SYST 510 - Systems Definition and Cost Modeling

  Fall 2005




Dr. Peggy Brouse

Assignment Submission:

WebCT usage is required in the class; instructions are below.

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:

Mondays  4:30 p.m. to 7:10 p.m.; Robinson B218


Mastering the Requirements Process (1999) Suzanne Robertson and James Robertson. Addison-Wesley ISBN 0-201-36046-2


50% - group project: (5% SOW; 20% Final Presentation; 25% Final Deliverable)

25% - final

Disabilities Statement:

If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 993-2474.  All academic accommodations must be arranged through the DRC.





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 first 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”.  Mate groups will be assigned after the SOW is completed. 

Beginning Requirement Group Activities:  Each group will exchange their SOW with their assigned mate group.  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,

·        run cost models and document their final SRS. 

Each member of the group will be required to run a different cost model (e.g. COCOMO2, CostXpert, 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.  In the User Group role, each group will evaluate the products of their mate group.  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.  Groups will be required to hand in their final package to the professor including:

·        original annotated SOW they wrote,

·        preliminary annotated SRS,

·        final SRS,

·        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.


How To Access WebCT?


         Go to


         Enter WebCT ID and password:

Students need a WebCT ID and password to login. Their WebCT ID is their Mason mail user name (e.g. the WebCT ID for would be jdoe);   Starting August 16, 2005 at 7am, all WebCT user accounts will convert to the same password as their Mason email accounts. On that date, at that time, logging into WebCT will require the user to enter the same password required to access their Mason email account. WebCT users will no longer be able to reset their passwords using the “password settings” utility on their myWebCT page. Starting August 16, passwords for WebCT can be reset or obtained by clicking on the obtain or reset username/password


         If you do not know your Mason mail user name, go to and click on “Activating My Account” icon, follow the steps.


         All assignments have due dates and submissions after the due date/time will not be possible, since WebCT will automatically block “submit my homework” option.


         From time to time, WebCT works too slowly. Especially from a dial-up internet connection, WebCT access may not be so efficient all the time; students are encouraged to submit their work earlier than the deadline.


         If you experience any problem while accessing/using WebCT, please send an e-mail to Dr. Brouse,




Week 1>

29 August

¨       Handout syllabus, Honor Code, WebCT

¨       Groups:  Form Groups, Work on SOW




Week 2>

5 September





Week 3>

12 September

¨       Lecture: Requirements Engineering Processes [Robertson Chapters 1, 2, 3]

¨       Groups:  Work on SOW




Week 4>

19 September

¨       Lecture: Requirements Elicitation, Analysis,Validation [Robertson Chapters 4, 5]

¨       Groups:  Work on SOW




Week 5>

26 September

¨       Guest Lecture: Marcus Achiume, ViewSet




Week 6>

3 October

¨       Lecture: Requirements Management, Methods [Robertson Chapters 6. 7. 8]

¨      Groups: SOW (via WebCT) due to professor




Week 7>

11 October

¨       NOTE: 11 October is a Tuesday class

¨       Presentation by past students of SYST510 - from Fall 2004

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




Week 8>

17 October

¨       Lecture: Non-Functional Requirements [Robertson Chapters 9, 10, 11, 14]

¨       Groups: Requirements elicitation & SRS writing




Week 9>

24 October

¨       In-class Test Number 1




Week 10>

31 October

¨       Lecture: Cost Modeling

¨       Groups: Preliminary SRS due to professor (via WebCT)




Week 11>

7 November

¨       Guest Lecture: Hakan Yurt demonstration of cost models to be used in the class assignment

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

¨       Take-home Test Number 2 (covers Cost Modeling): Final Test Sheet handed to students




Week 12>

14 November

¨       Take-home Test Number 2: Individual Cost Models




Week 13>

21 November

¨       Take-home Test Number 2: Individual Cost Models due (hard copy only)

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




Week 14>

28 November

¨       Student group presentations of final SRS and cost model




Week 15>

5 December

¨       Student group presentations of final SRS and cost model

¨      Group 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