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Quality in Requirements Engineering (RE) Explained Using Distributed Cognition: A Case of Open Source Development

B Veeresh Thummadi
Case western reserve university, USA
Kalle Lyytinen
Case Western Reserve University, USA
Sean Hansen
Rochester Institute of Technology, USA


Abstract
Requirements have been the culprits for budget overruns and failures in software development projects. Fixing the requirements in the early stages of a project can dramatically reduce recurring costs. Past research has focused on linear sequential requirements activities as a means to fix the requirement problems. This line of thinking has led researchers to overlook the possible solutions to requirement problems in social, cognitive, and organizational factors. We probe the success of open source software development and its implications for the linear approach to requirements activity. Despite a wide scale distribution of requirements knowledge among people and artifacts, open source projects have been able to manage and evolve requirements in an organic way leading to high quality outcomes. Even though such efforts include little emphasis on explicit quality in RE practices, these projects often come up with software that meets high quality requirements. In order to understand this anomaly in open source software development, we apply the theory of distributed cognition to understand how social, structural, and temporal dimension impacts the quality of the requirements.

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Reference:Thummadi, B.V., Lyytinen, K., Hansen, S. (2011). "Quality in Requirements Engineering (RE) Explained Using Distributed Cognition: A Case of Open Source Development," Proceedings > Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 11(151). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/11-151
Keywords:open source software development, distributed cognition, traditional software development
Item Type:Article - Volume 11 Article 151 (2011)
Language:English
Email: B Veeresh Thummadi (vxt42@case.edu)
Kalle Lyytinen (kalle@case.edu)
Sean Hansen (shansen@saunders.rit.edu)

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