Fa17 ITEC1001H P1 Requirements

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Requirements Gathering for Computer Build Project

We had a computer dissection in class, and you have gone through the material from chapter 2 of the text book in Connect. So, you have a general idea of the different components that go into the system unit. However, before we can decide on the specific components we want in the computer we build, we need to know the purpose of the computer that we intend to build.

The intended purpose can have a significant impact on your choice of components. So, your first step in this project is to gather the requirements for the computer you will build. Each group will have a different customer for whom they will be putting together a computer, so each group's build will likely differ.

So, in this phase of the project, you will take the following steps:

  1. Contact your customer and schedule a meeting. The customer knows someone will be contacting them, so your first task is to reach out to your customer in a professional manner in person, by phone, or via email to schedule a meeting to discuss how someone in his or her field uses a computer.
  2. Conduct a customer interview. You will meet with your customer and ask them questions about his or her computer needs. You should generally focus your attention on specific software or hardware requirements would be needed in your computer. In advance of the meeting, you should think about questions that will prompt this information in order to make the interview smoother. You should make sure to take notes at the meeting, so you accurately capture the information you are gathering. As guidance, you should start with software needs by category, or even specific software if your customer has a particular requirement. You should then inquire about any particular hardware needs. The questions should focus on functionality rather than raw numbers. For example, you might ask the user if they need to view items with high details on their screen; such a question would elicit information on potential screen resolution requirements. Another example might be a question about external equipment with which they may need to connect; such a question would elicit information on the types of ports that may be needed.
  3. Prepare requirements memo. You should formalize your understanding of the customer's requirements in a memo addressed to your customer. You should prepare the memo using any of the memo templates available for use with Microsoft Word. The memo should set forth its purpose and then delineate the captured requirements, preferably grouping the requirements using some suitable abstractions (e.g., software requirements, interface requirements, etc.).
  4. Circulate memo back to the customer for feedback. Since you are looking to build this computer for your customer's needs, you should always reflect back to your customer what you heard as their requirements. Miscommunications and problems are most often easier and cheaper to fix the earlier they are resolved in a process. This is an opportunity for the customer to catch any issues with communication or to clarify any points.

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