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Monday, 20 September 2010 15:29

Requirements engineering course aims to reduce software project failures


Software testing organisation Planit is aiming to eliminate a contributor to software project failure in large organisations in Australia and New Zealand with a new training course designed to bolster skills in requirements engineering.

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Planit managing director Chris Carter said that requirements engineering was consistently rated as a key reason for project failure in the results of the annual Planit Software Testing Index.

'Requirements testing is the first step in systems development and it's got significant impact on its success,' Carter said. 'In the three years that we've been running the index, every year the major reason for project failure or significant scope changes is because of poor requirements.

'The testing community is telling us that it is not particularly good at documenting requirements, but doesn't seem to be doing much about it.'

The Planit Requirements Engineering course has based been developed in conjunction with the International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB) in Europe, which has defined a syllabus for three levels of requirement engineering.

'Not only are we trying to bring people up to speed with the discipline of requirements engineering here in Australia and New Zealand, but also to deliver some consistency as to how requirements are elicited, documented and managed against what is happening out in the rest of the world,' Carter said.

It is a three day course designed to cover the key activities of requirements engineering. Students who complete the course are also invited to sit an exam to receive the qualification of Certified Professional Requirements Engineer, recognised by IREB.

'Over a three day period they will get intensive training to enable them to understand requirements engineering, which will enable them to go back to their workplace and be more efficient at the requirements engineering discipline,' Carter said.

The course parallels that which Planit already offers in software testing with the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) certification, which is offered in a Foundation and Advanced level, and is well recognised within the software testing industry. More than 150,000 people have achieved this certification globally, and there are over 200 candidates per month taking ISTQB examinations at Foundation and Advanced level in Australia and New Zealand.

'Australia and New Zealand are among the top ranking countries in the world for certified testers, so it would make sense to do the same thing for requirements engineering,' Carter said.

The course is primarily aimed at business analysts, a roll that has become recognised as being of critical importance in the early phases of project development and vital in ensuring a positive outcome. Business analysts are in short supply however, a fact noted by the recruitment firm Hudson in its report Economic Recovery and the New Skills Crisis released easier this year.

'So my hope and expectation of the marketplace is that they will understand that it is not just the domain of the business analyst, it is something that the business users, testers and developers should be involved in,' Carter said.

The course will be open to anyone, but Planit also offers an in-house version for larger clients.


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