Managing Requirements Elicitation Knowledge using a Spatial Hypertext Wiki

Managing Requirements Elicitation Knowledge using a Spatial Hypertext Wiki

Carlos Solis (Lero, Ireland) and Nour Ali (Lero, Ireland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-783-8.ch313

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Introduction

Knowledge Management is composed of the activities, methods, processes, and software that validate, evaluate, integrate, and disseminate information for learning and decision making (Rhem, 2005). A Knowledge Management System (KMS) is an information system that improves the organizational process of creating, storing, retrieving, transferring, and applying knowledge (Leidner & Alavi, 2001).

One of the most accepted models for knowledge management is the knowledge creation spiral of Nonaka and Takeuchi, which describes how knowledge is converted into different types of knowledge (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995). The diversity of existing types of knowledge such as tacit, explicit, unstructured and structured force organizations to use several knowledge management approaches in order to deal in an effective way with the conversion between the types of knowledge (Leidner & Alavi, 2001). The concept of tacit knowledge was defined by Polanyi (1967) as knowledge that cannot be easily shared, and is composed of intuitions, unarticulated mental models, or technical skills. Explicit knowledge is the one that is documented and can be processed by computers (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995).

In any project, Requirements Elicitation (RE) is a critical phase due to the fact that most software project failures are caused from inadequate requirements (Hofmann & Lehner, 2001). The RE phase is the first step in the requirements engineering process, where the requirements or the needs of a system are discovered (Sommerville & Sawyer, 2004). Requirements elicitation is a creative process in which all stakeholders collaborate in the creation of the needs that describe a new system (Robertson, 2001). The stakeholders involved in the requirements elicitation process must understand a domain, and the problems that the different stakeholders want to solve using a software system. Some of the proposed needs will become system requirements after their negotiation and prioritization (Sommerville & Sawyer, 2004). In requirements elicitation, diverse methods are used such as interviews, workshops, brainstorming, and protocol analysis (Davis et.al., 2006).

Tacit knowledge is related to undocumented work practices that workers use to take decisions. When stakeholders try to express their requirements of a system, they are converting part of their tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. From this point of view, requirements elicitation is a knowledge intensive process which involves converting, managing and sharing different types of knowledge among different stakeholders.

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