Non-functional requirements seem to be a really hot topic, I suspect that my blog is getting a lot of hits because there’s not a lot out there on the subject. I may be going against what I’ve already put on the Project 21 page but I think I have a growing feeling that non-functional requirements should be related to the ‘Ends’ and that Functional requirements are related to the ‘Means’. Looking at the OMG Business Motivation Model (BMM) tends to confirm this and gives a much firmer logical basis for non-functional requirements. It probably also indicates that we should be calling them something else like ‘Business Requirements’, which kind of fits in with having ‘Business Use Cases’ with ‘Functional Requirements’, that make those Business requirements happen. I kind of like having BMM compliant requirements, because that just says what they are and how they relate, not how you express them. So if you wanted to express requirements in RDF or some ontological form that would fit in quite well. It has some implications for traceability as well, if a function cannot be traced back to a non-functional requirement why would it be needed? I’m going to back track and redo requirements in the next few weeks, this should be fun.
I’ve realised that maybe I could have started with the more exciting subjects like why do ‘IT Project always run over budget?’, but the answer to that lies in project methodology, and in the area of governance; I have to work my way towards it by laying the groundwork in place. The basic reasons are very simple, that project planning tools are not flexible enough to measure true progress and can only measure on and over budget activities. The only way that a project can be delivered on time using conventional project management software is to either have a grossly overestimated project or to finesse the cost codes once they have reached capacity, the truly creative manager will use both of these techniques and other methods of falsifying deliverables and costs so that the sun comes out. But is this really necessary? Can IT professionals predict what will happen on an IT project? The answer is yes, but must be qualified by good methodology and governance and recognizing that project outcomes deliver into a value range, not a value point. On the down side a lot of IT Managers enjoy the ‘mystical’ side of IT and are not into modern project management technique, not that ‘mystical’ management is purely the realm of IT.
Project Definition completed, some tjhoughts on the publishing process