Context free question Goal is to prevent narrow-mindedness the user’s response to the questions. Examples: Who is the user? Who is the customer? Are their needs different? Where else can a solution to this problem be found? Context-free questions also parallel the questions salespeople are taught to ask as part of a technique called “solutions selling.” After context-free questions are asked, suggested solutions can be explored.
Role of the Facilitator Workshop Agenda Running the Workshop Workshop Problems and Suggestions -Selling the workshop concept to stakeholders -Ensuring the Participation of the Right Stakeholders -Logistics -Try and prevent Murphy’s law -Includes travel, lighting, and even “afternoon sugar filled snacks.” -Warm-up materials -Project-specific information -Out-of-box thinking preparation
Banning criticism and banning debate is not just an attempt to “be nice”. It is necessary to not squelch creative thinking.
Weakness of Use Cases -- we miss the “ilities”, the quality attributes. Those must be addressed explicitly eventually.
10/02/13 RE 2
Requirements Elicitation: A Survey of Techniques,
Approaches, and Tools
10/02/13 RE 3
The elicitation of requirements represents an early but
continuous and critical stage in the development of
The requirements for a software system may be
spread across many sources.
• the problem owners,
• the stakeholders,
• documentation, and other existing systems.
Because of the communication rich nature of
requirements elicitation activities, many of the effective
techniques do not originate from the traditional areas of
software engineering or computer science research.
• Some of the techniques are derived mostly from the social sciences,
organizational theory, group dynamics, knowledge engineering, and
very often from practical experience.
10/02/13 RE 4
The process of requirements elicitation is
generally accepted as one of the critical
activities in the RE process.
• but it’s a difficult part of software development
A recent field study of fifteen RE teams
carried out by Hofmann and Lehner identified
key RE practices that should lead to project
• Effective elicitation of requirements was arguably
among the most important of the resulting
recommended good RE practices.
10/02/13 RE 5
Nature of Req. Elicitation activities
Requirements elicitation itself is a very complex
process involving many activities, with multiple
techniques available to perform these activities.
The multidisciplinary nature of requirements
elicitation only adds to this complexity.
In reality requirements elicitation is a multifaceted
and iterative activity that relies heavily on the
communication skills of requirements engineers and
the commitment and cooperation of the system
One of the main problems facing software
development project teams is communication
barriers and agreement about the requirements.
10/02/13 RE 6
The main concepts which are clearly defined to one
community of participants can be entirely opaque to
members of another.
The fact that this situation exists often goes unnoticed
in the course of elicitation unless specific attention is
paid to the problem.
For example, it can be said that the method employed
for a custom built embedded control system is likely to
be substantially different to that of a commercially
available inventory management system.
Furthermore, project teams may be spread across
different geographical locations and from diverse
The specific elicitation techniques used for a particular
situation often depend on a variety of additional factors
including time and cost, the availability of resources,
the safety criticality of the system, and any legal or
10/02/13 RE 7
What is Requirements
Very little uniformity in RE research and practice
concerning a standard definition for requirements
Requirements elicitation is concerned with learning and
understanding the needs of users and project sponsors
with the ultimate aim of communicating these needs to
the system developers.
Robertson and Robertson refer to this process as
“trawling for requirements” to highlight the fact that
through this process you are likely to get more
requirements than expected.
This implies that gathering a few extraneous
requirements initially is always better than gathering
10/02/13 RE 8
Requirements elicitation- term
The term suggest that the process is a
simple knowledge transfer process
where req engineers elicit and document
existing customer knowledge
In reality, the process is much more
It is not a process of ‘fishing’ for
The author prefer the term requirements
discovery to reflect the uncertainties
10/02/13 RE 9
Avoids the term elicitation and equates this
discovery process to a process of problem analysis
Problem analysis is defined as the activity that
encompasses learning about the problem to be
solved (often through brainstorming and/or
questioning), understanding the needs of
potential users, trying to find out who the user
really is and understanding all the constraints on
But this implies that the activity is only concerned
with understanding the details of a specific problem
which requires some kind of systems solution
10/02/13 RE 10
Dimensions of requirements
elicitation by Kotonya and
10/02/13 RE 11
Application domain understanding
• Application domain knowledge is knowledge of the general
area where the system is applied.
• The details of the specific customer problem where the
system will be applied must be understood.
• You must understand how systems interact and contribute
to overall business goals.
Understanding the needs and constraints of system stakeholders
• You must understand, in detail, the specific needs of people
who require system support in their work.
10/02/13 RE 12
Interviewing and questionnaires
Brain Storming and idea reduction
10/02/13 RE 13
Simple direct technique
Context-free questions can help achieve bias-free
Then, it may be appropriate to search for undiscovered
requirements by exploring solutions.
