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  1. #1
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    Ways to get better requirements

    Does anyone have any advice on ways to get Project Managment(PM)to gather better requirements. In my world I have actually been told by a PM that they don't have time to write the kind of requirments that I have asked for, they are too detailed. I would like to know if any of you have used an approach or technique to get the person responsible for gathering requirements to get more detail when doing so.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Ways to get better requirements

    I think the reality is in anything other than a life and death or other high dollar cost of failure money is no object project requirements documents and the corresponding design documents will never be first rate.

    The cost of doing it first rate in both time and materials is simply to great.

    The reason for this is that a project that is larger than a couple of weeks long gets to be too large to envision all the thousands of details. To get those details costs money that won't be spent. This is why we have concepts like extreme programming and iterative development.

    That is simply a reality. I see at as simply a way to do my job better and to look better for doing my job.

    Almost all project managers love it when I take their application and go through it with a fine tooth comb and spot all the missing and inconsistent items.

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    Paul
    Sr.Test Specialist
    Paul
    QC Test Lead

  3. #3
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    Re: Ways to get better requirements

    Paul,
    I actually don't understand your answer.
    What is a reality? That you don't have requirements or that you have requirements?

    No matter what, requirement gathering and refining is the most important phase in a development process (it does not matter if you use XP, evolutionary or incremental development or whatever).

    The problem with PM is a classic one. The only way is to prove a higher cost because of the lack of requirements and whatever that is missing.

    In our projects we have always someone dedicated as requirement responsible. We, as testers, must cooperate close with those guys since we then should test the requirements.

    Best regards Björn

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  4. #4
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    Re: Ways to get better requirements

    We always get requirements. e-tester asked how to get better requirements. My response was we won't get them and for the reasons stated. There are always exceptions to the rule.

    Where is my experience to say this? I have worked for EDS, Ford, General Motors, a large bank, a large insurance company and a small high tech company. I have been around for a while now.

    Others may disagree but I know what I see



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    Paul
    Sr.Test Specialist
    Paul
    QC Test Lead

  5. #5
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    Re: Ways to get better requirements

    I just thought of an example to illustrate my point

    This forum software is really poor. It sure doesn't meet my expectations. I think they missed some things in the requirements doc.

    This is fun...this is a good forum...it's just the the software that is poor...imho

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    Paul
    Sr.Test Specialist
    Paul
    QC Test Lead

  6. #6
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    Re: Ways to get better requirements

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by e-tester:
    Does anyone have any advice on ways to get Project Managment(PM)to gather better requirements.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    A couple ways I do this. One is that I tell them ("them" being Project Management, Product Management, Marketers, etc.) that I do requirements-based testing. I explain how and why that works. I also provide templates for gathering requirements if that is necessary. I also provide checklists for things to look at for requirements.

    Another way is to get a use case approach going. Use cases are basically broken up into the following types: use case models/diagrams, use cases, and use case narratives. These are sometimes seen as easier to do than a "full" requirements specification.

    Another way is I cut down on how requirements are actually specified. One of the ways to do this is via a standardized type of language. You can craft your own that is relevant to your company or you can use an existing one like Tom Gilb's planguage.

    There are other techniques you can do but they are all variations on this theme. I think one of the major reasons people do not write requirements is that they just see it as overhead. But you can, again, show how it would be beneficial to the business. For example, you can delineate how the quality effort can map back to the requirements by providing a test case for each requirement. Or you can show how requirements traceability works.

    Hopefully some of this at least gives you an idea or two.

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  7. #7
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    Re: Ways to get better requirements

    Ill reply to this topic from a developer/requirement generator perspective.

    Not creating requirements is the act of an immature software development cycle. THis can happen to ANY organization, not just new start ups. It's hard to judge the benefits of items that will enhance the product in the long term.

    The best thing you can do is to keep working on your pitch to the project team (developers, requirement makers, etc) and help them understand that they will release a better product if they work better on the requirements. This helps in documentation as well.

    My insinct is to resist as much as possible -- I want to get working on whatever, not take the time to write out large documents. But I've been around long enough to understand late in the testing cycle that something wasn't tested because the testers didn't know they could do that. It's not their fault, it's mine. Learning this way is interesting, but you're goal is to avoid that method of learning.


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  8. #8
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    Re: Ways to get better requirements

    Thanks for all of the help. If nothing else it reinforces the thought that I am not alone in this battle.



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    ER,
    Sr. QA Lead

 

 

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