Anticipating Requirements Changes-Using Futurology in Requirements Elicitation

Anticipating Requirements Changes-Using Futurology in Requirements Elicitation

João Pimentel (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil), Emanuel Santos (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil), Jaelson Castro (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil) and Xavier Franch (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/jismd.2012040104
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Abstract

It is well known that requirements changes in a later phase of software developments is a major source of software defects and costs. Thus, the need of techniques to control or reduce the amount of changes during software development projects. The authors advocate the use of foresight methods as a valuable input to requirements elicitation, with the potential to decrease the number of changes that would be required after deployment, by anticipating them. In this paper, the authors define a process for using a foresight method, namely Futures Wheel, for requirements elicitation. To illustrate the use of this approach, the authors perform a case study using a route planning system.
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Discovering The Future

If discovering the current requirements of a system is already a complex task, what to say about the requirements for the future? We can affirm that it is even more challenging, since we may face several cases in which it is impossible to know for sure if an event expected to happen in the future is really going to happen. On the other hand, the understanding of the future does not have to be as detailed as the understanding of the problem as it is nowadays. This is the case because the study of the future will be an additional source for requirements elicitation, rather than its basis.

  • Definition 1 (Future event):a future event is an event that is expected to take place in the future.

According to Kotonya and Sommerville (1998), there are four dimensions to requirements elicitation, regarding problem analysis: Application domain, Problem to be solved, Business context and Stakeholder needs and constraints. If we aim at eliciting requirements dealing with future events, we need to consider the projection of these four dimensions in the future. For this purpose, some kind of representation of the future becomes necessary.

  • Definition 2 (Representation of the future):a representation of the future is a model that describes a set of future events.

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