George Mason University
School of Information Technology and Engineering
Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research
SYST510-001 72830 – Fall 2006
Wednesdays 7:20pm to 10:00 pm - Location: Robinson Hall B205
Aug 28, 2006 - Dec 19, 2006
Tentative Syllabus

Professor: Dr. Tan N. Nguyen
Telephone: (703) 993-1670 (GMU) or (703) 338-7935 (Cell Phone)
Office Hours: By appointment
Home Page: (public)
and (for SYST510 webct registered students only)

Course Description
SYST 510 Systems Definition and Cost Modeling (3:3:0).
Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
Comprehensive examination of the methods and processes for the identification and representation of system requirements. Investigation of the systems acquisition life cycle with emphasis on requirements definition, including functional problem analysis. Examination of the systems engineering definition phase including requirements, problem analysis, definition, and functional economics. Specification of functional and nonfunctional requirements, and associated requirements prototyping. Functional economic analysis, including the use of prevailing cost estimation models and planning and control of common operating environments. Lecture and group project including creation of requirements and use of cost estimation model. Case studies of some current U.S. Federal governmental or commercial enterprises are presented. In addition, the professor will discuss topics related to "real-life" project management, enterprise architecture, enterprise integration, systems engineering, enterprise engineering, and some practical issues with solutions from his experience in large scale systems development, operating systems, data communications, computer networks, and distributed systems integration.

WebCT Requirements
WebCT usage is required in the class: 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). 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. Tan Nguyen,

Honor Code
Honor Code procedures will be strictly adhered. Students are required to be familiar with the honor code. You must not utilize unauthorized material or consultation in responding to your tests, homework, and assignments. There are several web sites that publish homework solutions, project assignment programs, etc. Numerous professors used the homework solutions from the textbook as their standard grading keys and also published the solutions on the Internet. You may use those solutions as references but you are not allowed to copy them directly. Violations of the honor code will be reported. Obvious honor code violations (exact copy of work, etc) will be graded as 0/100 (zero percent).

Requirements Engineering : Processes and Techniques,
Gerald Kotonya, Ian Sommerville; John Wiley & Sons (September 16, 1998); ISBN: 0471972088. Other assigned materials will be made available on the GMU web site and other WWW locations.


10% - homework


5% - Statement of Work (SOW) Development


15% - Presentation


25% - Product Deliverables


20% - Midterm Exam


25% - Final Exam

The following table is used to convert the final numerical grade to a letter grade:  

Grade G 

 Letter Grade


A+ or A










[0, 50) 


IMPORTANT NOTEIt requires an exceptionally challenging performance to earn 92% or greater

There will be 4 homework assignments, a group project, a midterm exam, and a final exam. The midterm exam will be a take home exam, and the final exam will be both take-home and in class (open book). Students will be formed in groups. Each group will present an in-class presentation and submit project deliverables.

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 Requirements Group.

Beginning User Group Activities: As a user, the group will formulate a Statement of Work (SOW) that they will pass to their “requirements group”. Requirements groups will be assigned after the SOW is completed.

Beginning Requirement Group Activities: Each group will exchange their SOW with their assigned requirements group. The SOW that they receive from their requirements 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 requirements 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 requirements 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 requirements groups will again exchange documents: the SRS and Cost Model document. In the User Group role, each group will evaluate the products of their requirements 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 Requirements 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.


Week 1>

Aug. 30

        Handout syllabus, Honor Code, WebCT

        Groups: Form Groups, Work on SOW

Week 2>

Sept. 6

        Lecture: Requirements Engineering Processes [Chapters 1, 2]

        Groups: Work on SOW

Week 3>

Sept. 13

        Lecture: Requirements Elicitation, Analysis, Validation [Chapters 3,4]

        Groups: SOW (via WebCT) due to professor

Week 4>

Sept. 20

        Groups: presentation of SOW

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

Week 5>

Sept. 27

        Professor in Dahlgren

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

        Groups: Requirements elicitation & SRS writing

Week 6>

Oct. 4

        Groups: Requirements elicitation & SRS writing

Week 7>

Oct. 11

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

        Groups: Requirements elicitation & SRS writing

Week 8>

Oct 18

        Lecture: Chapter 8 Continued

        Groups: Preliminary SRS due to professor (via WebCT)

Week 9>

Oct 25

        Midterm Examination

Week 10>

Nov. 2

        Lecture: Cost Modeling

        Groups: Return preliminary SRS; SRS revision and cost models

Week 11>

Nov. 9

        Groups: SRS revision and cost models

        Take-home Final Exam Part 1 (covers Cost Modeling)

Week 12>

Nov. 16

        Cost Models

Week 13>

Nov. 30

        Final Part 1: Individual Cost Models due (hard copy only)

        Groups: Exchange SRS and cost models with Requirements Group; final presentation preparation and evaluation of requirements group SRS & cost models


Week 14>

Dec. 6

        Student group presentations of final SRS and cost model

Week 15>

Dec. 13

        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