigating the impact of defects, minimizing communication problems, and monitoring status as well as tactics for staffing, planning, and preparing for requirements risk management.
This workshop will be valuable to all those concerned with controlling systems development risk.
Section I. Why is Requirements Development So Hard?
Of all project activities, requirements development has changed the least in approach and results. Its importance is recognized, so why aren't we doing better? This section describes the nature of the challenge.
Section II. Types of Requirements Risk
There are many things that impact the quality of requirements and many things that requirements can affect. We factor requirements risk into seven groups and describe the contents of each.
EXERCISE: Participants identify their requirements risks. Then, teams share their risks with the entire group.
Section III. Requirements Risk Management
After admitting the danger, a project team must control its requirements risk. This section describes the challenges of a risk management process.
Section IV. Safety Tactics 1: Avoiding Requirements-based Failures
Projects become famous failures by promising a lot, consuming resources, and delivering little or nothing. Tactics in this section focus on avoiding this type of fame.
EXERCISE: The entire group identifies challenges of incremental commitment why might it be hard?
Section V. Safety Tactics 2: Mitigating Impact of Requirements-based Problems
Requirements will conflict and be defective, despite your best efforts. This section describes tactics that reduce the impact of these problems.
Section VI. Safety Tactics 3a: Minimizing Communication Problems
Clear project communication is one of the core challenges of system development. Natural language is a major problem, because it is so natural. This section describes alternatives and supplements to text blocks.
EXERCISE: Teams create rich definitions including a derived value, quality profile, and action contract. Team definitions are shared with the entire group.
EXERCISE: Teams replace a "magic number" with a derived value.
EXERCISE: Teams create a state transition table and then share with the entire group.
Section VII. Safety Tactics 3b: Minimizing Other Problems
Beyond communication, there are other problems that can be reduced with specific minimization tactics. This section describes these added tactics.
Section VIII. Safety Tactics 4: Monitoring Requirements Status
Requirements and their related information (e.g. defects) must be monitored to detect expected and unexpected risk. This section describes tactics that provide this monitoring.
EXERCISE: The entire group interprets requirements change measures.
Section IX. Safety Tactics 5: Staffing for Requirements Development
People, their involvement, knowledge, and behavior make all the difference. This section focuses on getting the right people, with the right perspective and skills to do the job right.
Section X. Safety Tactics 6: Planning for Requirements Risk Management
To get risk management off to a solid start, you need to understand what information people need and what bad things might happen as you try to get it. This section deals with creating effective strategies for requirements development and risk management.
EXERCISE: Teams brainstorm risks and tactics for a case study and then share results with the entire group.
Section XI. Safety Tactics 7: Preparing for Requirements Risk Management
Some tactics (e.g. acquiring tools) involve the creation, outside a production project, of a foundation that enables other safety tactics (e.g. identify imprecise information) to be more effective during development. This section describes these foundational tactics.
Section XII. Safety Tactics 8: Compensating for Requirements-based Problems
Because misunderstanding will occur and mistakes will be made, some design, implementation, and test work will need to be redone. Sometimes your worst fears will not be realized and your strategy will need adjusting.
EXERCISE: Teams walk through the tactics usage process
A minimum of one year of requirements development experience is recommended.