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Understanding requirements engineering process: a challenge for practice and education

Nguyen, L., Armarego, J. and Swatman, P. (2005) Understanding requirements engineering process: a challenge for practice and education. In: Internet and information technology in modern organizations : challenges & answers, 5th International Business Information Management Conference, 13-15 December, Cairo, Egypt pp. 886-894.

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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 new understanding of the RE process has emerged from our recent study. 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 highly creative, 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: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering
Publisher: International Business Information Management Association
Conference Website:
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