The Development of a Methodology for Specifying Non-Functional Requirements


ORDIT - 2301

Keywords IT uptake, human factors, IT system specification, non-functional requirements of IT systems


Start Date: 01-JAN-89 / Duration: 60 months

[ contact / participants ]


Objectives and Approach

The specification of information technology systems gives emphasis to functional needs, but most specification methods have difficulty making formal and explicit a variety of non-functional needs; these may be critical if the system is to be acceptable in an organisational environment. Such needs may be on behalf of the whole user organisation, such as requirements for dependability, flexibility, and compatibility. They may also arise from the needs of end-users for systems which are usable and acceptable, that is, which do not threaten privacy, job satisfaction, health, etc. Studies of the IT uptake process often demonstrate that it is these very factors which can prevent implementation or encourage disuse.

The ORDIT project aims to produce a computer-based methodology that will enable design teams to make explicit non-functional requirements for their product or system. The methodology will use concepts at the organisational and work-role levels of description to represent such requirements, and will contain a database of standards, models and knowledge about the characteristics and needs of different classes of computer user. The methodology will also facilitate the testing of proposed technical solutions for matching with organisational requirements, and for their implications within the organisational environment.

The construction of this methodology will be by a user-centred, iterative development process. The participants will be organisational theorists and human factors specialists working with system software specialists. Early prototypes of the core of the methodology will be produced and subjected to user testing. The methodology will thereafter undergo several rounds of modification, extension and progressively more rigourous and realistic user testing. This process is to ensure the resultant methodology not only meets the functional needs of design teams, but also meets their non-functional requirements for acceptable and usable tools.

Exploitation

The project will contribute significantly to the understanding of the capture and representation of non-functional requirements. Results dissemination by seminars and tool demonstration are underway.


CONTACT POINT

Ms S. Harker
HUSAT RESEARCH CENTRE
Loughborough University of Technology
UK - LOUGHBOROUGH LE11 3TU
tel: + 44/ 509-223016
fax: + 44/ 509-234651
email: s.d.harker@loughborough.ac.uk

Participants

HUSAT RESEARCH CENTRE - UK - C
ALGOTECH SRL - I - P
WORK RESEARCH CENTRE LTD - IRL - P
UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE - UK - P
MARI APPLIED TECHNOLOGIES LTD - UK - P


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ORDIT - 2301, December 1993


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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook