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RMF/Teaching

Requirements Management and Engineering (RE&M) is taught, both in industry and academia. The availability of open source RE-tools, and the RMF-based (fmStudio)[1] in particular, created some interest for using those tools for teaching.

Teaching-overview.png

Vision (tentative)

Create (1) a set of teaching materials that is actively used; (2) which is embedded in a larger SE context; and (3) which explicitly focuses on applying RE.

Objectives

  • Collaboration of Industry, Service Providers and Academia: These three groups can benefit vastly from each other: Industry relies on academia for skilled labor, while service provider deliver expertise to industry in the form of knowledge (consultants) and tools (vendors).
  • Standardization of basic RE (or SE) skills: Preparation of students with a basic set of skills that is relevant in industry, so employers know what to expect.
  • Teaching Materials: Ideally, one outcome of this effort is a set of adaptable teaching materials.

Initially, we will focus on teaching materials, specifically a case study (see next section).

Case Study

As the next step, we will focus on building up a case study/example. In the telco on July 25th, 2014, we decided that the case study shall involve software and hardware, and we narrowed it down to the following three:

  1. Coffee Maker: A long-time favorite, and there are at least three available (see "Case Study Examples" below)
  2. FAA Isolette: This is a complete example from a safety-critical domain.
  3. Rover: This one is driven by Gaël Blondelle from the Eclipse Foundation. On the plus side, it's great for the classroom, as the hardware is cheap. But in contrast to the others, there is nothing there yet.


The table below serves to compare possible case studies against objectives of an RE (Requirements engineering) education/course/training. Note that at this moment the list of objectives is only a proposal, adding or editing the list is welcome.

For better understanding of this proposal, a tiny bit of the RE theory adhered to:

RE consists of the activities of [2]:

  • RD – Requirements development: elicitation, analysis, modelling, specification (documenting), verification
  • RM – Requirements management: tracing, communication, reviewing, feedback processing, attributes management, change management, reporting, reuse.

The objectives of a comprehensive RE training is to illuminate all these activities more or less, but there are also other objectives, in the table bellow divided into "Requirements process" and "Requirements technology"; at the bottom, some practicality objectives too (as size of the case study).

Objective / Case Case 1 Case 2 Case 3
Requirements process: ------- ------- -------
Place of the RE process in the SE process (CMMI, …)
Requirements in Product Creation Process: up front (waterfall), ongoing (agile), ...
Requirements states and rigour: Draft -> Proposal -> … -> Approval
Versions vs variants, variability
Req communication and collaboration media (documents, general purpose comm. media, specialised tooling)
RE process interoperability with the V&V (Verification&Validation, aka testing) process
Elicitation
Analysis
Modelling
Specification (documenting)
Verification
Tracing
Communication
Reviewing
Feedback processing
Attributes management
Change management
Reuse management
Document generation with selective req-info content (views)
KPI reporting
Requirements technology: ------- ------- -------
Requirements SMARTness
Core req-info vs req attributes (w.r.t. formulation, requirements process, reuse policies)
Formulation of requirements: in natural language, in formal language, in models
Formality (acceptance criteria) vs informality (providing context) in specifying requirements
Requirements frameworks (BABOK, Volere, IEEE…)
V-horizontal traceability: traces among req-info-items at one level of stakeholders’ abstraction: requirements – requirements groups – dependences – reuse traces – change requests – test cases – test reports
V-vertical traceability: traces among req-info-items across various levels of stakeholders’ abstraction: business level – product level – component level
Baselining
Domain/application familiarity
Size: # req-info-items, # acceptance criteria, # test cases
# Functional requirements
# Extrafunctional (restrictions, technology, markets, maintenance …), quality, regulation, … requirements


Case Study Examples

Open Questions

What is the Scope?

Systems Engineering or Requirements Engineering? A number of participants pointed out that RE as a stand-alone discipline is losing importance in favor of Systems Engineering, of which RE is a sub-discipline. Therefore, at a minimum we should look into RE in the context of overall SE.

