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Given a specific project with a reasonably defined charter and clear business goals you, the business analyst, set out to elicit and document the detailed business requirements. So when do you stop? How do you know when you are done gathering the requirements?

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Traditional software development has always required a long requirements-gathering phase at the beginning of a project that, if not handled correctly, can often result in schedule delays and costly budget overruns that have a significant impact on the project itself.  Software simulation can streamline that process and prevent many of the erro...
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In this issue of the IIBA Newsletter: Base Consulting and Management Inc. Provides Financial Guidance by Shannon Bott BABOK Update by Kevin Brenan Experiencing the CBAP—Pre- and Post-Exam by Shirley Sartin
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Many of the characteristics of properly specified requirements have been well known for many years, at least among professional requirements engineers. Yet most requirements specifications seen today in industry still include many poor-quality requirements. Far too many requirements are ambiguous, incomplete, inconsistent, incorrect, infeasible, un...
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Maybe it was that southern drawl. Or maybe it was because I got mad. I'm not sure why I still remember this moment so clearly, but I do.  It happened when I was at Spyglass, over ten years ago.  Several of us developers were in a meeting with Steve Stone, then recently-hired as director of the Champaign office.  We were talking abo...
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In this article, the focus shifts to a particular view in the 4+1 Architecture Views, defined by the Rational Unified Process. We will examine how to use Activity Diagrams as "roadmaps" for the Process View, to capture processing flows as a series of steps. We will also discuss several techniques for creating these diagrams and ensuring their effec...
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The core purpose of software development is to provide solutions to customers' real problems. Use cases are a vital aspect of a technique that has been used successfully to ensure that development projects actually focus on these problems. They are used to discover, capture, and present customer requirements in a form that is accessible to develope...
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The author illustrates how to use UML Activity Diagrams to capture and communicate the details of user interface navigation and functionality, and explain three stereotypes: presentation, exception, and connector. Author: Ben Lieberman
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In this issue of the IIBA Newsletter: Memoir of the CBAP Exam by Chip Schwartz One Test-Taker’s Thoughts on the CBAP’s Value and Lengthy Application by Diana Cagle New Sponsorship Program by Liz Hadland Springtime Chapter News by Glenn Bule
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In this column, I summarize the 12 worst of the most common requirements engineering problems I have observed over many years working on and with real projects as a requirements engineer, consultant, trainer, and evaluator. I also list the negative consequences of these problems, and most importantly suggest some industry best practices that can he...
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Many managers and others who are not professional requirements engineers tend to greatly over-simplify requirements engineering (RE). Based on their observations that requirements specifications primarily contain narrative English textual statements of individual requirements and that all members of the engineering team are reasonably literate, the...
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The Use Case Model describes the proposed functionality of the new system. A Use Case represents a discrete unit of interaction between a user (human or machine) and the system. A Use Case is a single unit of meaningful work; for example login to system, register with system and create order are all Use Cases. Each Use Case has a description which ...
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In this fourth and final part of the series I'll share some of my advice for writing good specs. The biggest complaint you'll hear from teams that do write specs is that "nobody reads them." When nobody reads specs, the people who write them tend to get a little bit cynical. It's like the old Dilbert cartoon in which engineers use stacks of 4-inc...
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Now that you've read all about why you need a spec and what a spec has in it, let's talk about who should write them. Who writes specs? Let me give you a little Microsoft history here. When Microsoft started growing seriously in the 1980s, everybody there had read The Mythical Man-Month, one of the classics of software management. (If you haven'...
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This series of articles is about functional specifications, not technical specifications. People get these mixed up. I don't know if there's any standard terminology, but here's what I mean when I use these terms. A functional specification describes how a product will work entirely from the user's perspective. It doesn't care how the thing is i...
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