Interview with Stefan Sturm, IREB

We at microTOOL are convinced that Requirements Engineering is setting the course for successful projects. Thus, we are happy to cooperate with the IREB e.V. and the IREB GmbH as Silver Partner, and pleased to be able to provide certified trainings.

The following is a conversation between Stefan Sturm, Managing Director at IREB, and Tanja Weiß of microTOOL.

Tanja Weiß:  Mr. Sturm, you are managing director at IREB GmbH, founded in 2011, which supports operations of the International Requirements Engineering Board e.V. In 2006 the IREB e.V. set out to establish professional requirements engineering standards through trainings and further education. By now, more than 20.000 people in 57 countries are certified. Why is it worthwhile to invest in qualification in this area?

Stefan Sturm: Well-grounded, documented and synchronized requirements are the key to project success. With its CPRE certification, the IREB has been setting standards in the realm of Requirements Engineering. Companies investing in certification of their employees improve their business processes and at the same time the quality of their products. They distinguish themselves from competitors, e.g. with the official IREB seal.

Tanja Weiß: What are the advantages of IREB certifications such as the CPRE in contrast to others like the Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA) of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), or the BCS Requirements Engineering Certificate of the English Business Analyst Solutions?

Stefan Sturm: There are a number of differences between the mentioned certificates. The CPRE focuses on Requirements Engineering and its application in real life situations. While the IIBA describes the entire business analysis on from the point of view of processes, the CPRE delivers hands-on knowledge. Actually, these two complement each other rather well. It is not about which one is better; they are aimed at different groups of people.

CPRE aims at advanced beginners while the IIBA certificates are aimed at experts. The BCS certificate is part of an entire family of diplomas; the requirements engineering module included largely corresponds to the CPRE Foundation Level. This is exacty why the IREB and  the BCS have made an agreement on the mutual acceptance of the certificates. The main difference between the two is their distribution; BCS are mostly common in Great Britain and Australia while the CPRE can be found globally.  

Stefan Sturm of IREB e.V.

Tanja Weiß: You have been active as a software and systems developer as well as a business analyst, requirements engineer, software architect and project manager for 25 years. What are the challenges for requirements engineering in the next ten years, especially in the light of the increasing pace of development for apps and embedded systems?

Stefan Sturm: Keeping track of requirements engineering will be of major importance, considering increasingly short development cycles. There are tendencies to neglect requirements engineering or to give reaponsibility for it to people lacking the necessary skills. The results include delays, higher costs and inferior quality of products. The IREB’s aim is to provide solutions for all this.

Tanja Weiß: Agile development is hip. Organizations of all sizes try to follow this trend. What support can IREB e.V. offer in this area? Looking at some online discussions the IREB is usually ascribed less competence in the area of agile development than, for example, the IIBA. Do you think that the IREB has catching up to do?

Stefan Sturm: This is a very controversial topic. Regarding your prior question – my answer is best understood in the light of misinterpreted agility. I want to point out that the CPRE is not based on a specific business process or approach. The methods and techniques included in the CPRE can be applied to any type of process! We do recognize, though, that there is increasing demand to utilize it in agile environments. This is why the IREB has formed a workgroup dedicated to addressing this demand. It is yet to be determined whether this will result in an addendum to the Foundation Level or Advanced Level module, or in a certificate of its own.    

Tanja Weiß: Finally, I would like to ask you to complete the following sentences as spontaneously as possible:

Compared to taking a driving test the CPRE Foundation Level test is…much more difficult. 

To me personally the acronym IREB stands for… an organization made up of experts that do a lot, unpaid – a real non-profit organization! I am continuously amazed by that.

Of the many countries in which CPRE certificates are available… I would like to travel to the USA, especially the Yosemite National Park must be exciting for me as a climber!

Tanja Weiß: Thank you for the conversation.

Stefan Sturm: You are welcome.


You might also be interested in this:

IREB Test: Can you answer these German questions from the CPRE syllabus?

Tanja Sadrinna is in charge of all microTOOL news, product information and events, on- and offline. She studied dramatics, English and German. After working as an event manager, she earned a degree in Public Relations moved on to IT. She is a PSM and PPO by

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