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How to Break a Mammoth Project into Bite-Size Pieces

May 2011 Presentation
Esther Johnson, Kevin Nguyen

This presentation from SATURN 2011 provides insight on how to understand and break down customer requirements.


Software Engineering Institute


A successful project requires a solid architecture, while a successful product line requires a solid, sustainable architecture. A good architecture requires the buy-in of all stakeholders and an allowance for different design steps, which would enable the design team to capture everyone's input in the design process.

The only way to achieve a solid, sustainable architecture is through understanding the customer's requirements. Design teams often play the "bring me a rock" game instead of working with their customers to understand the requirements before trying to break them down. This discussion covers the lifecycle of a project and provides key tips to help determine if you're bringing the correct rock to the table.

Our key focus areas are

  • capturing customers' requirements
  • systematically translating requirements into system of systems requirements
  • transitioning requirements from systems to software engineers
  • tracing requirements from womb to tomb
  • accurately designing the intended system-based requirements

This presentation was given at SATURN 2011 in Burlingame, CA.