ITEC 455 Spring 2014

Business Process and Requirements Analysis

[Class Schedule] 


Tuesdays 11:45 - 2:25 pm

Classroom: KSB 39


Professor: J. Alberto Espinosa


Last updated 1/14/2014





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 (earlier editions are perfectly fine too).

Requirements S. Robertson & J. Robertson, Mastering the Requirements Process
Use Cases A. Cockburn, Writing Effective Use Cases
G. Shneider & J. Winters, Applying Use Cases
UML C. Larman, Applying UML and Patterns
M Fowler & K. Scott, UML Distilled
Unified Process P. Kruchten, The Rational Unified Process
SW Engineering R. Pressman, Software Engineering: A Practitioners Approach


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 (or Anderson) 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 objective of this course is to provide business students with the basic skills to understand fundamental concepts about system development. More specifically, the course focuses on learning how to elicit, gather, analyze, organize, and communicate business requirements for system 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 the use case and object methodologies; and (5) prepare formal requirements specifications that can be used for system design.


The course includes three key components: (1) reading assignments and lectures - to provide students with the basic fundamentals of systems analysis; (2) in-class exercises and homework - 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 (mostly 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: (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. Exams will be closed books, but students will be allowed to bring any handwritten notes and pre-drawn models and diagrams. No photocopied or printed materials will 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. 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 9 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.

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, definitions 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, and website at If you have any questions about academic integrity or 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.

Academic Support Center (x3360, MGC 243) offers study skills workshops, individual instruction, tutor referrals, and services for students with learning disabilities. Writing support is available in the ASC Writing Lab or in the Writing Center, Battelle 228.

Counseling Center (x3500, MGC 214) offers counseling and consultations regarding personal concerns, self-help information, and connections to off-campus mental health resources.

Disability Support Services (x3315, MGC 206) offers technical and practical support and assistance with accommodations for students with physical, medical, or psychological disabilities.

If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please notify me in a timely manner with a letter from the Academic Support Center or Disability Support Services so that we can make arrangements to address your needs.

Pandemic Planning

In the event of a declared pandemic (influenza or other communicable disease), 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 due to illness. Students are responsible for checking their AU e-mail regularly and keeping themselves informed of emergencies. In the event of a declared pandemic or other emergency, students should refer to the AU Web site (www. prepared. 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.

Kogod Center for Business Communications

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



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. 

I look forward to having you as a student and helping you achieve your career goals!!