There are two major certifications today aimed for requirements management professionals: REQB and IREB.
In this article, I will discuss some of the differences between the REQB and IREB certification, as well as what Delphi and oracles have to do with them.
In Sweden, REQB is considerably more popular, however both REQB and IREB certifications cover about the same material in approximately the same amount of detail.
Comparing and contrasting: REQB vs IREB
One important difference between the certifications are the examination layout and how points are calculated.
Questions in an REQB exam always have one correct answer. Some IREB questions, on the other hand, have answer options that are more precise than the others, and all must be selected in order to get full marks on the question. So if you are presented with a question having 5 possible answers, of which two are correct, then you have to choose both of them otherwise you won’t get the marks.
I think the IREB model puts an unnecessary focus on following the rules of the exam rather than on the content being examined. This could put more pressure on the participants, who are usually already very stressed prior to sitting for the certification exam.
One area that is covered in both certifications is modelling. The IREB requires that you basically master the UML (Unified Modelling Language). In REQB it is enough that you are familiar with the basic concepts of modelling, regardless of the language used.
REQB does not require you to know the difference between a “fork” or “join”, and you can draw it according to the UML, but it requires you to be familiar with a number of different UML diagrams and their purpose.
… And what have Delphi and oracles have to do with all this?
Delphi is a method used for time estimation, it is used when prioritizing requirements. It is based on more people to reach consensus after several rounds of time estimation. The method is well established internationally and is based on the same principles as Planning Poker. Both methods are taught during the REQB course.
An oracle is a source that predicts an expected result. A specification can be regarded as a test oracle because the tester can determine the expected results and conclusions about the requirement is fulfilled or if there are discrepancies.
And where do you find the oracles? In ancient times they were found in… Delphi. After all, isn’t time estimation a little like predicting the future?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have techniques that we can rely on today to predict the future performance of our IT investments, just like human relied on oracles in Delphi over two thousand years ago?
A certification in requirements management is like going to a journey through the oracles of ancient times, and more.
If you work in requirements management, or are responsible for organisations or projects where requirements engineering work is done, you need to have an understanding of the value of certifications.
Getting certified is certainly a challenge, but it’s one that will provide you with more insights, confirm existing knowledge and put you at the forefront of a rapidly developing profession.
The next step
Talking about planning poker, feel free to check this post I wrote about how using planning poker in your team can help you estimate how long a task will take you to complete.