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iSAQB Blog REQ4ARC interview with curator Gernot Starke

Why Should I attend the CPSA® Advanced Training REQ4ARC (Requirements for Software Architects)?

An Interview With Curator Gernot Starke

The CPSA Advanced Level module REQ4ARC, one of 17 Advanced Level training options, concen­trates on requirements for software archi­tects. But what exactly is in it for participants?

The iSAQB member and curator of REQ4ARC, Gernot Starke, took the time to give a short interview about this module with some highly relevant questions concerning content, target group, profes­sional practice, and also relations to other certifications.


Which problem does the module REQ4ARC solve?

If you want to bake a straw­berry cake, you obviously need straw­berries as a basic ingre­dient. With rotten straw­berries, your cake will be a failure, just as if you used apples instead of straw­berries. And without straw­berries, it won’t work at all.

The case is similar with “requirements” for software devel­opment. With bad requirements, even the best devel­opment team cannot produce great software:

Even the best source code cannot compensate for bad, missing, contra­dicting, or overly vague requirements.

The REQ4ARC module condenses estab­lished approaches from requirements engineering into a pragmatic collection of practices and methods, immedi­ately applicable into both new and ongoing IT devel­opment projects.

It enables partic­i­pants to better support their product owners or similar requirements engineering roles.


Is this the right module for me? Which audience does REQ4ARC address?

Everybody who needs requirements for their profes­sional roles within IT projects, in short:
Every member of devel­opment teams who is concerned with creating a successful IT system – devel­opers, archi­tects, testers, technical and product management.

This module is strictly tool- and vendor agnostic, therefore its content is applicable to all kinds of IT projects and systems.


How is the REQ4ARC training course relevant for my profes­sional practice as a software architect?

REQ4ARC will definitely help in all of your devel­opment and engineering practice with two aspects:

  • Analyze and evaluate given requirements: Whenever any stake­holder (e.g., product owner) delivers requirements (e.g., user stories, feature requests, or arbitrary entries on your Kanban board), you can determine if these requirements are good enough to support devel­opment, or if they need to be reworked.
  • Support in elici­tating and formu­lating requirements: You learn how to formulate and organize different kinds of requirements, starting from high-level goals down to (executable) details specifications.


Which skills do I acquire in this module, what exactly do I learn in this training course?

It all begins with the clean start, stake­holders, scoping, and the overall goals of a system: Missing stake­holders will lead to missing requirements, and therefore, REQ4ARC starts with consid­ering stake­holders as the prime source of requirements.

Next, you will learn about functional requirements. In the beginning, an overview of high-level processes is more important than any detail. You will learn how to concen­trate on that overview and drill down just in time – and thus to avoid too many details too early.

Another core aspect concerns quality requirements, like perfor­mance, scala­bility, flexi­bility, and security: These ilities have major impact on architectural and technical decisions and are therefore crucial for every devel­opment team. You learn how to method­i­cally specify quality requirements and how to relate those to the systems’ functions.

Beside these core topics, REQ4ARC covers aspects like tooling (for managing, documenting, or modeling of requirements), behavior-driven devel­opment, and requirements planning.

The module REQ4ARC contains a lot of practical exercises: Most (if not all) of the topics covered within a course are supported by practice sessions where partic­i­pants will dive deeply into the specific kinds of requirements in small groups.


How is REQ4ARC related to other certi­fi­ca­tions, such as IREB?

The iSAQB team which created the module REQ4ARC closely cooperated with the Inter­na­tional Requirements Engineering Board (IREB) to avoid repetition and redun­dancy. REQ4ARC does by no means replace any IREB education or certification, but it summa­rizes the parts that are crucial for devel­opment roles like archi­tects or developers.

(Fun fact: The president of the IREB even wrote the foreword to the REQ4ARC curriculum.)


You would like to learn more about the CPSA Advanced Level module REQ4ARC? Please visit the REQ4ARC module web page. 

You would rather find and book a suitable REQ4ARC training course right away? Then check out our training calendar.

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About the Author

Dr. Gernot Starke
Gernot Starke, INNOQ Fellow, is a computer scientist through and through. He finds programming cool and loves the challenges of modern software systems. Gernot is a co-founder of iSAQB and has headed the “Foundation Level” working group for almost 10 years. He is also the co-founder of the two open-source architecture methodology projects arc42 and aim42. In his everyday working life, Gernot advises companies from various sectors on systematic software architecture. He regularly holds training courses on architecture and related topics. The first edition of his book, “Effektive Softwarearchitekturen,” was published in 2001 and has since been continually updated – the latest (9th) edition was published in 2020. Together with Alexander Lorz, he created the (English) “Software Architecture Foundation - CPSA-F Exam Study Guide,” published by VanHaaren International – the only book that explains all 40 CPSA-F learning goals individually.

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