Convergence on some common needs will initiate a
“requirements repository” for use during the project.
A questionnaire is no substitute for an interview.
10/02/13 RE 14
The requirements workshop is perhaps the
most powerful technique for eliciting
It gathers all keykey stakeholders together for a
short but intensely focused period.
The use of an outside facilitator experienced in
requirements management can ensure the
success of the workshop.
Brainstorming is the most important part of the
10/02/13 RE 15
Brainstorming involves both idea generation
and idea reduction.
The most creative, innovative ideas often
result from combining, seemingly unrelated
Various voting techniques may be used to
prioritize the ideas created.
Although live brainstorming is preferred, web-
based brainstorming may be a viable
alternative in some situations
10/02/13 RE 16
Rules for Brainstorming
Do not allow criticism or debate.
Let your imagination soar
Generate as many ideas as possible
Mutate and combine ideas
• Pruning ideas that are not worthy of further discussion
• Grouping of similar ideas into one super topic
Prioritize the remaining ideas
10/02/13 RE 17
The purpose of storyboarding is to gain an early
reaction from the users on the concepts proposed for
• Storyboards offer an effective technique for addressing the
"Yes, But" syndrome.
• Is extremely inexpensive
• Is user friendly, informal, and interactive
• Provides an early review of the user interfaces of the system
• Is easy to create and easy to modify
10/02/13 RE 18
Storyboards identify the players, explain what
happens to them, and describes how it
Make the storyboard sketchy, easy to modify,
Storyboard early and often on every project
with new or innovative content.
10/02/13 RE 20
Technique: Use Cases
Use Cases, like storyboards, identify the who,
what, and how of system behavior.
Use Cases describe the interactions between a
user and a system, focusing on what they system
“does” for the user.
The Use Case model describes the totality of the
systems functional behavior.
Early stages: After you have an overview of the
use cases, perhaps only by a phrase apiece,
expand 10% of them in detail.
10/02/13 RE 21
Technique: Role Playing –
variant on use cases
Role playing allows stakeholders to
experience the user’s world from the
A scripted walkthrough may replace role
playing in some situations, with the script
becoming a live storyboard.
cards, often used in object-oriented
analysis, are a derivative of role playing.)
10/02/13 RE 22
Prototyping is especially effective in
addressing the “Yes, But” and the
“Undiscovered Ruins” syndromes.
A software requirements prototype is a partial
implementation of a software system, built to
help developers, users, and customers better
understand system requirements.
Prototype the “fuzzy” requirements: those that,
although known or implied, are poorly defined
and poorly understood.
10/02/13 RE 23
Is very important because if the customer’s
real requirements are not discovered, they
are unlikely to be satisfied with the final
Requirements engineers faced some
problems in req elicitation inherent to the
multi-dimensional nature of req elicitation
10/02/13 RE 24
Problems of requirements
elicitation can be grouped into
three categories (Christel & Kang,
problems of scope, in which the requirements
may address too little or too much
problems of understanding, within groups as
well as between groups such as users and
problems of volatility, i.e., the changing
nature of requirement
10/02/13 RE 25
PROBLEMS OF SCOPE
• the boundary of the system is ill-defined
• unnecessary design information may be given
10/02/13 RE 26
PROBLEMS OF UNDERSTANDING
• users have incomplete understanding of their
• users have poor understanding of computer
capabilities and limitations
• analysts have poor knowledge of problem
• user and analyst speak different languages
• conflicting views of different users
• requirements are often vague and untestable,
e.g., “user friendly” and “robust”
10/02/13 RE 27
PROBLEMS OF VOLATILITY
• requirements evolve over time
10/02/13 RE 28
MAIN ACTIVITIES IN RE
Typical activities of the requirements elicitation process can be
divided into five fundamental types as described below:
(1) Understanding the Application Domain –
• It is important when beginning the process of requirements
elicitation to investigate and examine in detail the situation or “real
world” in which the system will ultimately reside (sometimes called
the application domain)
• The current environment needs to be thoroughly explored
including the political, organizational, and social aspects related to
the system, in addition to any constraints they may enforce upon
the system and its development.
• Existing work processes and the related problems to be solved by
the system need to be described with respect to the key business
goals and issues.
10/02/13 RE 29
(2) Identifying the Sources of Requirements –
• Requirements may be spread across many sources and
exist in a variety of formats.
• Stakeholders represent the most obvious source of
requirements for the system.
• Users and subject matter experts are used to supply
detailed information about the problems and user needs.
• Existing systems and processes represent another source
for eliciting requirements, particularly when the project
involves replacing a current or legacy system.
