On the Same Page : Building Stakeholder Consensus on Requirements

By Amrit Thakur, Rayford Vaughn and Valentine Anantharaj.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper describes a model in which all stakeholders involved in a system's development can reach an agreement on requirements and possible derivations. The process uses the combination of a cognitive architecture, n-fold review technique, perspective based analysis and a requirements metamodel. An initial set of ambiguous requirements define the starting point for the model. These are then refined by a set of heterogeneously balanced teams. Certain biases related to team dynamics are taken into account and removed using concepts of applied psychology. The refined requirement versions are compared to each other using a sequence of steps with implicit entry and exit criterias. The final set consists of requirement versions which have a universal agreement and are unambiguous. The model thus helps in the elicitation and analysis of requirements, uncovers requirement flaws and removes any surprise elements.

Keywords: Requirements Engineering, Stakeholders, Software Engineering, Software Process, Inspection

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.39-48. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 876.312KB).

Amrit Thakur

Graduate Research Assistant, GeoResource Institute (High Performance Computing Collaboratory), Department of Computer Science & Eng., Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS, USA

Amrit is a Graduate Research Assistant with GeoResource Institute at the High Performance Computing Collaboratory of Mississippi State University. He is currently working on a NASA project for RPC (Rapid Prototyping Capability). He has been acclaimed for his research in the field of Data Provenance & Lineage at graduate level symposiums. He holds a couple of software industry certifications and has over 2 years of cumulative work experience in systems and Enterprise applications with Fortune 500 corporations such Perot System Corp. and Affiliated Computer Services (ACS). He is soon expecting a graduate certificate in Software Engineering. He has also earned his undergrad degree from Pune, India with an honors in Computer Science & Engg. He has been invited to the National Scholars Honors Society at the Mississippi State and is an active member of the student chapter of ACM at the MS State.

Dr. Rayford Vaughn

Professor, Department of Computer Science, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS, USA

William L. Giles Distinguished Professor, and Billie J. Ball Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Director, Center for Computer Security Research Professor, Ph.D., Kansas State University Dr. Vaughn received his Ph.D. from Kansas State University in 1988 and is currently the Billy J. Ball Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Mississippi State University. He teaches and conducts research in the areas of Software Engineering and Information Security. Prior to joining the University, he completed a twenty-six year career in the Army where he commanded the Army's largest software development organization and created the Pentagon agency that today centrally manages all Pentagon IT support. While on active duty with the Army, he served a three-year assignment with the National Security Agency's National Computer Security Center where he authored national level computer security guidance and conducted computer security research. Dr. Vaughn has over 100 publications to his credit and is an active contributor to software engineering and information security conferences and journals. He is actively engaged in high performance computing intrusion detection system research at Mississippi State University and established the MSU Center of Computer Security Research in 2001. In 2004, Dr. Vaughn was named a Mississippi State University Eminent Scholar and in 2005 he was given the “Most Outstanding Academic Award” by the National Colloquium on Information Systems Security Education. Today, Dr. Vaughn is the elected representative of all the principal investigators on the NSF Scholarship for Service program and member of the Interagency Coordinating Committee overseeing the SFS program. He maintains an active relationship with NSA as a part of the DOD Information Assurance Scholarship Program that MSU has been funded by since 2001.

Valentine Anantharaj

Research Associate, GeoResource Institute, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS, USA

Valentine Anantharaj received a B.Sc. degree in Physics from Madurai Kamaraj University in India and a M.S. degree in Meteorology from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, SD, in 1979 and 1989 respectively. He is currently a Research Associate at the GeoResources Institute, Mississippi State University. Earlier, he had been a Senior Research Assistant at the Center for Air Sea Technology and an Associate Scientist at the Institute for Naval Oceanography, located in the NASA Stennis Space Center. During 2003-2005, he was awarded one of the NASA EIGS Graduate Research Fellowships toward his research in land-atmosphere interaction studies. His current research interests include the incorporation of remotely sensed data into numerical weather prediction and land surface models, and the impact of historical land use changes in the local and regional weather and climate.

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