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Software Requirements (3rd Edition) (Developer Best Practices) [Paperback]

Karl Wiegers , Joy Beatty
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 25, 2013 0735679665 978-0735679665 3

Now in its third edition, this classic guide to software requirements engineering has been fully updated with new topics, examples, and guidance. Two leaders in the requirements community have teamed up to deliver a contemporary set of practices covering the full range of requirements development and management activities on software projects.

  • Describes practical, effective, field-tested techniques for managing the requirements engineering process from end to end.
  • Provides examples demonstrating how requirements "good practices" can lead to fewer change requests, higher customer satisfaction, and lower development costs.
  • Fully updated with contemporary examples and many new practices and techniques.
  • Describes how to apply effective requirements practices to agile projects and numerous other special project situations.
  • Targeted to business analysts, developers, project managers, and other software project stakeholders who have a general understanding of the software development process.
  • Shares the insights gleaned from the authors’ extensive experience delivering hundreds of software-requirements training courses, presentations, and webinars.

New chapters are included on specifying data requirements, writing high-quality functional requirements, and requirements reuse. Considerable depth has been added on business requirements, elicitation techniques, and nonfunctional requirements. In addition, new chapters recommend effective requirements practices for various special project situations, including enhancement and replacement, packaged solutions, outsourced, business process automation, analytics and reporting, and embedded and other real-time systems projects.

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Software Requirements (3rd Edition) (Developer Best Practices) + Visual Models for Software Requirements (Developer Best Practices) + More About Software Requirements: Thorny Issues and Practical Advice (Developer Best Practices)
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Editorial Reviews


"From the first edition in 1999 through each successive edition, the guidance that Software Requirements provides has been the foundation of my requirements consulting practice. To beginning and experienced practitioners alike, I cannot recommend this book highly enough."
--Roxanne Miller, President, Requirements Quest

"This new edition keeps pace with the speed of business, both in deepening the foundation of the second edition and in bringing analysts down-to-earth how-to's for addressing the surge in agile development, using features to control scope, improving elicitation techniques, and expanding modeling."
--Keith Ellis, President and CEO, Enfocus Solutions Inc.

"I especially like the latest topic on how to apply effective requirements practices to agile projects. The practical guide and real examples of the many different requirement practices are invaluable."
Doreen Evans, Robbins Gioia Inc.

"The best book on requirements just got better! The third edition's range of new topics expands the project circumstances it covers. Using requirements in agile environments is perhaps the most significant, because everyone involved still needs to understand what a new system must do--and agile developers are now an audience who ought to have a good grasp of what's in this book."
--Stephen Withall, author of Software Requirement Patterns

"The third edition of Software Requirements is finally available--and it was worth waiting so long. Full of practical guidance, it helps readers identify many useful practices for their work. I particularly enjoy the examples and many hands-on solutions that can be easily implemented in real-life scenarios. A must-read, not only for requirements engineers and analysts but also for project managers."
--Dr. Christof Ebert, Managing Director, Vector Consulting Services

"Karl and Joy have updated one of the seminal works on software requirements. Irrespective of the technology, business domain, methodology, or project type you are working in, this book will help you deliver better outcomes for your customers."
--Shane Hastie, Chief Knowledge Engineer, Software Education

"This usable and readable text walks you through exactly how to approach common requirements-related scenarios. The incorporation of multiple stories, case studies, anecdotes, and examples keeps it engaging to read."
--Laura Brandenburg, Host at Bridging the Gap

From the Back Cover

Improve the way your teams:
* Identify and collaborate with key stakeholders
* Elicit and analyze requirements, with a focus on business objectives
* Document, prioritize, validate, and reuse requirements
* Prototype and create visual models of requirements
* Manage change requests, scope creep, and other project risks
* Understand and specify customer quality expectations

About You:

This book's primary audience is business analysts and requirements engineers, along with software architects, developers, project managers, and other stakeholders.

Product Details

  • Series: Developer Best Practices
  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 3 edition (August 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735679665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735679665
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I became a business analyst in 2004 and a co-worker suggested that I read Karl Wieger's books, Software Requirements, 2nd Edition and More About Software Requirements Thorny Issues and Practical Advice. That was the BEST professional advice I've ever received. The books have been integral in helping me to understand the many different skill sets, techniques, and best practices required to do a great job as an analyst.

So when I heard that Karl and Joy were co-writing the 3rd Edition of Software Requirements I was elated! The information provided in the new book is current, easy to understand, and so very relevant. Real-life examples and humor have been weaved throughout the book which makes it a very interesting read.

I recommend this book as an essential reference guide for anyone involved in software development, not just analysts. All roles should know about business analysis as it relates to system design and software development. This will be a book that you will refer to time after time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are a great many friendlier, funnier, more engaging software requirements books on the market. There are very few books as comprehensive and concise as this one. Yes, concise. I know it's huge. It just covers that much information.

It provides an analysis of stakeholders and functional vs nonfunctional requirements that was surprisingly informative. We throw those terms around all the time, but rarely consider a formal definition. This book looks at a variety of options, and the one you choose will guide your thinking throughout requirements analysis and harvsting.

