Interview Review: Detecting Latent Ambiguities to Improve the Requirements Elicitation Process

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings - 2017 IEEE 25th International Requirements Engineering Conference, RE 2017, 2017, pp. 400 - 405
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© 2017 IEEE. In requirements elicitation interviews, ambiguities identified by analysts can help to disclose the tacit knowledge of customers. Indeed, ambiguities might reveal implicit or hard to express information that needs to be elicited. The perception of ambiguity might depend on the subject who is acting as analyst, and different analysts might identify different ambiguities in the same interview. Based on this intuition, we propose to investigate the difference between ambiguities explicitly revealed by an analyst during a requirements elicitation interview, and ambiguities annotated by a reviewer who listens to the interview recording, with the objective of defining a method for interview review. We performed an exploratory study in which two subjects listened to a set of customer-analyst interviews. Only in 26% of the cases the ambiguities revealed by the analysts matched with the ambiguities found by the reviewers. In 46% of the cases, ambiguities were found by the reviewers, and were not detected by the analysts. Based on these preliminary findings, we are currently performing a controlled experiment with students of two universities, which will be followed by a real-world case study with companies. This paper discusses the current results, together with our research plan.
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