Business Process and Requirements Analysis

[Class Schedule]

ITEC 455 Fall 2015


Tuesdays 5:30-8 PM

Classroom: KSB 39

Professor: J. Alberto Espinosa


Last updated 9/1/2015


IMPORTANT: Kogod has adopted a new laptop requirement policy. All students are required to have laptops with a Windows partition. For further information about the policy and what this course requires, read the Laptop Policy section below. Also, please review carefully the Business Ethiquete and Academic Integrity Policy sections. We take these seriously.


Fax: 202-885-1992
Office: KSB 33
Office Hours: See Blackboard
Requireed Textbooks:

Advanced Use Case Modeling, Frank Armour and Granville Miller, 2001, Addison Wesley, ISBN 0201615924 (related book site)

Blackboard Site:
Syllabus URL:
Class Schedule URL:
Reference Books: (Not required, but useful)

Modern Database Management (optional but highly recommended), Hoffer, Prescott and McFadden, latest edition (older editions are fine)

Requirements S. Robertson & J. Robertson, Mastering the Requirements Process (this is a good book, which describes a comprehensive requirements process. It also contains great appendices and the requirements template we use in this course is a modified version of the template recommended by these authors.
Use Cases A. Cockburn, Writing Effective Use Cases (a good use case book by one of the use case gurus)
G. Shneider & J. Winters, Applying Use Cases (same thing)
UML C. Larman, Applying UML and Patterns (a classic and most popular book on UML)
M Fowler & K. Scott, UML Distilled (an excellent condensed book on UML)
Unified Process P. Kruchten, The Rational Unified Process (a good RUP book by one of the UML gurus)
SW Engineering R. Pressman, Software Engineering: A Practitioners Approach (if you are interested in how what we do in this class relates to software engineering, this book is a classic)


Requirements | Objectives | Course Policies
| Exam | Homework | Term Project | Attendance



  1. Students need to be familiar with this syllabus and the related Class Schedule. This class has a few sessions and demos schedules in the FSIT Lab. Please check the class schedule regularly to make sure that you are aware of any changes in meeting venues or assignments. All assignments and class events will be posted in this Class Schedule.

  2. Similarly, students need to check all announcements posted on Blackboard before each class.

  3. Students are required to check their American University e-mail regularly for class announcements. Students who do not use their AU e-mail regularly need to either forward their AU e-mail to their personal e-mail accounts or change their e-mail address in Blackboard.

  4. Students are required, per University policy, to be familiar with AU's Academic Integrity Policy.  Please read carefully the policies and read the Academic Integrity Policy section below.  These policies will be strictly enforced in this course.

  5. Students read all assigned material prior to class, participate actively in class discussion, and take a proactive role to maximize their learning from this class and in helping others benefit from the course.

  6. A good portion of the class lectures will come from sources other than the textbooks.  Therefore, this class requires regular attendance and consistent week-to-week commitment on the part of the student.  The material in this course is sequential in nature, so missing a lecture will not only affect the student's learning on the missed lecture, but also on subsequent material covered.




The overall learning objective of this course is to provide business students with the basic skills to understand fundamental concepts about business process analysis to support systems development. More specifically, the course focuses on learning how to elicit, gather, analyze, organize, and communicate business process requirements for systems implementations. The course aims at providing student with the skills to: (1) understand basic system development processes and methods; (2) develop a vision of systems that provide value to business stakeholders; (3) gather and analyze user requirements for the work that the system will automate; (4) model those requirements using business process, use case, data modeling and visual simulation methodologies; and (5) prepare formal requirements specifications that can be used for system design. The goal is for students to develop hands-on skills to interact with clients to identify business process problems and formulate IT-enabled solutions to those problems. These the same skills can be used by "product developers" to analyze the functionality required for a new product, with the difference that the goal is not to solve a client problem, but to conceptualize a new IT-enabled product.


The course includes three key components: (1) reading assignments and lectures - to provide students with the basic fundamentals of systems analysis; (2) in-class/lab exercises, homework and exam - to illustrate the application of the concepts discussed in class; and (3) lab sessions and final project - to provide the student with hands-on experience of how to conduct and model business requirements for real applications using popular methods and tools.





