Preparing Great Requirements Specifications

A seminar presented over one day

Presented by Mr. Robert Halligan FIE Aust, Mr Alwyn Smit Pr Eng CSEP or Mr. Clive Tudge CEng MIET


Specification writing is a science practiced by many, mastered by surprisingly few. And yet, the payoff from achieving excellence in this area is large.

This one-day specification writing seminar addresses the conversion of individual requirements into effective requirements specifications. The seminar builds knowledge and understanding regarding structure and language. The seminar is applicable to the specification of both physical items and software items, from the largest to the smallest, in both procurement and engineering scenarios. The specification of services is overviewed but not covered explicity in great depth. However, most of the principles and techniques have direct application to the specification of services.

Seminar Availability

This seminar is available world-wide for public and on-site delivery (i.e. at client-provided facilities).

Who Should Attend This Seminar?

This short seminar “Preparing Great Requirements Specifications” is intended for anybody who seeks an introduction to the subject, most likely acquirer, supplier and developer personnel who, in any capacity, deals with requirements.

The seminar will be of particular interest to those who do not necessarily seek to develop deep skills in specification writing, but who need to understand the key issues and main principles. Relevant job titles or roles could include marketing managers, marketing staff, programme managers, project sponsors, project managers and their planning advisers, technical managers, system engineers, software systems engineers, engineers of all other types, stakeholders in the product being developed such as users and manufacturing planners and engineers, and those responsible for the development of policy and processes in the fields of development, acquisition, and supply.

People who seek to develop or increase substantial skills in specification writing may prefer to attend PPI’s 5-day Requirements Analysis and Specification Writing workshop, or the 2-day Requirements Specification module thereof.

Seminar Method and Materials

The seminar is delivered using primarily presentation and focused discussion, plus workshop activities.

Delegates are provided with a set of bound seminar notes covering the presentation material and workshop exercises; a Workshop Workbook; a CD-ROM of relevant requirements engineering resources; high quality templates for system requirements specifications, software requirements specifications, interface requirements specifications, specifications for services; workshop model solutions; a reference example system requirements specification; and other materials and checklists for future reference and use.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this short seminar, delegates are expected to have a familiarity with the principles of preparing effective requirements specifications, and knowledge based on pitfalls and pointers. The knowledge and understanding obtained will assist in developing skills.

Delegates are not expected to have substantial skills in requirements specification writing.

Key Questions

  • What is the difference between a requirement, a specified requirement, and a requirements specification?
  • What are the different types of requirements, and why are the differences so important?
  • Why should a requirements specification contain, or reference, a description of intended use?
  • In English, what words should be used to designate a requirement?
  • Should goals (targets, objectives) be placed in a requirements specification?
  • If so, what words should be used to designate a goal?
  • Are there other “requirements specification” words?
  • What are the problematic words and phrases related to requirements specifications in English? How can the problems be avoided?
  • Is there a technique to use if we know we have a requirement, but don’t know what it is?
  • How can requirements best be organized into a requirements specification?
  • Are there standards and guides available to assist in preparing requirements specifications? If so, which ones are recommended, and why?

Seminar Outline: Preparing Great Requirements Specifications (1-Day)

1. Requirements

  • the eight types of requirements and their significance to specification writing
  • differences for software and services

2. Requirements Specification Types

  • the ten types of requirements specification
  • score sheet for public domain requirements specification standards

3. Structuring Your Requirements Specification

  • structuring a system requirements specification
    • dealing with variants
    • workshop – writing a Scope section to deal with variants
    • dealing with states and modes
    • functional versus design oriented specifications
    • structuring to specify function and performance
    • workshop – classifying specified requirements as functional or design
    • workshop – writing a functionally oriented requirements specification
    • workshop – writing a design oriented requirements specification
  • specifying other requirements types - environmental, resource, physical and other qualities
  • structuring the specification of any design direction in requirements
  • structuring an Interface Requirements Specification
  • structuring a Statement of Work

4. Requirements Specification Writing in English - Use of Language

  • requirement writing template
  • workshop – using the parsing template
  • requirements constructs
    • shall, should, will, and may
    • syntax in general - the helpful, the problematic, work-arounds
    • linking
  • cross-referencing
  • defining terms
  • context dependence
  • reference to applicable documents
  • use of precedence
  • using success criteria to express otherwise vague requirements
  • workshop – using success criteria
  • 5. Requirements Specification Writing in Summary

About our Seminar Presenters

Mr. Clive Tudge, CEng MIET.

