Archive for the ‘requirements’ Category

RESS’11 wants YOU

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Requirements engineering for ‘systems of systems’ is an emerging area of research which is critical to many complex challenges we face today. Key industries include transportation, hospital networks, smart buildings and smart grids, defense systems, as well as systems from many other domains.

Are YOU doing interesting work with requirements for such systems? The RESS (Requirements Engineering for Systems of Systems) workshop at RE’11 is looking for contributions addressing issues, challenges, and solutions related to requirements engineering for such systems. Please consider submitting a paper describing your work and ideas!

All papers (4-page position papers, 6-page experience reports, or 8-10 page full papers) must be submitted by May 16. The full CFP (call for papers) is online at The workshop will be held on Aug. 30, 2011 in beautiful Trento, Italy as part of the RE’11 Conference – see for more information.

back to the future

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Over the past few months, my work scope has grown to encompass a new area: data mining and advanced analytics. As part of my newest project, I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to do some classical and new-fangled data analysis, and some real coding. I’ve written – and tested, and refactored – about 1000 lines of C# code in the last few weeks. That’s nowhere near the amount I used to produce early in my career, but you know what? It’s still fun. 🙂 Anyway, I thought I’d share 3 key observations that have begun to jell as a result of my new work.

  1. What’s changed the most are the development tools. Compared to the simple text editors I started with, modern IDEs offer way more built-in guidance and ‘accelerators’ (although they do sometimes get in the way). And I’m learning to leverage the vast amount of online help and forums available nowadays. Learning to navigate the complexities of newer IDEs and debuggers, and become hyper-efficient in using them, will still take a little time, I’m sure.
  2. Oddly, the languages themselves haven’t changed all that much. I began with assembler and FORTRAN and quickly moved into RatFor, a C-like Rational FORTRAN preprocessor. I also did some work in Pascal and Ada, and lots of batch scripting, before moving to C and C++, then into Java. Picking up C# over the last few weeks has been straightforward.
  3. My background in both agile methods and more formal approaches to architecture and requirements is clearly influencing how I do my work now. Thinking about what might be ‘the simplest thing that will possibly work’ and how to test steers my ‘XP For One’ task planning. I mull up front whether I need to design for performance to handle the huge datasets I’m working with now, and plan spikes to help me test early. For this project, throughput on my laptop is more than adequate so far: my programs runs through 4 years’ worth of data in just a few minutes. Robustness and error detection in how I clean and process my data are critical, though.

Bottom line: it’s gratifying to know that after so many years focusing more on management and process, I do still have the design, programming, and math skills to tackle and solve technical problems hands-on. It’s still cool to wake up in the morning with a piece of a solution to a coding challenge I fell asleep thinking about, or to find my mind puzzling out an answer while I’m in the shower. And I like that this experience is building my mental framework for my future technical leadership, whether in management or coaching or research, to truly understand what product development teams using these latest tools are coping with. It’s all good!

upcoming events in Requirements

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

REFSQ’11 (Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality) in Essen, Germany, March 28-30, 2011: Calls for empirical proposals are being accepted now through January 7 (I’m on the Empirical Research Fair program committee). The Empirical Research Fair is new in 2011, and is intended to offer “lively discussion between academics and industrials to identify the right context for empirical studies” as well as identifying “empirical studies that can be conducted during the REFSQ 2011 itself”. Are you a researcher seeking to address the needs of people doing real requirements engineering in practice? Or an industry practitioner who would like to find an academic or two interested in RE research that’s genuinely relevant to your business? See the call for proposals, and please consider submitting one!

INCOSE (International Council on systems Engineering) IS2011 in Denver, CO, June 20-23, 3011: I’ve been  invited to participate in a proposed Requirements Engineering panel at the 21st INCOSE International Symposium. My point of view will focus on bringing an agile perspective to the topic of requirements engineering in systems engineering. This promises to be great fun if our proposal is accepted (we’ll find out around Feb. 22). We hope to generate some light, with minimal heat, in the discussion. Oh, and if you’ve been working on advancing the state of the art in engineering critical systems, check out the call for papers: they’re looking for a diverse range of submissions (due Nov. 3).

upcoming events

Friday, February 5th, 2010

2010 has been super busy so far, and is off to a great start. In addition to a new IEEE Computer Society meeting panel invitation, and our previously accepted SEPG 2010 presentation on requirements engineering metrics, the Agile Teams collaborators now have a half-day tutorial accepted at SATURN. If you’re also attending SEPG or SATURN this year, please look for us and say hi!

recent publications

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Our HAoSE 2009 paper and poster on “Measuring Collaboration in Globally Distributed Software Development Teams” was very well received. We also have had two new papers recently accepted for presentation:

Our Agile Teams publications and conferences pages are now updated to include these papers, as well as our 2009Q2 ABB Review journal article, “Metamorphosis“. (PDF copies of our published papers which are not linked to this site are available on request.)

RE09 keynote on agile and requirements

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Dave West gave the opening keynote speech today at RE09, titled “Delivering Business Value with Agile Approaches to Requirements”. The keynote description had definitely caught my attention, and I confirmed in a quick chat right before his talk that Dave was fresh from the Agile 2009 conference (he was sporting his Agile Alliance/Rally logo’d lanyard).

I took extensive notes on my laptop, but wasn’t able to ‘live blog’ – we’ve got free wireless, thanks to the conference organizers, but power connections are scarce. My battery’s not as good as it once was, and having the wireless on during the day today would have killed it. So I apologize for the delay in getting this post online, but hope you find it worth the wait!

In a nutshell, Dave delivered – he was entertaining and provided some hot-off-the-press stats on agile adoption. The only ‘promised’ topic which I didn’t feel was well addressed was how ‘formality and discipline play just as important role with Agile methods as with traditional approaches’, and it was a bit under the bar re ‘provide concrete recommendations on organizations can resolve the conflict and build a better requirements discipline’.  Everything else he covered was up to, or exceeded, my expectations. There were also some thoughtful questions from the RE09 audience in the limited time for Q&A.

Below are my detailed notes. Be advised that most of the percentages cited below are either subject to transcription errors, or were my approximations from reading column heights on a chart. Also, the bulleting is still a little rough/confusing, and I know I’ve used some personal abbreviations in here – with your permission and understanding, I’ll clean those up later.