E-Letter‎ > ‎

STCSN E-Letter Vol.2 No.3

Large-Scale Social Requirements Engineering

Welcome to the STCSN E-Letter Vol.2 No.3!

  • Editorial
    (by Dominik Renzel and 
    Ralf Klamma)
  • Requirements Bazaar: Open-Source Large Scale Social Requirements Engineering in the Long Tail
    (by Dominik Renzel and Ralf Klamma, RWTH Aachen University, Germany)
    Abstract: The current paradigm of global service orientation poses great challenges to traditional requirements engineering. Traditional techniques do not scale sufficiently and are widely unaware of community contexts. Consequently, the innovation potential of specialized niche communities often remains untapped by service providers. In Large Scale Social Requirements Engineering (LASSRE), communities should be enabled to express their requirements and trace their realization, while service providers should be supported in discovering relevant innovative requirements to maximize their impact. LASSRE should thereby support an ongoing negotiation process from the spark of an idea to its full realization in a new product or feature between end-users and providers. LASSRE employs social software concepts (e.g. commenting, voting, communication, sharing artifacts) widely known from social networking platforms for community-centered collaboration in RE in a portal for end-user communities. At the same time, LASSRE must integrate this social software portal with a DevOps environment supporting a well-defined software development process. Based on earlier conceptual groundwork, we present Requirements Bazaar, a Web platform for LASSRE, integrated into a state-of-the-Art Open Source DevOps environment. We furthermore report evaluation results and experiences from more than one year of productive operation, mainly in ICT research project contexts.
  • Design Review of Requirements Bazaar from a Pragmatism Perspective
    (by Jukka Purma and Merja Bauters, Aalto University, Finland)
    Requirements Bazaar (http://requirements-bazaar.org) is a service to elicit software requirements from a variety of stakeholders. Such service has a recognised need in collaborative projects with multiple stakeholders and shifting interests. As a service, it is designed to have the requirements as the primary objects that the users create (Require) or browse (Discover). In this paper we argue, based on Charles Sanders Peirce's theory of signs and John Dewey's theory on experience, that the service should be designed to facilitate interaction with  a central object of action of the user. Requirements bazaar is analysed through that perspective. Requirements as objects need to be grounded to the designed artefact in order to be meaningful for design process. We present two analyses of use experience from two different stakeholder's perspectives, and suggest improvements to Requirements Bazaar's interaction design.

  • Review of Online Tools for Asynchronous Distribute Online Participatory Design
    (by Matthias Heintz, Effie Lai-Chong Law, Stephanie Heintz, University of Leicester, UK)
    Our online participatory design (OPD) approach to supporting large scale social requirements engineering (LASSRE) is applying PD in an asynchronous manner and in a distributed setting. Compared to common paper-based face-to-face approaches, OPD would allow the involvement of more participants as an online tool could reach far more people than an “offline” workshop. Some research efforts have been undertaken to develop tools supporting PD. However, such tools have different qualities and characteristics. A lack of systematic comparisons makes the tool selection difficult. Hence, we have been motivated to carry out a review, focussing on tools that could support asynchronous distributed participatory design of software prototypes. Based on the capabilities of common paper-based PD approaches, on a literature review, and on user needs captured with a questionnaire in the context of a European research project with distributed stakeholders, five basic functional requirements regarding access and essential features of an ODP tool have been identified. To further support the selection process, three tools meeting those requirements have been evaluated in more detail using Heuristic Walkthrough applying Nielsen’s ten usability heuristics. Based on the evaluation results, possible improvements are suggested ranging from usability issues to be fixed to additional features further enhancing the tools for OPD usage. The tool Webklipper is evaluated to be the most appropriate candidate as online annotation tool for distributed participatory design and therefore discussed in more detail. As one of the major goals of PD is to identify user requirements, the tools, their functional requirements and evaluation results discussed in our review will also be relevant to other LASSRE use-cases and activities.
  • Using Evolving Design Patterns for Collaborative Requirements Engineering and Solution Documentation
    (by René Reiners, Fraunhofer FIT, Germany)
    Abstract: Activities regarding requirements engineering as a traditional discipline within well-defined software engineering processes often work well for projects with dedicated aims and defined outcomes. However, in the scope of explorative projects, i.e., research and development, aims are not always precisely set and achievements cannot be measured against pre-defined validation criteria. Thus, initially gathered requirements may continuously change over time, depending on the knowledge gained during the project and decisions made over time. In case that the project lasts several months up to years and members are spatially distributed and need to work asynchronously, keeping track of requirements, their updates as well as extensions, becomes an even harder task. Additionally, found solutions must be connected to initial needs, requirements or ideas. Within this article, the concept of design patterns is used to document evolving project knowledge, starting from the formulation of problems and requirements. The notion of design patterns is radically changed such that they are not created after a long period of research and validation in order to purely provide knowledge on proven solutions; furthermore, their parts are created according to the current project’s activities, starting from early problem descriptions, user needs and real requirements. In terms of patterns, these formulations correspond to the problem that a pattern addresses. Over time, when new knowledge is gained and the problem can be better described and first solutions appear, the still missing pattern sections are updated or reworked. A defined process helps to ensure the completeness of the pattern and the validity of its contents. All project members can contribute to a pattern’s development regarding its contents, appropriateness, formulation quality, and its validity. This work describes the collaborative formulation process, involved roles and summarizes first results from its implementation as a web-based platform in a real joint research project setting.
  • Tool Integration: Integrating Requirements Bazaar with Tools for Issue Tracking, Widget-based Learning Environments, House of Quality, and OSS Community Reflection
    Abstract: In our main article, we emphasize the necessity for LASSRE to be integrated with participative development processes and eco-systems of accompanying services and tools. In this special tool integration section, we highlight the integration of different tools integrated with 
    Requirements Bazaar in four short articles. The first article describes the integration of Requirements Bazaar with a Web application supporting the creation of Houses of Quality as part of the well-adopted Quality-Function-Deployment (QFD). The second article describes a Web-based dashboard for community-oriented reflection of OSS projects, including Requirements Bazaar as one data source. The third article elaborates in more detail on the two-way integration of Requirements Bazaar with a contemporary issue tracking system on the example of Atlassian's JIRA. The fourth article shows how to integrate Requirement's Bazaar's dialogues for requirements elicitation and collection into arbitrary Web applications on the example of the ROLE SDK, a Web-based platform for widget-based Personal Learning Environments.  

How to cite this E-Letter edition?
Dominik Renzel, Ralf Klamma (eds.), "Large-Scale Social Requirements Engineering", IEEE Computer Society Special Technical Community on Social Networking E-Letter, vol. 2, no. 3, September 2014.