Requirements engineering

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Requirements engineering (RE)[1] refers to the process of formulating, documenting and maintaining software requirements[2][3] and to the subfield of Software Engineering concerned with this process.

The first use of the term 'requirements engineering' was probably in 1979 in a TRW technical report [4] but did not come into general use until the 1990s with the publication of an IEEE Computer Society tutorial [5] and the establishment of a conference series on requirements engineering.

In the waterfall model,[6] requirements engineering is presented as the first phase of the development process. Later software development methods, including the Rational Unified Process, Extreme Programming and Scrum assume that requirements engineering continues through the lifetime of a system.

Alan M. Davis maintains an extensive bibliography of requirements engineering.[7]

Requirements engineering activities[edit]

The activities involved in requirements engineering vary widely, depending on the type of system being developed and the specific practices of the organization(s) involved.[8] These may include:

  1. Requirements inception or requirements elicitation -
  2. Requirements identification - identifying new requirements
  3. Requirements analysis and negotiation - checking requirements and resolving stakeholder conflicts
  4. Requirements specification (Software Requirements Specification) - documenting the requirements in a requirements document
  5. System modeling - deriving models of the system, often using a notation such as the Unified Modeling Language
  6. Requirements validation - checking that the documented requirements and models are consistent and meet stakeholder needs
  7. Requirements management - managing changes to the requirements as the system is developed and put into use

These are sometimes presented as chronological stages although, in practice, there is considerable interleaving of these activities.

Requirements engineering tools[edit]

Some links to the tools[edit]

Product Link Notes
Innoslate Cloud and on-site requirements solution with full lifecycle support (free version available)
Intland Software codeBeamer Agile Software Development - Enterprise Requirements Engineering + Management
IBM Rational DOORS ex. "Telelogic DOORS"; used for system engineering
IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation The followup to IBM Rational RRC.
IBM Rational RequisitePro Used for software engineering
IBM Rational Requirements Composer The followup to IBM Rational RequisitePro
TraceCloud TraceCloud
Kovair Requirements Management - ALM Studio Used for Requirements elicitation, analysis, specification and validation
Blueprint Requirements Definition & Management Blueprint Requirements
Visual Paradigm Requirements Capturing Visual Paradigm Requirements Capturing
HP Requirements Management HP Requirements Management
PTC Integrity for Requirements Engineering Formerly MKS Integrity for Requirements Management - optimized for system and software requirements
objectiF Requirements Modeller
RQA Requirements Quality Analyzer for system engineering projects The Requirements Quality Analyzer tool (RQA) allows you to define, measure, improve and manage the quality of the requirements specifications within the systems engineering process
TestTrack Cloud and on-site requirements solution


Some recent research suggests that software requirements are often an illusion misrepresenting design decisions as requirements in situations where no real requirements are evident.[9]


  1. ^ Nuseibeh B. and Easterbrook, S. Requirements Engineering: A Roadmap, ICSE 2000 Future of Software Engineering [1], ACM Press.
  2. ^ Kotonya G. and Sommerville, I. Requirements Engineering: Processes and Techniques. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons
  3. ^ Murali Chemuturi, Requirements Engineering and Management for Software Dvelopment Projects [2], Springer USA.
  4. ^ Software Requirements Engineering Methodology (Development) Alford, M. W. and Lawson,J. T. TRW Defense and Space Systems Group. 1979.
  5. ^ Thayer, R.H., and M. Dorfman (eds.), System and Software Requirements Engineering, IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos, CA, 1990.
  6. ^ Royce, W.W. 'Managing the Development of Large Software Systems: Concepts and Techniques', IEEE Westcon, Los Angeles, CA> pp 1-9, 1970. Reprinted in ICSE '87, Proceedings of the 9th international conference on Software Engineering.
  7. ^ Requirements bibliography Reviewed November 10th 2011
  8. ^ Sommerville, I. Software Engineering, 7th ed. Harlow, UK: Addison Wesley, 2006.
  9. ^ Ralph, Paul (2012). "The Illusion of Requirements in Software Development". Requirements Engineering.