Next, the scope is clearly operational, not theoretical. The theory (methodology, process), should be given and can maybe be covered elsewhere.

What is the means?

What can we produce that provides value for this group? Suggestions include:

  • Templates (process-specific, for specific tools)
  • Case Studies (with artifacts for specific tols)
  • Tutorials (process-specific step-by-step instructions, for specific tools)
  • Slides (for teaching)
  • Reference Materials (e.g. tool-specific adaptation of a process)
  • Project (high level description of a goal with instructions on how to realize it)

What process/methodology would be suitable?

Before answering this question, we need to understand the scope. We should look for a slim-lightweight process for MBSE and focus on the RE-part of it.

Suggestion regarding the process: To use the ISO/IEC 29110 Systems and Software Life Cycle Profiles and Guidelines for Very Small Entities (VSEs). The standard is accompanied by a set of Deployment Packages (DP) that, taken together, structure a complete software or system lifecycle process package. The DPs provide an "out-of-the-box" process for those VSEs that cannot afford the time, the effort or the resources to attack the "Big League" standards like ISO/IEC/IEEE 12207 or 15288 and the CMMi. Once all DPs have been covered, a basis for a complete VSE software or systems engineering certification program is assembled. To start, the Systems Engineering Requirement Engineering (RE) DP can be made available in Draft version and should be released sometimes in 2014 (as of July 2014). The DP provides a set of basic attributes to capture and manage requirements and to establish traceability links.

Suggestion regarding the Sample Project: Every training course needs a sample project to work out. For this Systems Engineering training curriculum, it is suggested to use the INCOSE Tool Vendor Disaster Relief Challenge.

What pre-requisites do we expect from anyone taking this training?

Before setting out to design and develop a training, we need to know what type of background students will bring in to the training session. The following are proposed:

  • the students are new to the world of Requirements Engineering, the equivalent of CMMi Level 0 or 1. They are trying to get themselves up to the equivalent of CMMi Level 2 capability, which would equate to fulfilling the CMMi Requirements Management (REQM) Process Area;
  • the students have read the ISO 29110 Systems and Software Life Cycle Profiles and Guidelines for Very Small Entities (VSEs);
  • the students have read some introductory material on Requirements Engineering such as Requirements Engineering Fundamentals
  • the students are familiar with the Eclipse environment and they have installed:

1) the Eclipse development toolset; 2) the Eclipse Requirements Management framework (RMF); 3) the FormalMind Studio application (which would include both the RMF and ProR).

  • the students have little or no formal training or experience in Requirements Engineering.

Questions/Issues:

  • Do students need to understand basics concepts of Change Management, sufficient to go through the creation, analysis, review and implementation of a Requirement Change Request?

How long should the training last?

  • at one extreme, some trainees look for a Quick Start package that will get them going within a few days. This end of the spectrum should satisfy the greatest number of potential trainees, who will probably be small business starting on a contract that requires doing basic Requirements Engineering;
  • at the other, some are looking for a comprehensive thorough training package that will prepare them for certification as an RE.

Interested Parties

Backlog

Contact / Initiator

Michael Jastram

Backup

During the initial discussions, two things became clear:

  • RM&E cannot be taught without taking the wider systems engineering (SE) context into account. In other words, RM&E must be considered a subdiscipline of SE, and must be treated that way.
  • A tool must follow the process/methodology, not the other way around. Therefore, the foundation for this effort must be a solid, leightweight SE develpment process that is appropriate for teaching and relevant in practice.

Ideas

  • Examples, Exercises, etc. (Herrmann) (example customer requirements specification, exercises and sample solutions)
  • Create a mind map, to understand the problem we're trying to solve (Daniel Gross)
  • use REQB-Syllabus as a starting point
  • alternately, use the International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB) Foundation Level RE Training Syllabus


Join the Discussion

This discussion was initiated via email - a bad place to keep a conversation going. For the time being, we will start a new discussion thread on LinkedIn.

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