Requirements Elicitation for Wide Audience End-Users

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School of Business | Doctoral thesis (monograph) | Defence date: 2005-04-06
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Information Systems Science
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[276] s.
Acta Universitatis oeconomicae Helsingiensis. A, 250
In this dissertation, we focused on gaining an understanding of what new problems arise in relation to eliciting the requirements of diverse and distributed end-users who are usually not within the reach of development team. This target group was defined as wide audience end-users (WAEUs). We applied design research as a research agenda for our study and our findings are derived from three distinct research phases. First, we recognized that it was important to reach the end-users, who are often left outside the development process. It was also acknowledged that these end-users were often not experts in the context of the technology or firm. Furthermore, in an attempt to facilitate communication between the different stakeholders, we proposed that considering end-user preferences was a key issue in the modeling of requirements. We should also be able to easily aggregate the requirements in order to support the presentation of requirements, which would facilitate the consensus making process. As a final point, an attempt should be made to integrate the technique into design practice. Second, we constructed a requirements elicitation technique to meet the presented requirements. The information systems (IS) planning technique was extended so as to facilitate the eliciting of WAEU requirements. We propose that by using the wide audience requirements elicitation (WARE) technique we can adequately understand the needs and desires of end users and thus support the decision making process. To support this claim, we present preliminary results from two case studies: Digia, Inc. and Helsingin Sanomat. Third, to rationalize the use of WARE, we have to understand in what situations we should consider using it. For this purpose, we suggest a theoretical model for managing requirements engineering risks. The model provides means for choosing resolution tactics for each project situation, prioritizing the use of techniques, while it also suggests how the compensation of techniques may affect project dynamics. The model distinguishes four specific situations in which we should consider using the WARE technique. In conclusion, we have theorized the problems faced by practitioners when developing information systems for wide audience end-users and constructed a technique to meet this challenge. Our theoretical model provides guidelines for selecting and using the different techniques. Finally, the research agenda offers guidance and direction for conducting further research
Supervising professor
Saarinen, Timo, professor
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