Requirements reuse is both an interesting and frustrating subject and one which comes up periodically on discussion fora. There is a wealth of discussion about it, but no general consensus on what it actually is.
Re-use as a concept is a familiar one within the software development world and has been around for a while. However in the requirements engineering field it isn’t common, either at the knowledge or the artefact level even although local pockets of reuse seem to exist. There is an increased management expectation of requirements re-use in parallel with the introduction of Requirements Management Tools. The perceived benefits are significant savings in terms of reduced analysis time, improved quality and elimination of redundant development effort, all leading to a reduction in the overall delivery time of a project.
But what is Requirements reuse anyway? There doesn’t seem to be a single agreed definition of what it actually is. The best definition I’ve found so far defines reuse as “the ability to use an item again after it has been used already”. This includes conventional reuse where the item is used again for the same function and new-life reuse where it is used again for a different function.