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System bounding issues for analysis

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Proceedings of the International Conference on Requirements Engineering

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Defining system boundaries is an important part of analysis. Bounding is a separate process from partitioning or decomposing the problem. System boundaries show what is inside and outside the system whereas partitions manage the complexity of the problem. This paper discusses the tradeoffs between early and late bounding and concludes that the bounding process should be done late or at least repeated late in analysis. Specification of system boundaries improves when as much as possible is known about the problem. Analysis techniques should contain a representation and process to support system bounding. We demonstrate system bounding by comparing analyses done with Structured Analysis (SA) and Object-Oriented Analysis (OOA). SA techniques bound the system at the start of analysis. OOA techniques bound the system either late in analysis or not at all. We present and demonstrate a boundary identification process for late bounding.

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