Principled requirements engineering

REVEAL has been used for understanding the complex requirements of railway infrastructureREVEAL® is a principled requirements engineering process. Its theoretical underpinning is the work of Michael Jackson. It is a very practical process which I developed with colleagues in Praxis. We have used it numerous projects including aero engines, marine propulsion, rolling stock, railway infrastructure, banking and security systems.

REVEAL is an outside-in requirements process. It recognises that requirements (sometimes called user needs) exist in the real world, and it has a process to elicit these real-world needs and also the real world behaviour and assumptions that go with them.

Once these real-world needs are understood, REVEAL provides a method of developing system specifications and ensuring, by rigorous satisfaction arguments, that the system will satisfy the needs in the environment that it is intended to be used in.

REVEAL provides extensive checklists and a V&V process to ensure that the requirements are adequate and that they are well-expressed and self-consistent.

REVEAL recognises that requirements conflict is a fact of life. It provides methods for identifying, classifying and managing conflicts.

REVEAL also recognises that requirements are ever-changing. It provides an approach for minimising the impact of change and for managing the change that inevitably occurs.

Requirements are central to all systems engineering activities and REVEAL provides a framework in which requirements can be linked into system design, safety engineering, validation including testing, and assurance. This unifying framework reduces the costly duplication of effort between disciplines and reduces the probability of inconsistencies and misunderstandings between different engineers’ working on the system.

REVEAL is a process but it does not prescribe particular notations or description methods. It can be used with any suitable notations ranging from the diagrammatic to the fully formal. It is also tool-independent and can be used with any requirements engineering tool such as DOORS or SLATE.

Altran Praxis maintains information about REVEAL.

© 2010 Anthony Hall

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