• Existing documentation about the current systems and
business processes including manuals, forms, and reports
can provide useful information about the organization and
environment, as well as requirements for the new system
and their supporting rationale and importance.
10/02/13 RE 30
Analyzing the Stakeholders –
• Stakeholders are people who have an interest in the system or
are affected in some way by the development and
implementation of the system and hence must be consulted
during requirements elicitation.
• Typically stakeholders include groups and individuals internal
and external to the organization.
• The customer, and more specifically the project sponsor, is
usually the most apparent stakeholder of the system.
• In some cases however the actual users of the system may be
the most important. For Example….?
• Other parties whose sphere of interest may extend to some
part of the system operations, such as those responsible for
work process standards, customers, and partners, should also
be regarded as stakeholders if affected.
• One of the first steps in requirements elicitation therefore is to
analyze and involve all the relevant stakeholders.
• The process of analyzing the stakeholders also often includes
the identification of key user representatives and product
10/02/13 RE 31
Selecting the Techniques, Approaches, and
Tools to Use –
• Although some may advocate that just one elicitation
technique or a single methodology is sufficient and
may be applied to all cases, it is generally accepted
that an individual requirements elicitation technique
or approach cannot possibly be suitable for all
• The choice of techniques to be employed is
dependent on the specific context of the project and
is often a critical factor in the success of the
elicitation process .
10/02/13 RE 32
• Hickey and Davis have investigated the elicitation
technique selection and stated that a particular
elicitation technique may be selected for a variety
• (a) the technique selected is the only one the analyst knows,
• (b) the technique selected is the analyst’s favorite,
• (c) the selected technique is the one prescribed by a specific
methodology that is being followed for the system
• (d) the choice of technique is governed solely by the intuition
of the analyst to be effective in the current context.
• Clearly requirements elicitation is best performed
using a variety of techniques. In the majority of
projects several methods are employed during and
at different stages in the software development life
cycle, often in cooperation where complementary.
10/02/13 RE 33
Eliciting the Requirements from Stakeholders and Other
Once the sources of requirements and the specific
stakeholders have been identified, the actual elicitation of the
core requirements then begins using the selected elicitation
techniques, approaches, and tools.
During this activity it is important to establish the level of
scope for the system and investigate in detail the needs and
wants of the stakeholders, especially the users.
It is also essential to determine the future processes the
system will perform with respect to the business operations,
and examine the ways in which the system may support
them in order to satisfy the major objectives and address the
key problems of the business.
10/02/13 RE 34
It is important to remember that requirements elicitation
does not occur in a vacuum.
It is strongly related to the context in which it is
conducted and specific characteristics of the project,
organization, and environment .
In practice the budget and schedule of the project have
a significant effect on the process and the way in which
it is performed.
The structure and maturity of the organization will
determine how requirements are elicited, as will the
way in which the system will interact with users and
The level of volatility within a project must also be
considered, as this will directly affect the quality of
requirements and the elicitation process itself
10/02/13 RE 35
Identifying Use Cases
Refining Use Cases
Identifying Relationships between Actors
and Use Cases
Identifying Initial Analysis Objects
Identifying Nonfunctional Requirements
10/02/13 RE 36
Actors – person or machine using the system in a particular role
Actors usually correspond to existing roles within the client
Related roles can be grouped together according to viewpoints
• Which user groups are supported by the system to perform their work?
• Which user groups execute the system’s main functions?
• Which user groups perform secondary functions, such as maintenance and
• With what external hardware or software system will the system interact?
10/02/13 RE 37
• “A narrative description of what people do and experience as they
try to make use of computer systems and applications” [Carrol,
Scenario-based Design, 1995]
• Informal description of a single feature from the viewpoint of a
Types of Scenarios
• As-is scenarios – describes current situation
• Visionary scenarios – describes future system
• Evaluation scenarios – describes user tasks for evaluating the
system (acceptance criteria)
• Training scenarios – introduces new users to the system
10/02/13 RE 38
Heuristics for Identifying Scenarios
Ask yourself or the client the following questions:
• What are the primary tasks that the system needs to perform?
• What data will the actor create, store, change, remove or add in
the system? Who else can modify this data?
• What external changes does the system need to know about?
• What changes or events will the actor of the system need to be
However, don’t rely on questionnaires alone.
Insist on task observation (ethnography) if the system
• Ask to speak to the end user, not just to the software contractor
• Expect resistance and try to overcome it
10/02/13 RE 39
Identifying Use Cases
• Specifies all possible scenarios for a given functionality
• Initiated by an actor
Motivations for use cases
• Generalizing related scenarios help developers define the
scope of the system
• The role of each user of the system is clarified
Use Case Descriptions
• Entry and exit conditions
• Flow of events
• Quality requirements
10/02/13 RE 40
Heuristics: How do I find use
Select a narrow vertical slice of the system (i.e. one
• Discuss it in detail with the user to understand the user’s
preferred style of interaction
Select a horizontal slice (i.e. many scenarios) to define
the scope of the system.