It covers everything you need to establish your requirements for the waterfall method, though it features substantial information on agile. If you are new to agile, and need ideas on how to gather the backlog, or if you've been using a while but don't feel the backlog is as complete as it should be, grab this book and a notepad. It covers a host of sources that are easy to overlook

It is very, very dry reading, which is the only reason it is four stars and not five. I found it hard to stay focused once in a while, and needed a caffeine boost to keep going. There is an attempt in the beginning to be humorous, but that is quickly lost. It is a little poorly organized. The topic sentence does not always guide the reader to the topic under discussion. You'll need to reset your focus a few times during the book, but it's worth it. The first two editions are often considered required reading for project managers, and the third lives up to that august reputation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I have been an avid reader and fan of Karl’s software development related books ever since my university days and now as a lead practitioner and trainer, I continue to find more value in his work. I had the honor of interviewing both Karl and Joy to learn about some behind-the-scenes information on how this new edition was updated. I was pleased to learn about their due diligence to ensure they’ve left no stone unturned to bring forward the latest and greatest in software requirements engineering.

The organization of the book, the emphasis on the role of a business analyst, and an in-depth requirements discovery and development roadmap are some of the key strengths of this edition. The first part sets the context and introduces a few best practices for requirements engineering. This is essential, and in my view applicable to all roles involved in software development.

Part II of the book covers the requirements development process, best practices in-depth for both waterfall and agile projects. As you read through this section, you will realize that the best practices are truly methodology agnostic, and imperative regardless of the business analysis approach.

One of the big challenges of a requirements practitioner is how to tailor the requirements discovery and development process for different projects, and Part III of the book precisely addresses this facet. This was something that always wished that a book would contain as I continue to work on different kinds of projects as a lead business analysis practitioner.

I was also pleased to see an entire section of the book devoted to requirements management aspect (Part IV).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gold Standard got even better! December 18, 2013
Over the years, when a novice business analyst (or someone with experience handling requirements) has asked me for a good reference, I’ve sent them to Karl Wiegers’ books. This third edition of Software Requirements is the gold standard I’ll now be recommending. Karl and Joy have done an excellent job of enriching the already-great material from the prior version, giving readers an understanding of why solid requirements are needed and illustrating practical techniques for developing and managing requirements. In addition to commonplace stories illustrating the concepts, they provide clear and useful examples of all the techniques. Practical, complete examples are essential to understanding methods an analyst hasn’t used before; like many of the subject matter experts we encounter, we “know it when we see it!”

The book is written in a flow that helps an analyst see what needs to be done from the point when an idea is first considered, to when it becomes the subject of a project, all the way through the project completion. Not all techniques work well with all types of projects, though, so the book includes sections describing adaptations of the material discussed and the specific needs of particular types of projects. They cover agile, enhancement and replacement, packaged solution, outsourced, business process automation, business analytics, and embedded and real-time projects.

While it’s a healthy-sized tome at more than 600 pages, the book is well organized and specific topics are easy to access individually. Most business analysts would benefit from reading it cover to cover, though, at least once!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good book. Covers a lot.
Published 5 hours ago by Cyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, practical, efficient
There are many very good books about requirements. This book is in a hurry. It wastes no time. It is on a mission to bring you information you can immediately use. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John Robertson
4.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Really well structured and very useful for any person that works with requirements and IT teams. This book suggests an approach and lots of techniques that are of great help! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Edgar
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, VERY lengthy
As usual MS press knocks it out of the park. This book is thorough and instructive, my only complaint is the length. This is a *very* deep dive into the subject.
Published 2 months ago by Trevor Goodchild
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Just Keeps Getting Better
This 3rd edition of Karl Wiegers' "Software Requirements" takes the industry-standard content for which the prior editions are known and adds coverage several key topics. Read more
Published 2 months ago by D. R. Jeanclerc
4.0 out of 5 stars Seminal work on creating software requirements
As a software professional, I can tell you that poor requirements gathering is probably the top reason projects go wrong or fail. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Flat-out terrific guidance for business analysts and anyone else...
I've been a business and requirements analyst for more than 30 years now, self-taught for the most part and benefitting from what amounted to apprenticeship with first-rate... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jessica Weissman
5.0 out of 5 stars Updated & More Complete Version of The Classic Work on Software...
This is a book that deserves to be in the library of every Information Technology Professional, as well as those devoted to Business Requirements Analysis. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ira Laefsky
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I've found this book extremely useful and easy to read. I highly recommend for anyone that wants just to know about software requirements or is planning to make a career as... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Walter Ritzel
5.0 out of 5 stars Usable and readable
If you are looking for a practical guide into what software requirements are, how to craft them, and what to do with them, then look no further than Software Requirements. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Laura Brandenburg
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Topic From this Discussion
Any plan for Kindle version?
Hi Hasan -- The Kindle version of the third edition is now available from Thanks for your interest.... Karl
Aug 28, 2013 by Karl Wiegers |  See all 2 posts
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