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Software Product Definition

PDF icon Syllabus for SPD Fall 2016157.21 KB

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.