Requirements Engineering & EARS Training

Training Overview

Mav provides training in general Requirements Engineering and EARS both in-house and as public courses. Training is available in person and online.

Most commonly, training is delivered as a two-day integrated package of general Requirements Engineering training and EARS. This gives attendees a wider and deeper understanding of Requirements Engineering concepts, processes and techniques. For online delivery, the course is split into 4 half days.

The EARS training includes half a day dedicated to writing requirements from the attendee’s own domain. This ensures that participants leave with a good working knowledge of EARS, having applied it to their own requirements.

To write EARS-compliant requirements it is necessary to fully understand the underlying principles and philosophy of the notation. Experience has shown that the most effective way to embed EARS learning is to combine training with a small amount of follow-on coaching.

Mav is available for training, coaching and consulting in EARS, general requirements engineering, and innovation and creativity within requirements engineering

Two Day Requirements Engineering & EARS Training

Typically split into four half-day sessions when delivered online

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 requirements are important
Typical requirements problems
Types of statements
Problem-solution-evaluation cycle
Overview of Requirements Lifecycle

Problem statement, scope and requirement gathering
Context diagrams
Requirements gathering

Requirements analysis, documentation and validation
Requirements analysis
Requirements documentation
Characteristics and attributes of a requirement
Requirements validation

Requirements management, acceptance and contracts
Requirements management
Requirements change
Requirements and contracts
Summary and reflections

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