Requirements Engineering: Lessons learned

Preliminary schedule and location

Mon September 23rd 9.15 am - 5.15 pm 
Tue September 24th 9.15 am - 5.15 pm

V-Lab, University of Oulu


Alan M. Davis, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, USA

Organizer: Professor Markku Oivo

Day 1

Day 1 of this course will focus on seven specific development efforts (ranging from 1977 to the current day). For each, Dr. Davis will discuss the business context, the RE practices used, the reasons why those practices were chosen, and the business outcomes. The day concludes with a set of observations about the relationships between business context, RE practices, and business success. We will also make some interesting (and hopefully unbiased) observations about how RE has evolved in practice. One of the key takeaways for the audience will be that one cannot measure the effectiveness of RE practices based on technical measures; only business measures are applicable.

9:15-10:45 Part 1: Background and Case I
10:45-11:15 Break
11:15-12:45 Part 2: Cases II, III, and IV
12:45-14:00 Lunch*
14:15-15:45 Part 3: Cases V and VI
15:45-16:15 Break
16:15-17:15 Part 4: Case VII and Observations/Conclusions 

Day 2

Day 2 will be a tutorial on RE best practices organized into 3 basic activities: (1) determining needs (elicitation), (2) deciding which needs should be addressed (triage), and (3) documenting desired external behavior of the system (specification). We will address how important it is to spend time only on those activities that will provide the biggest return:

  • For elicitation, we’ll teach how to select an effective technique, set a tone with stakeholders so you have the best chance of uncovering requirements, work with multiple stakeholders with diverse needs, and perform interviews and conduct collaborative sessions effectively.
  • For triage, we’ll teach how to reach consensus when consensus seems impossible, use small iterations, resolve seemingly incompatible schedules and requirements demands, and maintain a sensible requirements backlog.
  • For specification, we’ll teach how to maintain requirements in simple hierarchical lists, augment lists with models where appropriate, select appropriate modeling notations, and use the “correct” level of detail in which to record requirements.

This is the first time Dr. Davis is sharing the intense personal experiences of the first day with any public audience. He suspects that once audience members hear what he has to say during the first day, they will (rightfully) challenge some of the advice he will be giving during the second day . . . and that will make for a very lively and educational debate!

9:15-10:45 Part 5: Background and Context of Requirements
10:45-11:15 Break
11:15-12:45 Part 6: Requirements Elicitation
12:45-14:00 Lunch*
14:15-15:45 Part 7: Requirements Triage
15:45-16:15 Break
16:15-17:15 Part 8: Requirements Specification, Requirements Change, and Course Conclusions

*) Lunch can be bought at own expense from Uniresta Restaurants.

Relevant readings:
Just Enough Requirements Management, Alan M. Davis. ISBN 0-932633-64-1.


This seminar is free-of-charge for member organization's staff and their PhD-students. For others the participation fee is 750 €. The participation fee includes access to the event and the event materials. Lunch and dinner are not included.


Doctoral students participating in the seminar can obtain two (2) credit points. This requires participating on both days and completing the assignments given at the seminar.