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Paper reading sheet

1. Bibliographic data

Mich et al. Requirements engineering and creativity: An innovative approach based on a model of the pragmatics of communication. Proc. REFSQ (2004) pp. 3-922602

2. Theme of the paper

Creativity techniques when building requirements either for new or existing systems.

3. Synthesis of the paper

Motivation and importance of the research

Creativity is very important in all software development stages, especially in the requirements phase. But what techniques should we use in requirements engineering? This paper wants to show that we can use existing creative processes like Elementary Pragmatic Model (EPM) in this area. But creativity has some problems in requirements engineering because developers want to move on to what is perceived as more useful work, design and coding.

Main points of the background informations and state-of-the-art

Currently the creativity is driven by brainstorming since 1935, and more recently by role-playing that tries to bring different perspectives to requirements engineering. Despite this two techniques engineers do not use extra creative techniques, even though they are essential to build a distinguish product. In addition to this problem with have those who see creativity as a threat, as something to monitor and control carefully in order to prevent it from compromising their projects. The aim of this paper is to bring new methods to improve creativity and there for a better innovative software.

Main findings and results and their novelty

EPM is an analytical tool to help a therapist analyze the interactions between two people to determine the bases of their interaction behaviors, but now this technique was adapted to requirements engineering. The authors conducted two experiments with two groups each and then comparing the results either quantitatively (number of ideas) and qualitatively (feasibility and novelty of the ideas), and in both experiments confirmed that EPMcreate is more effective than brainstorming, bringing a lot more new and realizable ideas into a new system. The same occurred when applied to an existing system producing 22 new and realizable ideas despite the 4 new and realizable produced by brainstorming. They also find that from the 16 steps of EPMcreate the odd steps are the effective ones.

Main conclusions and/or discution points

Creativity is understood as the generation of innovative, unexpected solutions to complex, non-trivial problems, or to ill-formed, wicked problems. A wicked problem is not structured enough to allow a straightforward rational, scientific, or engineering approach. Requirements engineering deals often with wicked problems, and thus calls for a creative approach like EPMcreate. EPM pretends to help a requirements elicitor to generate all possible reactions to the stakeholders position.

4. Questions and reflection

Questions raised by the reading of the paper

Like the previous paper this one also lead me to the question of how many techniques from a totally different area of expertise can we bring to requirements engineering.

My opinion about the paper

The main idea was to see the viability of apply a technique used in areas like psychology in requirements engineering. And we can see from the results that despite the need to do more experiments and small adjusts into the 16 steps of EPMcreate the results we very satisfying, more over showed that we can adapt different techniques to requirements engineering.

What to retain for my future research

Getting out of the box and start thinking wider is essential to be successful in all areas, and it is also essential to take advantage of the interdisciplinary between subjects in order to be creative in our own areas, in this specific case, the requirements engineering.