Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Requirements Innovation

Has innovation in requirements kept pace with innovation software process, design, analysis or even testing? I do not think so. Sure there is some innovation in requirements elicitation, especially with the use of prototyping, the Delphi method, ... but I see very little innovation in requirements presentation and use. In this age of hypertext and graphics I would expect more in presentation. Similarly in use, about the only thing I can point to is Parnas' active reviews (In D.M. Hoffman and D.M. Weiss Software Fundamentals: Collected Papers by David L. Parnas, Addison-Wesley, 2001, ISBN: 0-201-70369-6, Chapter 17. -- if you do not have this book and you are or aspire to be a software engineer, you should put it on your "books to read list", if not "books to purchase when I have enough money" list.).

Granted that life cycle tools have integrated requirements into their workbenches but there is no scheme for the rest of us.

I hope to make this one of the tracks we explore on the blog. We spend so much time grappling with and relying on requirements, yet we do not seem to spend enough time trying to improve them and their use.

So, for discussion, am I wrong? Is there innovation in requirements presentation and use, and if so where? If there is not innovation in requirements presentation and use, where should we begin? Perhaps one place to begin is to suggest publicly available instances of what you consider great requirements or attempts to be innovative in representing and using requirements. I will try to do the same. Later.