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A methodology for preventing requirements issues from becoming defects

Objective

Through an earlier ESSI project (10438 - PET) Brüel & Kjaer has discovered that the major cause for errors in our products stem from problems related to requirements. The competition on the market for PC applications in our field is growing rapidly, and Brüel & Kjaer must react more to market demands and customer requirements rather than driving development by technology.
The objectives are to define and implement an experience-driven requirements methodology with the following main goals:

- To achieve faster time-to-market through reduced rework and changes during development.
- To ensure that requirements better reflect customer expectations and market trends.
- To improve the completeness, stability, and usability of requirements specifications.
- To detect errors in requirements, as early as possible, by tracking requirements issues over the life-cycle

THE EXPERIMENT

The approach of the PIE will be to analyse requirements issues in error reports from earlier software development projects of a similar nature to determine which theoretical approaches or techniques could have prevented the issues from being reported as defects. Special emphasis will be placed on approaches and techniques that assist in making requirements complete with respect to customer and market needs as well as functionality, thus preventing missing or changed requirements later on in the development process, where they will result in rework, poorer quality, and delays in the release of the product. This optimal set of techniques will be selected to define a new requirements methodology. The methodology will be implemented on a real-life project to determine its practical usability. The progress of the project will be monitored, requirements issues tracked, and the methodology adjusted and improved.

EXPECTED IMPACT AND EXPERIENCE

In the course of the experiment we expect to have implemented in a project group a state-of-the-art methodology for creating requirements specifications with remarkably fewer defects. The result will be less rework in the later phases of development, and therefore a reduction in time-to-market of our products along with improved fulfilment of customer needs.
The methodology will have a fundamental impact on the way we develop, verify, and validate requirements specifications. It will be integrated in our ISO 9000 Quality Management System, and disseminated throughout the rest of the organisation. The results will also be disseminated at relevant international conferences, and through the experience exchange networks in which we participate (e.g. Datateknisk Forum, ESPRIT project RENOIR).
The theoretical basis for the PIE will be proven standard approaches and techniques, such as checklists for requirements (e.g. IEEE), customer needs analysis tools (e.g. Quality Function Deployment), market trends and vision (e.g. focus groups), fast user interface prototyping (e.g. user data models) ea.

Funding Scheme

ACM - Preparatory, accompanying and support measures

Coordinator

Bruel & Kjaer
Address
Skodsborgvej 307
2850 Naerum
Denmark