SDLC IV : Requirements Gathering

This is part 4 of a 13 part series.

This post intends to address the statistical anomaly of gauging an individual based on the time spent in exam halls instead of the knowledge one possesses. With the increasing volume of applicants, the first frontier often is an electronic sieve server that will reduce the applicants based on academic merit or grades.

In software terminology, the process of requirement gathering is intended to form an outline of a task to be undertaken. The goal is to formally map all intended features as a list that will become a blueprint for the more specific task allocation in the future of that product. Over the years the process has been followed and ended up as a list of specific questions used to define everything under the sun. Unfortunately, the process was designed to do the exact opposite and highlight subtle differences in ideas.

A similar process abuse is seen in the entire academic filtering machinery all over the world. The concept of tagging human beings with a single number is flawed at possibly all logical levels one could think of. Following is a small calculation to demonstrate the pitfall of such metrics.

Class I – X (10 years)  In Hours
# of Subjects 6
3 unit tests per year 9    ( 6 subjects x 0.5 hours x 3 times a year )
2 Full exams per year 36  ( 6 subjects x 0.5 hours x 3 times a year )
Misc 5
Hours spent in evaluation per year 50 ( 9 + 36 + 5)
Overall 500 (50 Hours per year x 10 years)
High School
Practice + Regular 200 (50 x 2 + 100 )
Bachelors (4 years)
Practical Exams 18 (3 exams x 3 hours x 2 semesters per year)
Theory Exams 36 (6 exams x 3 hours x 2 semesters per year)
Misc 6
Total 60 per year
Overall 240 ( 4 years x 60 hours per year )
Post Graduation/ Certifications 200
Grand Total 1140 ( 500 + 200 + 240 + 200 )
Exam Time (Higher Limit) Approximation
1500 hours
Education Time 
27000  Hours
( 18 yrs x 250 Days x 6 hours a day)
Lifetime ( 5 yrs age + 18 yrs education)
134320 Hours (leaving avg 8 hour sleep)
(23 years x 365 Days x 16 Hours a day)
Exams as % of Education Time
5.55 %
Exams as % of Life of 23 years old 1.11 %

The calculations are self-explanatory. The very fact that the professional world recognizes a 23-year-old student with Post Graduate Degree just by 1.1 % of their lifetime sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? It would not be too impractical to assume that for a healthy person in a developed nation, an individual has to spend a third of his life just to be eligible to get past a server.

Is the system is broken?  Yes and there is no point trying to defend it. The more valid question would be; how to fix it.

The educational benchmarks have infiltrated the decaying social system. Blindly they are being used to compare people and impose a stigma on the one falling short. But aren’t all the measurements with a broken scale invalid? The process needs to be revived and restored to its original purpose. These benchmarks were meant to classify the potential and give the candidates an option to opt-out before the race consumed them. Some intermediate markers are needed to rescue the students stuck in the system. They can do better in a system that suits their thought process.  The rankings need to be accepted as mere guidelines about progress and nothing more. The requirements need to be understood correctly, education is meant for enlightenment, not entrapment.

Click here to read part v : Design and Functional Specifications.

SDLC Series iterator : I : Preface , II : Introduction , III: Normal Perspective , IV: Requirements Gathering , V: Functional Specifications , VI : Development , VII : Testing , VIII : Alpha Release , IX : Beta Release , X : UAT , XI : Migration , XII : Release Notes , XIII : EOF , Book Shelf: Bibliography

Human by default, Engineer by Education and Programmer by Choice. This blog is digital diary for all the technical information parsed while solving problems at work. Targeted purely as a collection of the basics that are independent of employment status and designations, but some how are most crucial in defining career and inspiring growth. If anything unique is found here then it is definitely by accident !!


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