Requirements analysis

This topic is concerned with the process of analyzing requirements to

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Detect and resolve conflicts between requirements
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Discover the bounds of the software and how it must interact with its environment
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Elaborate system requirements to derive software requirements

The traditional view of requirements analysis has been that it be reduced to conceptual modeling using one of anumber of analysis methods such as the Structured Analysis and Design Technique (SADT). While conceptual modeling is important, we include the classification of requirements to help inform trade-offs between requirements (requirements classification) and the process of establishing these trade-offs (requirements negotiation).

Care must be taken to describe requirements precisely enough to enable the requirements to be validated, their implementation to be verified, and their costs to be estimated.

4.1. Requirements Classification

Requirements

can be classified on a number of dimensions. Examples include

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Whether the requirement is functional or nonfunctional.
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Whether the requirement is derived from one or more high-level requirements or an emergent property or is being imposed directly on the software by a stakeholder or some other source.
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Whether the requirement is on the product or the process. Requirements on the process can constrain the choice of contractor, the software engineering process to be adopted, or the standards to be adhered to.
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The requirement priority. In general, the higher the priority, the more essential the requirement is for meeting the overall goals of the software. Often classified on a fixed-point scale such as mandatory, highly desirable, desirable, or optional, the priority often has to be balanced against the cost of development and implementation.
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The scope of the requirement. Scope refers to the extent to which a requirement affects the software and software components. Some requirements, particularly certain nonfunctional ones, have a global scope in that their satisfaction cannot be allocated to a discrete component. Hence, a requirement with global scope may strongly affect the software architecture and the design of many components, whereas one with a narrow scope may offer a number of design choices and have little impact on the satisfaction of other requirements.
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Volatility/stability. Some requirements will change during the life cycle of the software, and even during the development process itself. It is useful if some estimate of the likelihood that a requirement change can be made. For example, in a banking application, requirements for functions to calculate and credit interest to customers’ accounts are likely to be more stable than a requirement to support a particular kind of tax-free account. The former reflect a fundamental feature of the banking domain (that accounts can earn interest), while the latter may be rendered obsolete by a change to government legislation. Flagging potentially volatile requirements can help the software engineer establish a design which is more tolerant of change.

Other classifications may be appropriate, depending upon the organization’s normal practice and the application itself.

There is a strong overlap between requirements classification and requirements attributes.

4.2. Conceptual Modeling

The development of models of a real-world problem is key to software requirements analysis.



Requirements analysis