When Analysts turn into Boxers: An Introduction to Pre-Sales Requirements Engineering

Christoph Oemig


The major goal of a pre-sales phase is to provide customers with a compelling offer that exactly fits their needs. For its creation not only sales but also requirements engineering activities take place. The latter are needed to translate the customers’ needs to features, to efforts, and eventually to costs. Although this sounds like business as usual, compared to conventional requirements engineering, there are substantial differences: the pre-sales phase entails challenges (e.g., a limited duration, a steadily moving target or the supplier’s pre-investment) having a tremendous impact on all of these activities. With their conventional approach requirements engineering professionals are doomed to fail. However, an appropriate requirements engineering approach for the pre-sales phase remains to be defined. To address this issue the principal idea is to investigate typical customer engagement types and to conduct a risk analysis revealing the details of the pre-sales phase’s challenges. The results deliver the basis informing the design of a new and capable approach. This article contributes the resulting concept and tools for successful pre-sales requirements engineering. They provide the risk responses and exit criteria to the pre-sales phase’s challenges. The proposed approach even turns analysts into “boxers” when tackling one of the most difficult pre-sales problems: the moving target.


Pre-sales requirements engineering, box fighting, Miller Heiman sales approach.

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DOI: 10.7250/csimq.2015-3.01


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doi: 10.1016/j.procs.2017.01.077


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