Tutorial overview: Requirements management

Requirements management, or the process of specifying what the customer needs and desires from a software system, has existed since the beginning of software development. Yet every year, millions of dollars are spent on software development projects that are delayed, extended, over-budget and cancelled, due in large part to the lack of a good requirements management process. In many organizations today, the requirements management process appears to be flawed, informal or non-existent. As applications and systems grow in complexity, the process of defining and developing requirements becomes increasingly critical, yet is often more difficult.

Organizations that wish to cut development costs, decrease time-to-market and reduce resources must look to an effective, robust requirements management process. The key element of such a process is the way in which requirements are viewed and managed. An object-oriented approach to requirements management, while new to many organizations, ensures that requirements are treated as separate, yet related objects. This approach allows requirements, which are changeable by nature, to be easily modified, and their related requirements identified. Also, this approach allows requirements to be linked to associated development and testing entities to ensure that changes to the requirements are communicated throughout the development cycle. In short, an object-oriented approach bypasses many of the pitfalls of traditional requirements management processes, in which documents contain a multitude of static, unrelated, inflexible requirements.

The primary challenge involved in an object-oriented approach is not implementing the process itself, but rather changing the mindset of the individuals involved. Project teams must begin to see the requirements as they really are: individual pieces of information containing specific attributes and having complex relationships. Only when the true nature of requirements are understood can project teams begin to understand the importance of each requirement in relation to the entire project.

Topics covered

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss how the requirements management process can be improved by adopting an object-oriented approach. It will also discuss the advantages and benefits that can be derived when:


TOOLS USA attendees will gain an understanding of how to: