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Landmark Articles

Toward Better Requirements Engineering

This is the feature article in the April 2014 issue of the newly published Requirements Engineering Magazine, published by the International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB). The article is very comprehensive, exhaustive, and full of analysis and cautions, with citations from established authorities in business analysis, requirements engineering, systems engineering, project management, agile, and on. The article points out that effective requirements engineering is a deeply reflective and emerging process that must be carried out with devotion and dedication. There is a need for strengthened methods and tools that ordinary professionals can use to produce above average results reliably. (These comments were provided in feedback concerning the article from Putcha V. Narasimham.)

Senior Management Commitment

“What is Senior Management Commitment?” by Sarah Sheard, formerly with the Systems and Software Consortium, Herndon, Virginia.

            It’s been proven that it’s impossible to achieve a major effort in an organization without senior management commitment.  This article, written by a seasoned professional, explains what is involved in providing senior management commitment.  If you plan to undertake a major improvement effort, and you lack senior management commitment, this article will arm you with the information you need to explain why their support is required and what the nature of the needed support is.  My suggestion: if this approach falls on deaf ears, and you feel a lack of support by your management, abandon the effort.  Be proactive.  Move to a different organization that has or is willing to provide management support of your efforts.

Effects of Process Maturity on Development Effort, by Bradford K. Clark, Center for Software Engineering, University of Southern California, 1999.
  If you are having difficulty in convincing your project manager, organization, or customer concerning the power and value of continuous process improvement, digest this article. The author's study, using a 112-project sample, concluded that a change in one level of process maturity using the CMM framework resulted in a reduction of development effort of 10-32 percent! The author provides references to a half dozen other studies concerning the benefits of process improvement.

Demonstrating the Impact and Benefits of CMMI®: An Update and Preliminary Results,
by Dennis R. Goldman and Diane L. Gibson, Software Engineering Institute Special Report
CMU/SEI-2003-SR-009, October 2003.

This report provides quantitative evidence that CMMI-based process improvement has resulted in better performance in eleven organizations both small and large. The organizations do business in a variety of domains, including information technology, banking and financial services, automotive and aerospace engineering, simulation, and training. They apply CMMI model practices to systems integration, systems engineering, and software development. Benefits are categorized into cost, schedule, quality, customer satisfaction, and ROI/cost-benefit. Several references are provided for additional information.

®Capability Maturity Model and CMMI are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Carnegie Mellon University.

Observations on Balancing Discipline and Agility

There has been tremendous emphasis on using agile methods. This article by Barry Boehm and Richard Turner helps to put both discipline and agility in perspective!