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Volume 1 / Issue 2

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A Case Study on Overcoming the Requirements Tar Pit

Samuel Fricker (University of Zurich, Switzerland)

Martin Glinz (University of Zurich, Switzerland)

Peter Kolb (Red-Expel GmbH, Switzerland)

Abstract: Software requirements are defined in many industries using informal software requirements specifications that are based on standards such as IEEE 830. Also, in teams of small to medium-sized projects there are often no experienced requirements engineers. These two factors leave product development efforts in a tar pit of ambiguities and misunderstandings that is risking product success. We investigated the adoption of systematic requirements engineering techniques in such a mid-sized software development project. We show how the project found itself in this tar pit and went through several failing attempts of using methods believed appropriate to finally discover and tailor a non-standard approach that led to a massive improvement of the requirements for the product to be developed.

Keywords: business modelling, learning, methods, requirements engineering

Categories: D.2.1, D.2.9, I.6.5, J.6, K.3.2, K.4.3