 4 Homework (individual), 7.5% each


 Mid Term Exam (individual)


 Term Project (in teams)


 Class & Lab Exercises (in teams)

 Attendance and Participation (individual)






Homework:  The purpose of the individual homework assignments is to give students hands-on experience with business requirements analysis and modeling methods and tools.  Generally, students tend to help each other with homework assignments.  While helping peers and getting help from others is permitted and encouraged, students are only allowed to give or obtain tips on: (1) how to apply analysis and modeling methods; (2) how to use modeling software tools; and (3) with interpretation of homework instructions.  Students are NOT allowed to help or get help with the homework itself.  Any work that is copied from others, all or in part, will receive a grade of 0 in the assignment and face possible further consequences, as described in AU's Academic Integrity Policy. 

Assignments MUST be turned in at the beginning of class on the day they are due.  The penalty for submitting after this time is 10 points off for each day (weekday or weekend day) it is late.  All homework assignments will be turned in electronically by posting your work on your web sites. 



Mid-Term Exam:  will include all material covered in class, lab sessions and homework assignments. The mid-term exam will be like a comprehensive homework. Students will receive an application scenario one week before the exam and will be allowed to bring to the exam and turn in any diagram or requirements artifact prepare in advance by the students (not copies from other students' work). Exams will be open books and notes. Students will be allowed to use laptops only for browsing their materials on the screen (no typing or printing will be allowed during the exam), provided that all communication capabilities in the laptop are turned off during the exam. No photocopied materials from other students be allowed during the exam. Exams are individual and no cooperation of any sort is permitted during exams.

Makeup Policy: Makeup exams are discouraged. In general, makeup exams are not allowed, except with PRIOR approval from the instructor before the exam, and for a valid and documented reason.  Students who obtain approval to take a makeup exam must take it before graded exams are returned.  The option to take a makeup exam will expire once graded exams have been returned to students (generally within one week of the original exam).


Term Project: The objective of this project is to help students put in practice what they are learning in class by conducting a business requirements for a real application.  At the beginning of the course, your team will select a project from a list provided by your instructor. These projects will be based on real projects provided by consulting firms. Throughout the course, students will apply the methods described in class to produce a full requirements specification and database design for this system.  This project is not supposed to be carried out at the end of the semester, but it is supposed to be carried out as we move sequentially through the system development and requirements process steps as the course progresses.  As such, students will need to turn in deliverables on a timely basis, per the class schedule. Students will present their projects at the end of the semester to an audience of consultants.


Class/Lab Exercises: Throughout the semester the instructor will conduct class and lab exercises in preparation for homework and project work. Students will need to complete these exercises in class during the time alloted by the instructor. Class and lab exercises will be be graded as follows: not present, not submitted or unaccepatble work 0 pts; insufficient or deficient work 0.25 to 0.75 pts.; good work 1 pt. The lowest grade will be dropped and the remaining 8 grades will be added up and converted to 100 scale.


Attendance and Participation:  Attendance is important for this course because of the sequential nature of the material (i.e., the sequence of the class topics and lecture materials roughly follows widely used system analysis process steps). Your final attendance and participation grade will be based on % attendance and quality (more than quantity) participation during class or through discussion forums on Blackboard.  Important notes: (1) some students don't participate during class but stay actively engaged during the course -- proactive communication with the instructor about course content via e-mails or in person can makeup lack of participation during class; (2) points may be subtracted for negative participation (e.g., late arrivals, leaving the room during class, taking cell phone calls, disruptive conversations while class discussion or presentations are in progress, etc.).



Mathematical errors adding points and computing grades should be reported (and will be corrected) immediately.  For re-grades involving content, students can request the instructor to re-grade any assignment or exam.  However, the following rules will apply: (1) students can only request one re-grade per assignment or exam.  Therefore, students are encouraged to review all their work carefully before requesting a re-grade; (2) the grade after one re-grade is final; (3) the instructor reserves the right to re-grade the entire assignment or exam, not just the portions subject of the re-grade request.  If grading mistakes are found in other parts of the assignment, the student may gain or lose further points, depending on the mistake. [Top]


In addition to the policies and requirements already described above, this course has other important policites that describe the responsibilities and expectations about both, students and your professors. Please pay special attention to the following AU policies and facilities.

