I attended  the BusinessAnalystWorld Symposium in Atlanta last week. One of the speakers whom I enjoyed was Keith Barrett from ProcessExchange Inc. http://www.process-exchange.com/

Keith spoke about Reuse Based Requirements Development & Management (RBRDM). I was very glad to hear someone at the symposium talking about requirements reuse because it is an area that I think we should be talking about a lot more. In defining his terms Keith defined Requirements Development as all of the work that is done to elicit, analyze, and document the requirements. He acknowledged that many requirements are still written in text and that textual requirements are difficult for software developers to use and difficult to manage for reuse.

He defined Requirements Management as the ongoing management of requirements from the point that they are created throughout the project and after implementation continuing on for the life of the business or the system that they describe. Only if the requirements are managed on an ongoing basis are they available for reuse on later projects.

A couple of other key points that Keith emphasized: requirements are valuable corporate assets and as such should be treated with care and respect. They should be developed carefully using standard approaches and common formats and they should be stored in a common repository. Also, Keith’s experience with reusability in the development world taught him that reusability is best leveraged when components are grouped into “families” of related components so that they can easily be found and understood when needed.

In discussing the currently available Requirements Management tools in the marketplace Keith and the audience agreed that none of them have all of the feature/characteristics that we would like to help us manage requirements. We look forward to these tools becoming more sophisticated in the coming years.

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