The Volere requirements techniques were developed to answer the need for a common language for discovering requirements and connecting them to solutions. The language needs to be understandable by business people, customers, business analysts, engineers, designers, suppliers, testers or anyone else whose input is needed. All of these people have different skills and, not surprisingly, different views of what is important. A language intended for all of these people must recognise the differences in peoples’ viewpoints and yet have a consistent way of communicating and tracing the relevant knowledge. This realisation that requirements is a socio-technical discipline has a strong influence on the development of the techniques.
Since the introduction of the first version in 1995, the Volere requirements techniques have been used on projects in a wide variety of domains such as banking, air traffic control, retail, aviation, government, real-time control, business analysis, manufacturing, just to name a few. The seemingly contradictory characteristics of rigour and flexibility have made the techniques popular as an aid to discovering, understanding, writing and communicating requirements. There are also management advantages like consistent input to estimating, risk management, monitoring, benefit analysis and the basis for reuse.
The techniques were evolved by, and continue to be applied and developed by James Robertson and Suzanne Robertson. James and Suzanne are principals of the Atlantic Systems Guild, together with Tom DeMarco, Peter Hruschka, Tim Lister and Steve McMenamin. The Guild, founded in 1983, is a practical research organisation devoted to making the best ideas in systems engineering accessible and practical for people developing software, hardware and business processes. All Guild principals are authors of landmark books in the field of systems engineering.
Avoiding reinvention, Volere makes use of established principles, models and practices and builds traceable connections between them. These connections provide a common thread between business or domain requirements, systems analysis models/deliverables, design models/components/deliverables, code and testing. The resulting framework is one that can be used regardless of modelling notation, methodology, degree of agility, development lifecycle or tool usage.
There are three groups of interconnected components.
The detailed contents of each one of these component groups are as follows:
Requirements Knowledge Structure
More information about the above components is available:
This first article in the series is a summary of the Volere requirements techniques. Subsequent articles will discuss the detailed techniques along with guidance and examples for applying them.
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