What issues does the course address?
- Wasted time and money due to unclear Requirements. 400 of every 1000 defects in safety critical systems are inserted during the Requirement development stage, jeopardizing lives.1,2 In non-safety critical systems development projects, the defect ratio is also very high, costing companies time and money.
- Poor Cross Discipline Communication: Product Development teams are made up of experts in different fields with different training, experience and professional languages. Ever hear of legalese? And it’s not restricted to lawyers – think of business people communicating with Business Analysts who must communicate with Design Engineers, Software Engineers and Test Engineers who must communicate with Managers and Financial teams. A regular “Tower of Babel”; is it any wonder the misunderstanding that results?
Words and phrases in one discipline mean something else in another discipline. For example, ‘cookies’ has a completely different meaning to a software programmer versus to a cook or nontechnical person.
Humans have real difficulty even noticing ambiguity and other unclear language. As a result, understanding each other becomes even more challenging when communication leaves the face-to-face form.
Think of it: even in face-to-face communication how often do you realize you misunderstood someone?
- Requirements demand significant precision, to accurately describe the specific, often highly technical nature of a new, desired outcome. Requirements are instructions for building a completely new, previously unknown solution or product. Working in the unknown amplifies any ambiguity or cross discipline miscommunication mentioned above.
- The course is equally applicable in Agile and plan-driven (Waterfall) processes as cognitive and linguistics principles need to be understood for both clear written and clear verbal communication.
What will I learn in the course?
The course provides practical, science-based, information needed to enhance communication and comprehension.
- Material and leadership applications in Plan-driven and Agile methods and other “best practice” topics expected in excellent development and management courses.
- Ground-breaking Vital Text Systems linguistic techniques that enhance cross-discipline communication among business and technical Principal Stakeholders, for example, business, technical and testing lead professionals.As a result, Principal Stakeholders are more readily equipped to arrive at a common understanding of stakeholder Requirements and User Stories. This results in multi-functional stakeholder teams more able to deliver predictable software products with fewer defects and so less rework.
- Practical exercises are performed to reinforce major topic learning from the material covered.
- We bring expertise in cross cultural communication and instructors steeped in IT and Product Development culture who deliver the course in IT solutions or Product Development language.
- Jones, C , 2011. The Economics of Software Quality.
- Robyn Lutz’s 1992, Analyzing Software Requirements Errors in Safety-Critical, Embedded Systems (1993)
Course Outline: Clear Requirements Communication
Day 1 Communications Concepts and Requirements (5hrs)
- Texts, Course process, Participant goals
- Handout reviews
- Stakeholder Identification
- Principle Stakeholder Teams
- Producer Consumer Communications
- Ontologies, Categories and Concept Dictionaries
- Communication across Principle Stakeholders
Applications in Plan-driven methods
- Requirements communication practices
- Applications in Agile Scrum Methods User Story and subsequent communication practices