Requirements Analysis

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Title Requirements Analysis
Overview Students will create and explain a timeline of how a requirement progressed across the life of a particular feature within an OSS project.
Prerequisite Knowledge It would be helpful for students to be familiar with the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), and its various models and phases, which often includes Requirements. The difference between plan-based methods like Waterfall, and iterative approaches like Agile will allow students to see the very different methods of requirements gathering.
Learning Objectives Upon completion, students should:
  • understand what requirements gathering means in context with a wider software development life cycle.
  • be able to explain what common methods and tools are used in open source requirements gathering.
  • be able to track requirements and issues and code from forums, to issue trackers, through code bases.


Background reading material:

What is the rational for this activity? As software development migrates from Waterfall to Agile / Iterative development models, it will be important to understand how requirements fits into each. Open source projects often have a less formal requirements gathering process than say a government contract job, but it is still there behind the covers. Students should be aware of how requirements are gathered in a distributed diverse community, versus a single central authority.


  • After reading background docs, have students explain how requirements are held and managed in both traditional waterfall SDLC methods and agile / iterative SDLC methods
  • Now, show students the two requirements / features / issue tracker. Give context so that they know was community and one was an offshoot team
  • Have students document and explain a timeline of how a requirement progressed across the life of a particular feature within an OSS project
    • Give the students a template paper that they must fill out (make a simple PDF)
    • Where did the requirement start its life? What did it look like? Who reported it?
    • Repeat this for each major step of the life (talk forum to github issue to code)
  • Have students compare the two requirement examples given
    • Why do you think requirements were done in a different way?
    • What did one method gain or lose over the other?


What will the student hand in?


How will the activity be graded?

How will learning will be measured?

Include sample assessment questions/rubrics.

Criteria Level 1 (fail) Level 2 (pass) Level 3 (good) Level 4 (exceptional)
Understanding of requirements in context of wider SDLC
Explains common methods and tools in oss req. gathering
Can track requirements from initial sources through to code


What should the instructor know before using this activity?

What are some likely difficulties that an instructor may encounter using this activity?

Additional Information:

ACM Knowledge Area/Knowledge Unit SE - Software Engineering / SE Requirements Engineering from ACM_Body_of_Knowledge
ACM Topic Requirements tracing; Describing functional requirements; Evaluation and use of requirements specifications; from
Level of Difficulty Easy
Estimated Time to Completion 2-3 hrs
Materials/Environment Internet access
Author Nick Yeates
Source N/A
License Creative Commons CC-BY

Suggestions for Open Source Community:

Suggestions for an open source community member who is working in conjunction with the instructor.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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