Visual Models for Software Requirements


pmwj18-jan2014-Gan-IMAGE1 - BOOKBook Title:  Visual Models for Software Requirements
Author:  Joy Beatty & Anthony Chen
Publisher:  Microsoft Press
List Price:   US $39.99 Canada $41.99
Format:  soft cover; 442 pages
Publication Date:   2012     ISBN: 9780735667723
Reviewer:      Johnny Gan
Review Date:              November, 2013

Introduction to the Book 

I picked up this book mostly because I really needed a clear vision of customer requirements to push my project going forward. After finishing this book, I am so glad that I chose the right book.

Most development projects are going on a non-existing product. I believe most project managers or developers will agree that’s the nightmare if the requirement is incomplete, or unclear, or the client described A in a thousand of lines, what your understanding was B. How to prevent the misunderstood happened again and again?

In this book, Seilevel’s principals, Anthony Chen and Joy Beatty, literally wrote the book about Visual requirements models, introducing an effective way to identify software requirements.  It also can apply to other business development. Visualization is a pretty neat way to keep most stakeholders interested and engaged. And very important, reduce misunderstands, so we can make the idea into reality, and deliver the work that is exactly needed.

After reading this book, I learned a new language, Requirements Modeling Language (RML), a language designed specifically to visually model requirements for easy consumption by executive, business and technical stakeholders.

A requirement is something that the business needs to have implemented in their solution. In most software development projects, it may involve designers, developers, testers, and implementation managers, and after the software delivered, it may also involve service people. Using RML on the project helps the whole team improve the way they elicit, model, and understand what their solutions can and cannot deliver.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book is organized very well, so you can use it as a RML reference book. RML models are organized into categories of objectives models, people models, systems models, and data models (OPSD), so the whole book focuses on:

  • Objectives Models describe the business value of systems and help you prioritize features or functions based on their values.
  • People Models describe who is using the system, along with their business processes and goals.
  • Systems Models describe what systems exist, what the user interface looks like, how the systems interact, and how they behave.
  • Data Models describe the relationships between business data objects from an end-user perspective, the life cycle of the data, and how that data is used in reports to make decisions. 

All four categories are needed in the requirement analysis. Development of models in each of the RML categories ensures that we have a bounded understanding of the solution can maximize the chances that the team will build the right solution. 


To read entire Book Review (click here)

Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of cooperation between the publisher, PM World and the Dallas Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI Dallas Chapter – www.pmidallas.org). Publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  PMI members can receive PDUs for PMP recertification by reviewing PM books.  PMI Dallas Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.  If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected]. 

About the Reviewer

flag-chinajohnny ganJohnny Gan, PMP 

Texas, USA 

Johnny Gan had many years of software R&D experience at HRsmart.com (http://www.hrsmart.com/), and now is working as consultant at Yoh (http://www.yoh.com/) Company. Mr. Gan received his MS degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, USA, and is also certified by the Project Management Institute as a Project Management Professional (PMP®).  He has been an active member of PMI for several years. Johnny can be contacted at [email protected] .