SYST 510 - Systems Definition and Cost Modeling

Fall 2001



Dr. Peggy Brouse



Work Phone:

(703) 993-1502 (with voice mail)


(703) 993-1706



GMU:  Science and Technology II - Room 317

Office Hours:

Mondays:  3:00 - 4:00 and by appointment

Course Description:

During this course, the Systems Definition phase of the Systems Development Life Cycle will be explored.  This phase of the systems engineering effort includes such activities as requirement elicitation, problem analysis, system specification, and system cost estimation.  Lectures concerning these topics will be given by the instructor and will be supported by the listed texts.  Students will be tested to ensure understanding of material contained within the lectures and the texts.  Additionally, students will gain practical knowledge concerning this subject by participating in a group project to create a System Requirement Specification (SRS) and cost model of the system to be developed.

Course Hours:

Monday  4:30 p.m. to 7:10 p.m., Robinson B122


1.      Requirements Engineering Processes & Techniques (1998) Ian Sommerville and Gerald Kotonya. John Wiley and Sons ISBN 0-471-97208-8


50% - group project


30% - tests


20% - article presentation/report

Group Project

The Group Project is the focal point of student effort within this course.  Although groups may be able to meet during class time occasionally, the majority of effort toward the group projects will be expended outside of class.  There will be groups of several people self-formed during the second meeting of the class.  Each group will have two roles: User Group and Requirement Group. 

Beginning User Group Activities:  As a user, the group will formulate a Statement of Work (SOW) that they will pass to their “mate group” (week 3 - 5).  Mate groups will be assigned after the SOW is completed (week 6). 

Beginning Requirement Group Activities:  Each group will exchange their SOW with their assigned mate group (week 6).  The SOW that they receive from their mate group will form the basis for their role as a Requirement Group.  In this role, they will

·        study the SOW they have received,

·        elicit requirements from the mate group to develop a Systems Requirement Specification (SRS) including problem analysis and system definition models (week 6 - 9),

·        run cost models and document their final SRS (week 10 - 13). 

Each member of the group will be required to run a different cost model (e.g. COCOMO, REVIC, etc.).  This individual run of the model will constitute the second test for the course.  The final analysis of the cost models will be a comparison of the individual models with a determination by the group of the final estimation they submit.  Their mate group will be doing these same functions with the SOW they receive. 

Ending User Group Activities:  After completion of the SRS and cost models, the mate groups will again exchange documents: the SRS and Cost Model document (week 12).  In the User Group role, each group will evaluate the products of their mate group (weeks 13 - 16).  A recommended evaluation strategy will be given to you.

Ending Requirement Group Activities:  At the end of the semester, each group will present their work including the SRS and Cost Models (weeks 14 - 16).  On finals week (week 16) groups will be required to hand in their final package to the professor including:

·        original annotated SOW they wrote,

·        preliminary annotated SRS,

·        final SRS,

·        individual Cost Models and group Cost Model evaluation, and

·        evaluation of Mate Group SRS and Cost Models. 

In addition, each person in class will be required to do an evaluation of the other members of their group. The format of this is contained in a separate handout.  This evaluation will be private.  It should be included in a sealed envelope with student signature across flap as part of the final package.


Two exams:  The first will be in-class and will cover Systems Definition.  The second will be a take home consisting of individual running of cost models.

Refereed Journal Article Report or Presentation

Each student will be required to do a library search for a contemporary article in an area pertinent to this class (e.g. requirements engineering, cost modeling, etc.). The article should be taken from refereed journals (e.g. IEEE, ACM).  Some students will be asked to give a formal presentation on their article.  Instructions for Literature Review:

1.   Literature should be reviewed for the last couple of years only.  Since the search deals with most recent periodicals, you would be better off checking the "current periodicals" shelves in the library in addition to a computerized search.

2.   The topic of the articles must be directly related to the content of this class.

3.   The content of the article should be such that it contributes to the class (e.g. new theory, interesting application, applications with important practical lessons).  The content should supplement the textbooks, not repeat information.

Early in the semester [see schedule], students are responsible for providing the professor with a copy of the article and a paragraph describing why they chose the article. Based on this paragraph, I will choose a few students to present a briefing to the class on their article.  If you are asked to brief then, you will be expected to bring copies of the article for students in the class one week prior to presentation. If you use transparencies, please give me a copy before you begin presentation.  You do not have to use transparencies.  Everyone will be expected to read the chosen articles and be prepared to discuss them in class the week they are presented. The presentation should take 10 minutes.  I do time these presentations.  You will be asked to stop after 10 minutes. If you brief, you are not expected to write a report.

If you are not asked to brief, you will be required to prepare a report on your chosen article.

Written Summary:  Prepare a six page report (typed, 1.5 line spacing, 12 pt. type) of the article you have chosen containing: Abstract. What the article is about, Justification.  Why did you select the article, what is unique about it? Critique.  Your opinion on the article.



Week 1>

27 August

¨      Background; Introductions

¨      Groups:  Form Groups, Work on SOW




Week 2>

3 September

¨      LABOR DAY - no classes




Week 3>

10 September

¨      Lecture: Requirements Elicitation, Analysis,Validation [Sommerville Chapters 1, 2]

¨      Articles:  Copy of article and paragraph due

¨      Groups:  Work on SOW




Week 4>

17 September

¨      Lecture: Requirements Management, Methods [Sommerville Chapters 3, 4]

¨      Articles:  Presentation assignments made

¨      Groups: SOW due to professor (hard and soft copy)




Week 5>

24 September

¨      Lecture: Requirements Management, Methods [Sommerville Chapters 5, 6]

¨      Presentation by past students of SYST510 - from Spring 2001

¨      Groups: SOW returned; Mate Group assignments given; Bring copy of SOW to class to give to your Mate Group




Week 6>

1 October

Lecture: Viewpoint-oriented Requirements, Non-Functional Requirements [Sommerville Chapters 7, 8]

Groups: Requirements elicitation & SRS writing

Student Presentations:




Week 7>

10 October

Columbus Day Recess (Monday classes meet on Wednesday)

Lecture: Interactive System Specification, Case Study [Sommerville Chapters 9, 10]

¨      Groups: Requirements elicitation & SRS writing

Student Presentations:




Week 8>

15 October

In-class Test Number 1 (covers Sommerville)




Week 9>

22 October

¨      Lecture: Cost Modeling [from professor's notes]

¨      Groups: Preliminary SRS due to professor (hard and soft copy)

¨      Student Presentations:

                                                              CLASS SCHEDULE (continued)

Week 10>

29 October

¨      Guest Lecture: Dennis Ruane, Army Cost Analysis Agency

¨      Groups:  Preliminary SRS returned; SRS revision and cost models

¨      Final Test Sheet handed to students

¨      Student Presentations:




Week 11>

5 November

¨      Guest Lecture: Mathias Eifert, demonstration of cost models to be used in the class assignment

¨      Article papers due (hard and soft copy)




Week 12>

12 November

¨      Take-home Test Number 2 (covers Cost Modeling)




Week 13>

19 November

¨      Groups: Exchange SRS and cost models with Mate Group; final presentation preparation and evaluation of mate group SRS & cost models

¨      Individual Cost Models due (hard copy only)




Week 14>

26 November

¨      Group Presentation of final SRS and cost model




Week 15>

3 December

¨      Group Presentation of final SRS and cost model

¨      Deliverables Due:  to include SOW and Evaluation for each project from Users Group as well as SRS, Cost Model, and Final SRS for each project from Requirements Group (hard copy only)