• Discuss the scope with the user
Use illustrative prototypes (mock-ups) as visual
Find out what the user does
• Task observation (Good)
• Questionnaires (Bad)
10/02/13 RE 41
Order of steps when formulating
First step: name the use case
• Use case name: ReportEmergency
Second step: Find the actors
• Generalize the concrete names (“Bob”) to participating actors
• Participating Actors:
• Field Officer (Bob and Alice in the Scenario)
• Dispatcher (John in the Scenario)
Third step: Then concentrate on the flow of events
• Use informal natural language
10/02/13 RE 42
Identifying Use Cases
• Choose proper name – use verb phrases; indicate user’s
• Name actors with noun phrases
• Clearly distinguish actors’ actions from system’s actions
• Use active voice to phrase steps in flow of events
• The causal relationship between steps should be clear
• Describe complete user transaction
• Describe exceptions separately
• Do not describe the user interface
• Use cases should not exceed 2-3 pages – break up using
<<include>> and <<extends>> relationships
10/02/13 RE 43
Relationships Between Actors
and Use Cases
Relationships between actors and use cases
• Determines access rights
• Who can initiate a functionality
• Who else is involved in this functionality
Relationships between use cases
• Heuristics for making use cases shorter and simpler to understand
• For factoring out common functionality
• Explicitly invoked from the including use case
• For specifying exceptions
• Entry conditions of the extending use case determine when it is used
• Caveat: use discretion when applying these decompositions (a few
longer use cases are sometimes easier to understand than many
10/02/13 RE 44
<<Include>>: Functional Decomposition
• A function in the original problem statement is too complex to be
• Describe the function as the aggregation of a set of simpler
functions. The associated use case is decomposed into smaller
CreateIncident HandleIncident CloseIncident
10/02/13 RE 45
<<Include>>: Reuse of Existing Functionality
• There are already existing functions. How can we reuse them?
• The include association from a use case A to a use case B
indicates that an instance of the use case A performs all the
behavior described in the use case B (“A delegates to B”)
• The use case “ViewMap” describes behavior that can be used
by the use case “OpenIncident” (“ViewMap” is factored out)
Note: The base case cannot exist alone. It is always called with the
supplier use case
10/02/13 RE 46
<Extend>> Association for Use Cases
• The functionality in the original problem statement needs to be
• An extend association from a use case A to a use case B indicates
that use case B is an extension of use case A.
• The use case “ReportEmergency” is complete by itself , but can be
extended by the use case “ConnectionDown” for a specific scenario
in which the user cannot communicate with the dispatcher
Note: The base use case can be executed without the use case extension
in extend associations.
10/02/13 RE 48
Identifying Initial Analysis
Objects Top Level Use Case
A and B
Level 3 Use Cases
Level 3 Level 3 Level 3
Level 4 Level 4
Level 2 Use Cases
Level 2 Level 2
10/02/13 RE 49
Use Cases can be used by more than
Top Level Use Case
Level 2 Use Cases
Level 3 Use Cases
Level 3 Level 3
Level 4 Level 4
10/02/13 RE 50
Identifying Initial Analysis
Identify the participating objects to create the initial analysis object
Maintaining glossary of objects minimizes potential confusion in
terminology between users and developers
• Terms the needed clarification (by developer or user)
• Recurring nouns in use cases
• Real-world entities and resources that system must track
• Use cases
• Data sources or sinks
• Artifacts with which user interacts
• Use application domain terms
• Eliminate ambiguity: verify that objects with the same name refer to the
• Maintain consistency: verify that objects do not refer to the same concept
using different names
• Eliminate objects not involved in any use cases
10/02/13 RE 52
• Use a taxonomy (e.g., FURPS+) to generate
• Give different checklists to users in
• Checklists vary depending on application
10/02/13 RE 53
Constraints (Pseudo Requirements)
• Any client restriction on the solution domain
• The target platform must be an IBM/360
• The implementation language must be COBOL
• The documentation standard X must be used
• A dataglove must be used
• ActiveX must be used
• The system must interface to a papertape reader
10/02/13 RE 54
The requirements elicitation process involves a set
of activities that must allow for communication,
prioritization, negotiation, and collaboration with all
the relevant stakeholders.
Requirements elicitation involves activities that are
These activities increase in significance when one
considers the “culture gap” or basic semantic
differences dividing the problem owning and the
problem solving communities when attempting to
engage in meaningful dialogue.