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Software Requirements: 10 Traps to Avoid

Many software development organizations get caught in traps that prevent them from effectively collecting, documenting, or managing their requirements. This presentation describes ten typical requirements problems that can sabotage your project. Several symptoms that indicate you might be getting caught in each trap are described, along with suggestions for avoiding or escaping from the trap. The requirements traps include:
  • Confusion about what a requirement is
  • Inadequate customer involvement
  • Vague and ambiguous requirements
  • Unprioritized requirements
  • Building functionality no one uses
  • Analysis paralysis
  • Scope creep
  • Inadequate requirements change process
  • Insufficient change impact analysis
  • Inadequate requirements version control

About the Speaker

Karl Wiegers

Karl E. Wiegers is Principal Consultant with Process Impact, a software process consulting and education company in Portland, Oregon. His interests include requirements engineering, peer reviews, project management, risk management, and software metrics. Previously, he spent 18 years at Eastman Kodak Company, where he held positions as a photographic research scientist, software developer, software manager, and software process and quality improvement leader. Karl received a B.S. degree in chemistry from Boise State College, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois. He is a member of the IEEE, IEEE Computer Society, and ACM.

Karl’s most recent book is Software Requirements, 2nd Edition (Microsoft Press, 2003). He also wrote Peer Reviews in Software: A Practical Guide (Addison-Wesley, 2002) and Creating a Software Engineering Culture (Dorset House, 1996), which won a Productivity Award from Software Development magazine, as well as 160 articles on software development, chemistry, and military history. Karl has served on the Editorial Board for IEEE Software magazine and as a contributing editor for Software Development magazine. He is a frequent speaker at software conferences and professional society meetings.