Suzanne Robertson

Suzanne RobertsonAuthor of ‘Working with the project manager’.


Suzanne Robertson

Principal of the Atlantic Systems Guild

Suzanne Robertson is a systems engineer who specialises in the field of requirements. Suzanne is co-author of Requirements-Led Project Management (Addison Wesley 2005) a book that provides project managers with guidance on how to use the work done by requirements analysts as input to steering projects. The book defines the relationships between effective requirements practices and project success. This management book connects to Mastering the Requirements Process (Addison-Wesley Edition 3, 2012) a guide for practitioners on finding requirements and writing them so that all stakeholders can understand them.


She has more than 30 years experience in systems specification and building. Her courses on requirements, systems analysis, design and problem solving are well known for their innovative workshops. She has varied experience as a manager, programmer, analyst, and designer. She has consulted, done research and taught in Europe, Australia, the Far East and the United States.


In her work on business analysis, Suzanne uses a mixture of teaching, mentoring and hands on work to help organisations to tailor their requirements deliverables and processes to suit their own particular projects. She also runs requirements audits and facilitates requirements quality reviews.


Her experience with different projects in both the private and public sector has built skills in a wide variety of systems modelling notations, development paradigms and automated tools. She has experience in using many systems engineering notations for building data models, process models and state models, including the UML and other industry standards. She has used object-oriented development, model based development, agile development and many other paradigms.  She has worked with a variety of Case and Requirements automated tools.


Current work includes research and consulting on managing the project sociology, the specification and reuse of requirements and techniques for auditing requirements specifications. The product of this research is Volere, a complete requirements process and template for assessing requirements quality, and for specifying business requirements. Volere has been adopted by organisations all over the world as their standard for gathering, discovering, communicating, tracing and specifying requirements.


Suzanne’s collaboration with Neil Maiden of City University London, explores how creativity can be used by requirements engineers to discover and invent requirements. Suzanne and Neil designed and ran a series of creativity workshops for Eurocontrol in Paris. Eurocontrol are making major investments in a program of new applications and they want to ensure that they build systems that are robust enough to cope with change in the industry. The project-based workshops helped air traffic controllers, pilots and systems developers to use creative principles to discover the requirements for the air traffic control systems of the future. The use of experts from fields as diverse as modern music, visualisation and cookery was a major breakthrough in inspiring creative ideas.


In 1983, in partnership with Tom De Marco, Tim Lister, Steve McMenamin, John Palmer and James Robertson, Suzanne founded the Atlantic Systems Guild

The guild is a New York, London, and (with the addition of Peter Hruschka) Aachen, based think-tank that researches system development techniques. The aim of the Guild is to make good systems engineering ideas more accessible. Guild principals have written numerous books and seminars that are among the most successful in software development history. Pooling their experience with many diverse projects the guild members have published Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behaviour (Dorset House, 2008). This book won the 2009 Jolt award for the best general computing book.


Suzanne and her husband James Robertson are co-authors of Complete Systems Analysis: the Workbook, the Textbook, the Answers (Dorset House, 2013, 1994), a text and case study that teaches the craft of systems analysis and provides a guide on how to build process, data and state models.


Apart from her books, Suzanne is author of many papers on systems engineering (many of these papers are on the web sites and ).  She also speaks at numerous conferences and universities. She is a member of IEEE and on the board of the British Computer Society’s Requirements Groups. She was the first editor of the Requirements Column in IEEE Software. She is a reviewer of the International Institute of Business Analysts’ (IIBA) body of knowledge (BOK) and is on the board of the International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB).


The Atlantic Systems Guild is an IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) Endorsed Education Provider.


The Atlantic Systems Guild is an IREB (International Requirements Examination Board) Endorsed Education Provider.


Suzanne studied Computer Science and Information Processing at the New South Wales University of Technology.


Other interests include a passion for the opera, cooking, skiing and finding out about curious things.