Kogod Laptop Policy

Kogod has implemented a Laptop Requirement Policy ( to ensure that all students use a consistent set of quantitative application software products.  Kogod now requires all students enrolled in Kogod courses to comply with its Laptop Policy, which specifically addresses two key areas:

1. Use of Compliant Laptops in the classroom  

2. Use of MS Office Professional in a Windows Operating System Environment for all

    Quantitative assignments


Professors will advise students at least one week prior to class when a compliant laptop device is required for a specific class session.  Students are expected to submit all quantitative assignments (Excel, Access) using the MS Windows Operating Systems version of MS Office products.  Visit the Laptop Policy website to determine if you laptop is compliant and how to be prepared for class.  Please note that the University Computer Labs feature devices that allow students to complete assignments outside of the classroom. As described in the policy, Mac users need to create a boot partition and install MS Windows, all the required MS Office software and all other necessary software for the class as directed by the instructor.

Specific Software Requirements for this Class:

  • Most of the analysis models will be prepared with MS Visio Professional 2013. This software is NOT in the required list, so we will be doing all the MS Visio modeling in the FSIT Lab. However, if you wish to work on your own laptops you can get a trial version, or buy the MS Visio Pro for Office 365 monthly license. MS Visio will not work on the MAC, but there are alternative products. You can use any modeling software you wish, provided that it can produce correct diagrams for: business process models, use case diagrams and data modeling (with Crow's Feet notation). Please consult with your instructor before you commit to any software. Some open source programs like Gliffy seem to work well, but it is your responsibility to evaluate the product.

  • We will use iRise Studio for ideation scenarios and visual modeling. You will need to install this software in your laptops and we will do all the iRise training in the classroom. The good news are that we have an academic partnership with iRise and students get a (very expensive) one-year license for free. Also, there are Windows and Mac versions for iRise Studio. Download and installation instructions will be provided on Blackboard.

Business Ethiquete

It is important to act in a professional manner when you enter the business world.  This can only help you excel at job interviews and in the work place.  To give you a head start, it is important to apply this important principle in this course, in class and in every Kogod class and activity: "Treat the class as a business meeting and every Kogod activity/event as a business activity/event -- anything acceptable in business is acceptable in this class and Kogod; anything unacceptable in business (e.g. using laptops and other communication devices for non-class actitvity, answering a phone call in class, unprofessional appearance, chatting during and disrupting class, arriving late or leaving early without prior instructor consent, leaving the classroom without explanation, etc.) is unacceptable in this class and Kogod."

These are a few guidelines for businesslike behavior and correct business ethiquete for this class, Kogod and your professional careers:

  • Refer to your supervisors in a polite, respectful manner.  In all communications with a professor, you should refer to him or her as “Professor Smith” or “Dr. Smith” not “Mr., Mrs., or Ms. Smith”.  In addition, when you email your supervisor or professor, you should begin the email with “Dear Professor Smith” not “hey” or without a greeting at all.

  • Give your supervisors, colleagues and peers your full respect.  When in class, that means giving your professor and your fellow students your full attention and respect.  For example, you should not text during class or even have your phone out.  It means avoiding side conversations with the person next to you when the professor or a fellow student is talking.  It means raising your hand to answer or ask questions and not interrupting a fellow student when he or she is speaking.

  •  Be on time to your job and meetings and prepared for them.  In class, this means coming to class on time and prepared for the day’s lesson.   In other words, be in your seat with your notes, pen, and Iclicker in front of you and ready to use at the start of the class period. 

  • Live up to your work responsibilities and meet your deadlines.  In class, this means that assignments are turned in on their due date, and exams are taken on their scheduled dates.  Personal plans do not trump a scheduled assignment.

  •  It is unprofessional and impolite to your boss and work colleagues to get up and leave in the middle of a meeting.  So, in class, do not get up and leave in the middle unless it is an absolute emergency.  It is not polite to the professor and your fellow students to come and go during class, and it can be disruptive to learning.

  • In business, your boss and your colleagues should feel respected when you are talking to them.  They should also be able to easily understand the point(s) you are trying to make.  So, when responding in class, speak politely and clearly state your answer or question. Respect your professor's and classmates' points of view. You can disagree, but respectfully.

