EARS Training Detail

Two Day Requirements Training

Day 1: Fundamentals of Requirements Engineering

Requirements Engineering (RE) is an essential part of Systems Engineering. However, the concepts and techniques of RE are applicable to any form of project or system development. Any work activity begins with a set of stakeholder wants and seeks to find a solution that addresses them. This journey from problem to solution is the discipline of Requirements Engineering. Yet many people who undertake requirements activities are not specifically trained in the discipline, but have learned through experience instead.

This training gives an overview of the Fundamentals of RE to provide structure and rigour to this key part of system development. The training introduces the whole requirements lifecycle, including problem definition, stakeholders, system context, elicitation, analysis and the management of requirements.

Attendees will learn that a good understanding of requirements is critical to successful system development. The important distinction between stakeholder goals and system requirements will be defined. Typical requirements problems will be identified and ways to mitigate them will be explained. The essential characteristics and attributes of requirements will be discussed. Useful techniques such as context diagrams and scenarios will be presented, and attendees will be able to practice using them.

The training material consists of presentations, worked examples and hands-on exercises. Interaction is actively encouraged, allowing attendees to discuss their own specific requirements issues with the group. This allows everyone to benefit from the shared experience of all attendees and the insights of the presenters.

Day 1 Course Outline

Foundations of requirements engineering
Why are requirements important?
Typical requirements problems and ways to mitigate them
Characteristics and attributes of a requirement
Types of statement: Goals, requirements, assumptions, etc
The Problem-Solution-Evaluation cycle

Requirements lifecycle
Requirements elicitation and gathering
Requirements analysis
Requirements documentation
Requirements validation

Practical requirements techniques
Setting the scope and system context

Requirements in the real world
Requirements management
Requirements and contracts
Requirements in testing, validation and acceptance
Summary, reflections and outlook for EARS day

Day 2: Writing better requirements with Easy Approach to Requirements Syntax (EARS)

Easy Approach to Requirements Syntax (EARS) has been shown to drastically reduce or even eliminate the main problems typically associated with natural language (NL) requirements. The EARS notation is widely used in a range of industries across the world.

System requirements are usually written in unconstrained NL, which is inherently imprecise. Often, the authors of system requirements are not trained in how to write requirements. During system development, problems in system requirements propagate to lower levels. This creates unnecessary volatility and risk, which impact programme schedule and cost. To mitigate this problem, there is a need for simple, practical guidance for authors of NL requirements.

EARS is a notation for authoring NL requirements through the application of a simple syntax (structure) with an underlying ruleset. EARS has proved popular with practitioners because it is lightweight, there is little training overhead, no specialist tool is required, and the resultant requirements are easy to read. EARS is especially effective for requirements authors who must write requirements in English, but whose first language is not English.

This interactive session will introduce the EARS approach, illustrate worked examples and discuss the benefits of adopting the approach. In the afternoon, participants will work on real requirements from their own projects, with support. Participants will therefore leave with a working knowledge of EARS, having already applied it to their own requirements.

Day 2 Course Outline

Foundations of EARS
How EARS was developed
Motivation for EARS
Generic EARS template

Application of EARS
The EARS patterns
Advantages of using EARS
Limitations of EARS; when EARS is not appropriate

Hands-on practice of applying EARS
Attendees bring their own requirements to (re)write using EARS, with support (examples will be provided if attendees do not wish to bring their own requirements).
Group reflections and discussion

Hands-on practice of applying EARS (continued)
Lessons learned from industry practice
Hands-on practice of applying EARS (continued)
Summary and reflections

EARS Training Overview