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Exploring Requirements: Quality Before Design 1st Ed. Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0932633132
ISBN-10: 0932633137
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Editorial Reviews


"Anyone who wants to build a product should understand this book." -- Watts S. Humphrey, Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University

"a superb new book on systems analysis. . . . you simply must read and absorb this gem. -- Ed Yourdon, American Programmer

"makes a very important, serious subject fun and easy to read." -- Bill Loveless, PC News and Reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dorset House Publishing Company, Incorporated; 1st Ed. edition (September 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932633137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932633132
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 7.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #540,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In the decade since I last read this book I've gained a wealth of experience in requirements elicitation and management. So why bother re-reading the book and taking the time to write a review? Because I strongly believe that this is one of the classics and should be *required* reading by anyone in the IT profession (it also crosses over into just about any profession).
What makes this book a classic? After all, we practitioners have software tools such as DOORS and Requisite Pro, advanced techniques such as quality function deployment, specialized modeling languages such as UML, and a keener understanding of the importance in business rules.
All of these innovations and advances are technical in nature. The authors address something much deeper and more fundamental that will apply a decade from now: human nature and critical thinking. They lead you to an understanding of these keys to exploring requirements, and they do so in with subtle humor, common sense and clear writing. One example of how they delve into the deeper subjects of human nature and critical thinking is a true story about an advertisement for a "cockroach killer" that is guaranteed to be 100% effective. After your initial chuckles die down you begin to see things in a different way. The authors lead you from this humorous story into one discussion or example after another and how they apply to requirements. By the time you finish this book you will begin looking at the requirements process in a different way, and perhaps, the world around you as well.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
By no means have I read everything there is to read on the subject of software requirements, but I've not read anything better than this book. What I really like about this book, and about Weinberg's writings in general, is that it does not get bogged down in a bunch of academic methodology mumbo jumbo. Gause and Weinberg's approach is imminently practical and free of buzzwords and complicated steps and models and CASE tools. No special equipment or licensing is required in order to take the advice in this book and make a huge difference in your current and future projects.
That said, do not let me give the impression that this book is vague or that it does not get into specifics or that it does not contain some useful step-by-step approaches. It is not vague at all, and it gets into plenty of specifics. What impresses me the most is the way it achieves complete coverage of the subject without bogging down or becoming boring. After reading this book, it is very likely that you will not feel the need to read much else on the subject of software requirements.
Now, what is most amazing is this: this is *not* specifically a book about *software* requirements. It is about any kind of requirements for any kind of project that requires a design, be it a new and better mousetrap or a large software system. My comments have used the term "software requirements" because this is why I read the book, and why I think a lot of people will read it. But this book is for anyone who must specify the requirements for something that must be designed and/or built, no matter what field you are in. The lessons here are so univeral that it does not matter which context you use them in. Essential reading.
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Format: Hardcover
"So, what do you want it to do?"
It looks like such a simple question. But this query - posed every day about Web sites, other software, indeed about buildings and cars and furniture and all sorts of designed objects - is one of the toughest questions that can be asked of an organisation. It triggers the requirements process. A thirteen-year-old book by Donald Gause and Gerald Weinberg, "Exploring Requirements" shows how to manage that process. Most Web developers and managers haven't read it, and should.
Like the man startled to find he had been speaking prose all his life, most of us have taken part in a requirements process, and many of us don't know it. Requirements analysis is actually a life skill that can be applied particularly often in your working life. If you've had an architect design renovations, or a friend build you a PC, or a large consulting firm build you a business reporting system, then you've been on the end of a requirement process, formal or informal. If you've ever designed or built something, and seen a disappointed look on the recipient's face, you've experienced requirements failure. If you've ever had a client rave about how great a Web site is, you've achieved requirements success.
Like that other classic, DeMarco and Lister's "Peopleware", "Exploring Requirements" makes ample use of large numbers of measurements collected over many years - like the numbers showing that programers are quite good at producing what they are actually asked to produce, if only they are asked to produce it. This data allows Gause and Weinberg to enunciate a simple principle: you'll quite likely get what you want, as long as you say what it is.
Saying what you want, though, takes surprising amounts of both discipline and technique.
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