Requirements Engineering & Management

Challenge

As development timelines shorten and product requirements become more complex, there is often pressure to reduce the effort spent during the upfront product definition phase. All too often products suffer from a shortfall in meeting their requirements and in some cases even worse – the specified requirements are either incorrect or incomplete.

In many cases, requirements are adapted from a predecessor product into a new product without full understanding of where the requirements came from or why they are there. Poor prioritization of requirements and requirements over-specification are two common shortfalls. An important aspect that product designers often forget is the impact that the environment and adjacent/interfacing systems have on the product’s requirements – this is very important for connected/networked systems and for products that are integrated into complex systems.

In other cases, it is difficult to determine and accurately capture customer requirements. Customers often have unstated needs, over-prescribed solutions from their experience instead of what they require, or there may be requirements from multiple customers that need to be reconciled.

We often see companies that struggle to adequately define or manage their product requirements. Requirements that are improperly defined or managed can lead to product and project issues, including serious budget and schedule overruns associated with product rework, or even project failure.

Insights

The most challenging part of product development is deciding what to develop. No other part of a development project can cripple your success as much if done wrong. No other part is tougher to rectify later on. Committing the time and resources required to prepare complete and correct product requirements is an excellent investment. Well-defined and well-managed requirements are the cornerstone of a successful technological project and are a crucial element in ensuring the user/customer’s needs are satisfied.

Organizations that are known for their high quality products typically have an excellent process in place to analyze, define, and manage their requirements and understand the value of the underlying efforts. They build their people’s capacity to work with such requirements, ensure traceability across requirements, projects, and programs, as well as define and maintain other requirements management best practices.

Our services

We help our clients define, structure, and maintain the right level of requirements engineering and management for their situation. Our services include:

  • Review / assessment of existing requirements documentation and process
  • Requirements management process improvement
  • Requirements engineering training
  • Support on a variety of requirements management tools
  • Customized requirements management tools *
  • Voice of the Customer process improvement
  • Customer needs analysis (and translating needs into requirements)
  • Product requirements analysis
  • Requirements prioritization workshops
  • Requirements definition workshops
  • Component requirements / specification analysis
  • Support on requirements traceability
  • Requirements analysis for the purpose of standard / regulatory compliance
  • Interpreting requirements that are specified using Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE)
  • Design Review facilitation
  • Requirements validation
  • Requirement template harmonization with industry standards and regulations, for example in
    • Automotive (APQP, SAE, VDA)
    • Aviation (ISO, SAE, RTCA, ARINC, FAA / EASA / TCCA)
    • Defense (STANAG, DoD)
    • Industrial (ISO, UL, CSA, ASME, NFPA)
    • Medical (ISO, ASTM, IEC)
* In addition to support and training on various off-the-shelf requirements management tools, we also offer our own customizable requirements documentation / management templates in Excel and Word.

Example projects and case studies from our former experiences

  • Automotive fuel cell system requirements definition from system to components for AFCC, JV of Daimler AG and Ford Motor Company, 2008-2013
  • Requirements definition for a potable water treatment system installed on Boeing 737NG aircraft, for International Water Guard, 2015
  • Unmanned aerial system requirements definition from customer to component, 8 kg, for AerialX, 2012-2015
  • System and component design requirements for gas clean up system, including steam reformer, shift reactor, freeze contaminant capture unit, for Quadrogen/Microsoft, 2014
  • Micro-Fuel cell development for mobile radios, for Tekion, 2005-2007
  • Fuel cell systems for buses, stationary power systems, truck APU’s, submarines, for Ballard 1991-2007

Our example projects and case studies

  • Requirements engineering process improvement for Ballard Power Systems, 2015-present
  • Requirements definition for a commercial building fuel cell system installation for Infrastructure Ontario, 2016
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