Software Product Definition (SPD) is a seven week course which provides a learn-by-doing experience during which students:
- identify a business problem that can be addressed (in part) by software technology
- elicit and model user and customer requirements
- develop a vision for a new product or service that addresses the problem, including both the software system that is the central focus of product development and the “whole product” required to provide a complete solution to address the customer’s problem
- develop a business vision of how the product will contribute to achieving the goals of the company considering its development
- document the vision in a product vision document.
The course work includes applying a variety of requirements elicitation and analysis techniques, writing reports, and preparing supporting material – all while working as a member of a high-performing team.
The learning objectives of SPD include:
- Students will be able to use contextual inquiry and work modeling techniques from Contextual Design to understand organizational culture, information flows, work sequences, and problems therein
- Students will be able to define and apply personas, goals, and scenarios to envision a high-quality user experience with a proposed new system
- Students will be able to derive key functional, data, technical, and business requirements from scenarios
- Students will be able to define the whole product required to provide a complete solution, systematically, from a customer’s point of view
- Students will be able to define a business vision that explains how product development will contribute to achieving the goals of the customers and end users.
- Students will be able to write clear and compelling product development artifacts
- Students will be able to interact persuasively with management to “sell” their ideas.
The Software Product Definition course comprises a single task: To develop a product vision document. Subtasks include:
- identifying and analyzing problems faced by key users and other stakeholders
- developing a compelling, realistic vision of how a proposed software system and accompanying “whole product components” in the form of complementary systems, services, and technology will address the problems
- packaging the software product definition results in a form that effectively supports management decision-making.
The course syllabus is attached to this page. Information on the course logistics may also be found here.