Recent Projects include:


2013. Consulting with the BAE to integrate good requirements practices and define the role of Business Analysts.



2013. Consulting with Crédit Suisse to develop techniques and practices for a career path for Business Analysts.


2012. Consulting with Genworth Financial to develop good requirements practices


2010. Consulting with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea to extend improvements in their requirements practices.


2010 Consulting with Astrium to improve requirements for systems and software.


2010. Consulting with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea to extend improvements in their requirements practices. Consulting with Astrium to improve requirements for systems and software.


2009.  Consulting with Civil Aviation Authority  to recommend requirements practices appropriate for use with their delivery model that includes outsourcing.


2008.  Consulting with Gambro  to integrate good requirements practices in the manufacture of kidney dialysis machines.


2007. Consulting with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea to review their requirements specifications and project sociology and to help them tailor their requirements process to a variety of different types of projects.


2007. Consulting with the KLM to review a number of their requirements specifications and to integrate Volere requirements techniques with their requirements practices.


2006. Consulting with the B Sky B to audit their requirements specifications and to  improve their requirements practices.


2006. Consulting with the UK Audit Commission to help them improve their requirements gathering skills and documents.


2005. Doing planning and checkpoint consulting for Ordnance Survey in helping them to define and implement their requirements knowledge model. Part of this project is to integrate their requirements engineering practices with the rational unified process. Another part is to tailor their development process to create traceable feedback loops with the organisation to which they are outsourcing some of their development.


2005. Project audits for ETAS to integrate their requirements and project management practices between a team partly located in the United States and partly in Germany. This project involves regular reviews of the project deliverables.


2004. Training Police Information Technology in how to define their requirements process and integrate it with the rational unified process.


2003. Working with Jaguar electrical systems to develop their requirements process and knowledge model and integrate it with their Caliber requirements tool. This work involved consulting with senior managers on how the results of improved requirements practices provide input to management decisions and high-level programme steering.


2003. Project audits for ETAS to review their requirements specifications for a new product. Included setting up a requirements traceability model and advising on how to use their Doors requirements tool to trace their requirements throughout the product lifecycle.


Chronological Summary


Worked as a “Computer” for the Weapons Research Establishment in South Australia. Built simulation models of rocket trials using a variety of programming languages.



Information Officer for Petroleum Information Bureau in New South Wales. Set up and administered database of information about the oil industry and petroleum products.



Managed Datastaff employment agency for people working in the information processing industry.



Worked as systems analyst/programmer for Commercial Data Processing bureau.



Studied Computer Science and Information Processing part-time at the New South Wales University of Technology



Worked as systems analyst and account manager for Computer Accounting Services, then the largest commercial service bureau in Australia.



Project manager for customer billing system for the Northumbria Water Authority.



Chief analyst for airtime booking system for ATV Television in London.



Managed instructors for the Yourdon training organisation in New York.



Formation of the Atlantic Systems Guild.


1983 until current

Principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild. Varied training, consultancy and research work as detailed in the first part of this curriculum vitae



Recent Publications

Requirements for Managing Requirements. Management Report for Cutter Consortium, 2007.


Understanding Project Sociology by Modelling Stakeholders. Co-author Ian Alexander. IEEE Software January 2004.


Reusing Requirements: Taking Advantage of What you Know.  Cutter Consortium, 2002.


Requirements: What Project Managers Need to Know to Leverage Requirements.  Cutter Consortium, 2001.


Requirements Trawling: techniques for discovering requirements.   HUSAT, 2001


Are we Afraid of the Dark? IEEE Software, July 2001.


Editor of the Requirements Column in IEEE Software from May 2001 to present.


Mastering the Requirements Process.  Co-author James Robertson. Addison-Wesley, 1999.


Complete Systems Analysis – the Workbook, the Textbook, the Answers. Co-author James Robertson. Dorset House, New York, 1997.


Reusing the Products of Analysis. co-author Kenneth Strunch. 2nd International workshop on software reuse, Lucca, 1994


URLs for reference –


For a variety of articles about requirements

To download the Volere template

Suzanne Robertson is a principal and founder of the Atlantic Systems Guild and co-author of Mastering the Requirements Process.