This paper describes, in outline, our experiences in structuring and presenting formal requirements specifications, and in particular the insights gained from an action research study undertaken within the Western Australian state government. The overall aim of the project was to evaluate and enhance an information systems development method, known as FOOM (Formal Object Oriented Method). FOOM was synthesised from research into:
the object oriented approach
mathematically formal specific ation languages
socio-organisational contextual analysis.
The paper focuses on a study of the communication between the specifier and the client—principally on the problems associated with specification validation—and the effect this had on the structure of a FOOM requirements specification document. The result of the study described was a specification structure which allows precise communication both between developers/designers and the less mathematically sophisticated users of the system. While the focus of the research was validation of specifications written in the formal specification language Object-Z , we argue that the results of our analysis are of importance in the elicitation, refinement and validation of requirements specifications whenever a formal modelling approach is to be adopted.