Social and Distributed Requirements Engineering

Effie.Law | January 13, 2012

Traditional requirements engineering (RE) approaches employ standard techniques such as questionnaire, interviews and observations. They involve interactions between RE professionals and end users. Hence, basically the canonical approaches are inherently social. The notion of Social Requirements Engineering (SRE) has been conceived with the vision as well as mission of enabling every voice to be heard, regardless whether the voice comes from the mainstream or peripheral communities in “the long tail”. With the advent of Web2.0 technologies and social media, this vision can effectively as well as efficiently realised. Nonetheless, I have learned from the practical experiences that it is not that easy as expected. For online communities to be sustainable, we need active members to contribute to, share and stimulate discussions. Despite this challenge, I personally believe that the SRE approach is promising and workable. I am eagerly waiting for the tipping point where the sharing of comments, opinions and suggestions will take off and flourish. Returning back to the title of this blog – Social and Distributed, a major distinction of the SRE approach is that the processes involved are not only social but also distributed. Perhaps if we want to stand out this emerging approach, we should rename it as SDRE – Social and Distributed Requirements Engineering. More to be shared later. Yes, indeed, we do need active contributors and I strive to be one.

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