Clive Tudge is a professional Chartered Engineer with considerable national and International experience in senior project management, engineering management, and more recently, training positions in industry and government.

Clive obtained his College Diploma at the College of Electronics, which was then attached to the Ministry of Defence in the U.K. The Diploma qualified him as a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE), which is now known as the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Clive has been on the Committee of the IET in Queensland for the last 20 years, and for three of these years was the President.

Prior to arriving in Australia, in Europe Clive held many senior Project Director positions in the aviation sector on projects such as the Tornado, Jaguar and Hawk aircraft. In Germany, he was the Senior Project Director on a unique Fly-By-Wire Flight Control System for the Typhoon Eurofighter Project, and Project Manager on various systems for the European Tiger Helicopter.

In Australia, Clive has worked with many government agencies and industrial companies including Ansett Technologies, Datacraft, Queensland Rail, Brisbane City Council, Telstra, Optus, QANTAS, Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) and Energex, helping to bring projects to a successful conclusion. Clive has founded, and has run, successful software development companies, completing complex software-intensive projects on time, within budget and satisfying customer needs.

Clive has been involved in all aspects of procurement from requirements definition and requirements analysis and through to operational support. He has performed roles from software engineer through to Project Chief Engineer and Project Director on multi-million dollar projects. Key skill areas include: project management, systems process evaluation, risk management, system engineering design and acceptance, systems engineering training, airworthiness analysis, communications systems, engineering change management, flight testing and systems process auditing.

Mr. Robert Halligan, FIE Aust.

An executive professional manager and engineering practitioner, Mr Robert Halligan is known worldwide for his role in the practice and improvement of major projects. His work was initially with government and major transnational companies. For the last 24 years, he has worked in a consulting and training capacity, delivering an extensive training program on six continents.

Robert worked extensively in the United States and the United Kingdom. He was an Australian delegate to the ISO SC7 WG7 developing the international system life cycle processes standard, ISO/IEC 15288 and was a key reviewer of EIA 632 (Engineering of Systems) and EIA 731 (Systems Engineering Capability Model). He was a member of a small team which updated IEEE 1220 (Standard for Application and Management of the Systems Engineering Process). Robert was a member of the Board of Directors of the 7000-member International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE).

Robert has led numerous requirements analysis efforts, on projects of up to $1B. As a hands-on engineering manager, he is expert in the strengths and weaknesses of a wide range of commercial and military specification standards. A sought-after consultant, Robert developed, on behalf of an industry client, the procedures used for a multi-million dollar requirements analysis effort, conducted training of client staff in requirements analysis and led the analysis of critical system requirements. He has consulted extensively in the area of requirements quality and its relationship to project risk. He has prepared or reviewed well over 100 significant requirements specifications. His short tutorials and longer courses on aspects of systems and requirements engineering are popular worldwide.

For further information on how to register, or to download a copy of the registration form, please click here.

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Workshop Schedule

How to Register

There are three simple ways to register to one of our workshops.

  1. Online. You may register online by clicking the "register online" link next to the workshop of interest.
  2. Fax. Download a registration form by clicking the link above the schedule and fax the completed form to our offices on +61 3 9876 2664 (Australia) or +1 888 772 5191 (North America).
  3. Email. Download a registration form by clicking the link next to the workshop of interest and email the form here.

Upon receiving a completed registration form, a course confirmation letter and invoice will be sent electronically to the email provided within 1-2 business days. Payment can made by credit card or by bank transfer.

If you need any assistance with the registration process or have any queries, please call one of our friendly team members on Australia +61 3 9876 7345, UK +44 20 3286 1995, North America +1 888 772 5174, Brazil +55 11 3230 8256 or email us.


"The best thing about the course was the real-life examples"

Requirements Analysis & Specification Writing Course
delegate, Australia

All courses are available on-site

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