  •  Written communication skills are vital to success in the business world.  Therefore, when writing a case memo or the final project, part of your grade on all assignments will be based on your writing.  Follow the guidelines provided in each assignment for formatting.  Use correct spelling and grammar.  Write in a clear, concise manner.  Do not use slang or contractions.  Use headings to highlight the topic covered.  Number your pages.  Refer to exhibits and tables when discussing them in the text of your paper.  Make your tables and exhibits easy to read.  Footnote important calculations. ALWAYS identify yourself and include a date in your documents and communication.


Academic Integrity Policy

Academic integrity is paramount in higher education and essential to effective teaching and learning.  As a professional school, the Kogod School of Business is committed to preparing our students and graduates to value the notion of integrity.  In fact, no issue at American University is more serious or addressed with greater severity than a breach of academic integrity.

Standards of academic conduct are governed by the University's Academic Integrity Code. By enrolling in the School and registering for this course, you acknowledge your familiarity with the Code and pledge to abide by it. All suspected violations of the Code will be immediately referred to the Office of the Dean. Disciplinary action, including failure for the course, suspension, or dismissal, may result.

Additional information about the Code (i.e. acceptable forms of collaboration, defintions of plagiarism, use of sources including the Internet, and the adjudication process) can be found in a number of places including the University's Academic Regulations, Student Handbook. If you have any questions about academic integrity issues or about standards of conduct in this course, please discuss them with your instructor. Violations of the code include, but are not limited to: cheating in exams or assignments, copying parts of another student's homework, re-using papers presented in other courses, using any material prepared by others and submitting it as the student's own work, and using verbatim text materials from sources without quotes and appropriate citation references. All homework assignments are INDIVIDUAL.

Academic Support Services

If you experience difficulty in this course for any reason, please don’t hesitate to consult with me. In addition to the resources of the department, a wide range of services is available to support you in your efforts to meet the course requirements.

Students with Disabilities

If you wish to receive accommodations for a disability, please notify me with a letter from the Academic Support and Access Center. As accommodations are not retroactive, timely notification at the beginning of the semester, if possible, is strongly recommended. To register with a disability or for questions about disability accommodations, contact the Academic Support and Access Center at 202-885-3360 or

Academic Support

In addition to meeting with me and using the resources available in this department, all students may take advantage of the Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) for individual academic counseling, skills workshops, tutor referrals, Supplemental Instruction, and Writing Lab appointments. The ASAC is located in Mary Graydon Center 243.  Additional resources that may be beneficial in this class include the Bender Library, the Writing Center in the Department of Literature, the Math Lab in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, and Office of Information Technology.

Kogod Center for Business Communications (x1920, KSB 101)

To improve your writing, public speaking, and team assignments for this class, contact the Kogod Center for Business Communications. You can get advice for any written or oral assignment or for any type of business communication, including memos, reports, individual and team presentations, and PowerPoint slides. Hours are flexible and include evenings. Go to and click on "make an appointment," visit KSB 101, or email You may also call x1920.

Financial Services and Information Technology Lab (FSIT Lab) (x1904, KSB T51)

To excel in your course work and to maximize your business information literacy in preparation for your chosen career paths, we strongly recommend to take advantage of all software applications, databases and workshops in the FSIT Lab.  The FSIT Lab promotes action-based learning through the use of real time market data and analytical tools used by business professionals in the market place.  These include Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, Argus Commercial Real Estate, Compustat, CRSP, @Risk etc.  For more information, please check out the website at or send us an email to 

Emergency Preparedness for Disruption of Classes

In the event of an emergency, American University will implement a plan for meeting the needs of all members of the university community.  Should the university be required to close for a period of time, we are committed to ensuring that all aspects of our educational programs will be delivered to our students.  These may include altering and extending the duration of the traditional term schedule to complete essential instruction in the traditional format and/or use of distance instructional methods.  Specific strategies will vary from class to class, depending on the format of the course and the timing of the emergency.  Faculty will communicate class-specific information to students via AU e-mail and Blackboard, while students must inform their faculty immediately of any absence.  Students are responsible for checking their AU e-mail regularly and keeping themselves informed of emergencies.   In the event of an emergency, students should refer to the AU Student Portal, the AU Web site ( and the AU information line at (202) 885-1100 for general university-wide information, as well as contact their faculty and/or respective dean’s office for course and school/ college-specific information.


In closing, your instructor is committed to help you acquire marketable business requirements analysis skills. But success can only happen with your commitment and diligent participation in the course. 

Your instructor looks forward to having you as a student and helping you achieve your career goals!!