|Overview||Students will read about software requirements, dig into a particular open source communities requirements tracking tools, and explain a timeline of how a requirement progressed across the life of a particular feature.|
|Prerequisite Knowledge|| Students should be familiar with:
|Learning Objectives|| Upon completion, students should:
Background reading material is given during Part 1 of the exercise.
What is the rationale 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.
In this activity you will dive into a real open source project, and study numerous requirements gathering development artifacts around two features of the project. First, you read some background material around requirements analysis. Next, you will learn about the ManageIQ project and community. Finally, you will delve into two particular features/issues/code sets in ManageIQ, illustrating the process, describing a timeline, and answering questions.
Part 1: Requirements Background
Read the following resources and reflect on a few questions. Note that you only need to read the pages or sections mentioned.
- Requirements analysis overview - Read the "Overview" and "Requirements analysis issues" sections; Understand how requirements fit into the wider "Software development process - core activities" in the table on the right. Where do requirements fit into the wider software development process? What other processes might requirements feed into?
- ACM's quick description - Read the bottom of Page 178 (Page 181 marked by the PDF reader). What challenges should you be aware of when utilizing requirements to drive software development?
- Atlassians agile requirements tips - Read from the top of the page through to the "Keeping requirements lean with a one-page dashboard" section. How do requirements gathering differ in agile-based projects compared to more plan-driven projects (like Waterfall methodology)?
- Skim this so you can quickly see one example of how to write requirements.
Optional: Requirements in open source - Teachers can decide if they also want to focus on requirements specific to open source. This would be advanced work versus students simply moving on into the below hands-on sections.
- Does open source have requirements? - Of special interest is the comments by "FortKnox" and "ivan256" where each of them gives differing views on waterfall vs an iterative approach to requirements management
- Productization and requirements in the enterprise and open source
- How are requirements determined in open source software projects?
Part 2: ManageIQ intro
In this activity, we will focus on the ManageIQ open source community. ManageIQ is a cloud-enabled management platform (CMP) that lets you monitor, start/stop, and analyze servers & applications in a corporate cloud infrastructure. So, for example, a company decides to make its own set of cloud resources inside their own company, in a big data-room. They have hundreds of machines helping their employees to run servers and web applications. They might use ManageIQ to help keep it all under control and running smoothly. ManageIQ is made in a communal open source fashion. Keep in mind, that this community used to be proprietary and closed - when Red Hat acquired them, they have slowly been moving toward open and communal ways. It is a good ongoing lesson in how to "go open".
ManageIQ development tools
Below is a list of the tools that are used and publicly available for use by the ManageIQ project. Click on each link and observe the various uses for each tool. Why do you think there are so many tools? Give examples of how the separate tools link together to each other on occasion.
- ManageIQ Github Issues and Creating new Issues
- ManageIQ Trello / Task board - This is like a complex To-Do list; It is how they track their various requirements/issues; Open and read the upper left box titled "How this board is used: What do these Lists mean????"
- Forum tool - They call it "Talk" and its where many eventual Features are first introduced and discussed.
- ManageIQ team - A listing of their team members. Though not directly related to requirements, you will see these team members names and handles across the various tools.
- How ManageIQ does Project Management - I asked on the talk forum for more information on how they project-manage their requirements and issues. Their scrum masters answer is well worth a read.
- Sprint Review Meetings (taped on youtube!) - Sprint reviews are cyclical get-together meetings with stakeholders invited to show progress, review feedback, and change directions if needed.
- Ruby Gem Dependencies - This is a more technical tool used for tracking what other libraries their software depends on
Part 3: Compare two real requirements
Below are two features within the ManageIQ project. Requirements exist inside each features various artifacts. Inspect the links in both and answer the below questions. Next, choose one feature to Illustrate a timeline, with pictures and/or words, of what occurred in the progression of the requirement. See more below.
- Have students document and explain a timeline of how a requirement progressed across the life of a particular feature within an OSS project
- 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?
Two requirements examples:
Listed below are two features that the ManageIQ open source project took on and implemented, or are still implementing. Do take note that the git feature started in a forum and progressed to be implemented in chunks by the central ManageIQ developers, who are mostly hired by Red Hat. On the other hand, the chargeback feature was taken up and implemented by a team of hired community interns. A couple of banks combined resources with Red Hat to bring in a handful of student interns to work on this special chargeback feature. They operated separate, but in-sync with the central developers. This is of note, to see similarities and differences in how they tracked requirements and implemented their code.
Read the various links that follow two feature examples.
- Git Integration Feature
- Initial Discussion
- They created a Github Issue (bug)
- Code that was implemented - Just take a look here, no need to understand it
- More code - Again, just peak; Notice how the code links to the Issue
- There is even more code, and likely more to come, that will link back to this feature. Take note that this code is implemented across a pretty lengthy time-period.
- Chargeback Feature
http://xmindshare.s3.amazonaws.com/preview/requirements-timeline-lysaa-1255969706300.jpg http://boxesandarrows.com/files/banda/case-study-of-agile/devotimeline.jpg https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/91/LampFlowchart.svg/2000px-LampFlowchart.svg.png
Students will deliver:
- For Part 1, their answers to the following questions:
- Where do requirements fit into the wider software development process? What other processes might requirements feed into?
- What challenges should you be aware of when utilizing requirements to drive software development?
- How do requirements gathering differ in agile-based projects compared to more plan-driven projects (like Waterfall methodology)?
- For Part 2, their answers to the following questions:
- Why do you think there are so many tools?
- Give examples of how the separate tools link together to each other on occasion.
- For Part 3, their answers to the following questions:
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?
|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 https://www.acm.org/education/CS2013-final-report.pdf|
|Level of Difficulty||Easy|
|Estimated Time to Completion||2-3 hrs|
|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