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8 June 2008

Requirements Re-use - Myth or reality?

Years ago, back when RM tools were in their infancy, (are they mature yet?) I advocated to my employer that a database of requirements would be a great idea.

It would save time in eliciting requirements, socialising them across management and stakeholder team and constructing requirements documents

The database, if implemented, would create a more consistent approach to requirements which would in turn make solution design faster and cheaper and provide a platform for better solution architecture and better requirements (through review and continual improvement activities.)

I understand they have now implemented such a database, but it doesn’t look what I had in mind, and it doesn’t come with the management processes (above) that I had wrapped around the database.

That experience and my other experiences in large enterprises lead me to conclude that capacity for requirements re-use is a rare talent, and that, for most businesses there are a lot of other investment priorities ahead in the queue.

The development of the BA and Enterprise Architecture professions are steps towards capability for re-use of requirements, but really, it’s not effectively happening anywhere I have worked.

It’s coming, but… it’s a rare enterprise that has it organised at this stage.


Have a look at this model I put together and think about the issues involved in requirements re-use. Are your requirements re-useable for other projects for the same system? Will they be useable on other system developments within your existing programme? Will they be re-useable on totally new projects?

Overlay the ideas against the People, Process and Technology lenses and have a think about the issues you could face.

What’s re-useable on your project?