EARS – The Easy Approach to Requirements Syntax: The Definitive Guide

Executive Summary

Most requirements specifications are written in natural language to accommodate users who may not be accustomed to more rigorous notations. But when requirements are written in unconstrained natural language, they are often vague, ambiguous, verbose, and confusing. This can lead to errors that propagate through the system development cycle, resulting in unexpected interpretations, erroneous implementations, costly scrap and rework, and – in the worst cases – disaster.

EARS – the Easy Approach to Requirements Syntax – helps engineers and business analysts write natural language requirements that are clear, concise, unambiguous, and testable. EARS “gently constrains” natural language in ways that are familiar and comfortable to everyone. Plus, it requires no tools and only a small amount of training, so barriers to adoption are minimal.

EARS uses a few keywords in ways that are quite familiar. We’re already used to using these keywords in the exact same ways in normal speech, as well as in pseudocode and other forms of logical expression. Most people find the EARS syntax constructions intuitively obvious.

In this guide, we break down EARS and how to add this methodology into your workflows.

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