Self-organisation (self-optimisation, self-configuration, and self-healing) methods are a promising concept to automate wireless access network planning, deployment and optimisation. This paper contains a mind setting exercise. First the mechanisms for which self-organisation is anticipated to be effective and feasible are identified. Then technical and non-technical requirements that need to be taken into account for the successful development of self-organisation functionalities are discussed. Furthermore, a set of metrics and appropriate reference cases (benchmarks) are presented, which allow to do on one hand a quantitative comparison of the different algorithms developed for a given use case, and on the other hand to evaluate the gains from self-organisation by comparing self-organisation solutions with the case of manual network operations. © 2008 Springer Berlin Heidelberg.