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Mastering Software Project Requirements: A Framework for Successful Planning, Development & Alignment Hardcover – September 17, 2013
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Mastering Software Project Requirements is an eye-opening look inside the world of requirements analysis that outlines the main reasons software and IT projects fail, and then shows how to succeed. It explains why requirements analysis is much more than just a list of features, and details multiple strategies and tactics to create the right requirements for any project. --Vincent Serpico, CEO Spotlight Software
The ideas in this book add a new dimension to the field of requirements management that will help software organizations improve their requirements practices and results. The treatment of measurements and benchmarking as they apply to requirements is very unique, such as the five levels of effectiveness, the index for assessing practices, and the quality index--an original concept to measure the quality of requirements. I commend the author! --Magdy Hanna, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO, Rommana Software
From the Author
My analytical nature and desire to consistently improve are undeniable. This book is intended to share every technique, trick, and tip in business analysis that have not only helped me and my clients over the years but also enabled me to gain a strong foothold in job satisfaction. It is my hope that, through sharing this knowledge, others will not only thrive as business analysts but will gain a strong sense of that same pride in accomplishment that I have felt over the years.
It is also my hope that companies will gain the knowledge, tools, techniques, and insight to end a large part of the financial waste and personal frustration associated with information technology. I am convinced that we could have technologies far beyond the current means, if we simply changed the way in which business analysis is performed. In order for that to happen, business analysis must become a quantitatively managed and measured set of tasks, which can be consistently improved through targeted efforts.
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Top Customer Reviews
There are so many books on requirements, how is this one any different from the rest? I asked myself this question until I took the time to read the book from cover to cover. Yes, other books may provide adequate information on requirements. However, I recommend this book because it highlights a simple approach, that many of us can follow, on how to consult with stakeholders to manage and develop requirements.
2. Why did I read this book?
I perform the function of change management where I oversee projects/programs that interlace people, process, and technology. I recently completed a four-year program. The journey of gathering requirements from various stakeholders for various systems was similar to having a root canal. Therefore, I needed to increase my knowledge in software project requirements. This book highlighted vividly some of the mistakes that were made in our program in regards to the process of managing and developing requirements.
3.How close is this book from reality?
My apprehension in reading this book was the fact many other books on requirements are boring and contain much theory than what one may face in real life. Barbara does a great job including some extracts from her experience that materializes the theory. I find myself saying, gee, I have been there before. I could relate vividly to her experiences, her warnings, and recommendations.
4. What is missing?
The framework that the author lays out is not perfect by any means. However, she is the first one to highlight that. She wrote the book from the perspective of a business analyst, confessing, “There is little in the way of industry standard”.
It is my assessment that her picture of a business analyst may appear to have much more authority than in many other companies or projects. She argued, “The analyst is the one resource with the information, details, and knowledge to implement solutions that align to long-term strategies”. Some projects do not even have a business analyst resource.
A program or project manager often performs the functions assigned to the business analyst profile in the book. This is not to say she is wrong. I believe she is describing what it should be; rather than what it is. In addition, it could be that the reason so many projects fail is because the resources that support the duties of business analysts are not competent.
While I found literally every section had something very useful to offer, the chapter on "Establishing Metrics and Benchmarks" is particularly interesting and brimming with potential. This is an area that is so incredibly important ("you can't control what you can't measure" – DeMarco), and yet so rarely do you open a book on business analysis or requirements these days and find anything significant on the topic. True to form, Barbara lays out a pragmatic approach for establishing a requirements measurement framework that any organization could adopt – regardless of their maturity in the area.
After taking you through a journey from "Defining the Business Need, Vision, and Mission" all the way through Eliciting, Analyzing, Specifying, and Validation the solution requirements, you then find a fantastic section on how all these requirements practices are adjusted/bent/shaped/twisted when applied in contrasting real-world situations. Situations like projects using agile, waterfall, "wagile", TOGAF Enterprise Architecture, and even lessons from the world of rigorous process standards like DO-178 (Aviation Engineering Specifications).
One thing is obvious when reading this book: the author is relating lessons that were learned the hard way, and is doing the reader a favor by passing them on. If you're a business analyst, new to the role or experienced, do yourself a favor - and read this book.
Some of the scenarios you might have came across in your career and had learnt the lessons but this book documents the process from all the stakeholders perspective giving a larger picture.
The book covers the requirements planning & management covering the strategy, metrics, benchmarks and all things related to requirements. Then it also goes into covering the details of the Agile and waterfall methodologies and the strengths & risks of the models.
The book is like a practical guide to the project managers and leads specially the ones who are pitchforked into the position without the proper trainings and handholding's and are left to learn things on the job and become expert at it with doing minimal mistakes. the book helps in learning from real life scenarios coming from authors expertise and speeding up the learning process.
The book's language is extremely simple and the point of view is very consistent and shows the author's authority over the subject matter. The book moves at a nice pace and is extremely absorbing without being dull or loose. the knowledge points are tight and the other information, whether process or human related, including complex scenarios are completely fleshed out thus adding to the well crafted feel of the book.
Will recommend it to all the project management , business analysts and software development teams and other management teams executing IT projects.