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Understanding requirements engineering: a challenge for practice and education

Nguyen, L., Armarego, J. and Swatman, P. (2002) Understanding requirements engineering: a challenge for practice and education. Deakin University, School of Information Systems, Geelong, Victoria.

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Reviews of the state of the professional practice in Requirements Engineering (RE) stress that the RE process is both complex and hard to describe, and suggest there is a significant difference between competent and "approved" practice. "Approved" practice is reflected by (in all likelihood, in fact, has its genesis in) RE education, so that the knowledge and skills taught to students do not match the knowledge and skills required and applied by competent practitioners.

A recent action research study describes a new understanding of the RE process. RE is revealed as inherently creative, involving cycles of building and major reconstruction of the models developed, significantly different from the systematic and smoothly incremental process generally described in the literature. The process is better characterised as opportunistic and insight driven.This mismatch between approved and actual practice provides a challenge to RE education - RE requires insight and creativity as well as technical knowledge.

Traditional learning models applied to RE focus, however, on notation and prescribed processes acquired through repetition. We argue that traditional
learning models fail to support the learning required for RE and propose both a new model based on cognitive flexibility and a framework for RE education to support this model.

Item Type: Working Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering
Series Name: School working papers series 2002 SWP2002/10
Publisher: Deakin University, School of Information Systems
Copyright: (c) Nguyen, L., Armarego, J. and Swatman, P.
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