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Exploring Requirements: Quality Before Design [Hardcover]

Donald C. Gause , Gerald M. Weinberg
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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"Anyone who wants to build a product should understand this book." -- Watts S. Humphrey, Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University

"a superb new book on systems analysis. . . . you simply must read and absorb this gem. -- Ed Yourdon, American Programmer

"makes a very important, serious subject fun and easy to read." -- Bill Loveless, PC News and Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
In a world where there is strong emphasis on project management skills and design skills, this is a welcome book that emphasizes that requirements must come first. The process of defining requirements is vital to success and, with good requirements, quality is assured. I recommend this book to anyone who works on solving problems or in building systems of any kind. Gause and Weinberg are excellent in presenting complex concepts in an entertaining and informative way.
There is a human tendency to want to rush into solutions as soon as an opportunity surfaces. And... the result is usually not what was needed. Then, there is a rush to "add quality" to the result by fixing the flaws. This is costly and often fatal to the project. This book takes the reader down a different road. A road of first defining the objective that is to be attained and being sure that all parties understand and agree to the requirements. If you only have a few books in your business library, this should be one of them. I shared my copy with so many colleagues that I finally had to buy another copy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Should be 6 stars! Jan. 2 2003
Format:Hardcover
Like Weingerg's other books (and I have read them all -- most more than once), "Exploring Requirements" is about human nature, the way we react as individual beings to problems we encounter. Anyone looking for a canned methodology or "step-by-step" process to enable a system definition or design may be disappointed. But anyone who reads this will never react to any type of communication the same way again.
This is definitely not a technical book, nor even an IT book. It should be required reading for anyone whose job involves communication -- and that's just about everyone in business today. I have recommended it to all my managers and direct reports over the years since it was first published. I have also recommended it to trainers in public speaking and executive presentation skills. The writers' style is at once entertaining and instructive. Unless you are looking for a "cookbook," you won't be disappointed.
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Format:Hardcover
I have developing requirements and implementing manufacturing systems for 20+ years. The last 2 years I have been using the Ivy Hooks methodology (see her book) with great success. I agree with Ivy that every requirement must have a rationale and a verification method...and this was not discussed in EXPLORING REQUIREMENTS. Only valuable thing I found was list of questions to use at beginning of project. This book is ok in that it points out the human side of requirements..but I am a believer in Ivy's methodology.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Requirements by Design June 14 2002
Format:Hardcover
The authors define development as the process of transforming someone's desires into a product that satisfies those desires. Their book deals with the early stages of the process.
It is easy, they say, if readers focus on five critical words: desire, product, people, attempt and discover.
Then why is it, to borrow statistics used by Microsoft at their Project 2002 product that 74 per cent of projects in the United States are either behind schedule or fail at a cost to industry of $74 Billion a year?
If you watch how people successfully develop systems, the authors say, you will observe that the process of developing requirements is a process of developing a team who:
1. Understand the requirements.
2. Stay together to work on the project.
3. Understand and practice teamwork.
The project, the authors say, will probably fail if one of these conditions is not met. Team members must develop and concentrate on three critical, but often ignored human aspects of the process:
1. A clear understanding of the requirements by all members
2. A sense of teamwork
3. The required skills and tools to work effectively as a team.
This conversational book is written to be read in modules or front to back. Either way, the exercises and tools provided should help rank your project with the successful 26 per cent.
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Format:Hardcover
"So, what do you want it to do?"
It looks like such a simple question. But this query - posed every day about Web sites, other software, indeed about buildings and cars and furniture and all sorts of designed objects - is one of the toughest questions that can be asked of an organisation. It triggers the requirements process. A thirteen-year-old book by Donald Gause and Gerald Weinberg, "Exploring Requirements" shows how to manage that process. Most Web developers and managers haven't read it, and should.
Like the man startled to find he had been speaking prose all his life, most of us have taken part in a requirements process, and many of us don't know it. Requirements analysis is actually a life skill that can be applied particularly often in your working life. If you've had an architect design renovations, or a friend build you a PC, or a large consulting firm build you a business reporting system, then you've been on the end of a requirement process, formal or informal. If you've ever designed or built something, and seen a disappointed look on the recipient's face, you've experienced requirements failure. If you've ever had a client rave about how great a Web site is, you've achieved requirements success.
Like that other classic, DeMarco and Lister's "Peopleware", "Exploring Requirements" makes ample use of large numbers of measurements collected over many years - like the numbers showing that programers are quite good at producing what they are actually asked to produce, if only they are asked to produce it. This data allows Gause and Weinberg to enunciate a simple principle: you'll quite likely get what you want, as long as you say what it is.
Saying what you want, though, takes surprising amounts of both discipline and technique.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond mechanics
I read this book some time ago and continue to refer to it. I have even incorporated some ideas into my courseware. Read more
Published on Dec 18 2001 by William L. Turner III
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it! You won't regret it
The other descriptions lauding this book are correct. I won't bother reiterating what's already been said. Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2001 by Liam Friedland
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic now and destined to be a classic in the future
This book is a refreshing approach to eliciting and analyzing requirements and has completely changed my thinking. Read more
Published on May 27 2001 by Linda Zarate
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic that will be around a decade from now
In the decade since I last read this book I've gained a wealth of experience in requirements elicitation and management. Read more
Published on March 26 2001 by Mike Tarrani
4.0 out of 5 stars About peoples and requirements
I own this book because Suzanne Robertson make a lot of references to it and I liked a lot her book. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2000 by Christophe Addinquy
5.0 out of 5 stars The hidden pitfalls of human communication
Great book!! The examples are all simple, but are remarkably similar to every set of bolixed up software requirements -- and to the delivered products that didn't meet... Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2000 by Lawrence R. Babb
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading
By no means have I read everything there is to read on the subject of software requirements, but I've not read anything better than this book. Read more
Published on July 24 2000 by D. Read
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambiguity anti-matter
This book really isn't about digging for requirements, nor is it about use-case diagramming or weight-lifting [1]. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2000 by Dan Green
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