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U.S. laws and regulations are designed to support broad societal goals, such as accessibility, privacy and safety. To demonstrate that a product complies with these goals, businesses need to identify and refine legal requirements into product requirements and integrate the product requirements into their ongoing product design and testing processes. We report on an industry case study in which product requirements were specified to comply with Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. This study sought to identify: limitations in existing requirements-acquisition methods; compliance gaps between previously specified product requirements and Section 508; and additional sources of knowledge that are necessary to refine legal requirements into product requirements to comply with the law. Our study reveals the need for a community of practice and generalizable techniques that can reduce ambiguity, complexity and redundancy in legal and product requirements and manage innovation in product requirements. We present these findings with several examples from Section 508 regulations and actual product requirements that are implemented in Cisco products.
Date of Conference: 8-12 Sept. 2008