Learning from Mistakes: An Empirical Study of Elicitation Interviews performed by Novices

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
IEEE, 2018
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[Context] Interviews are the most widely used elici-tation technique in requirements engineering. However, conduct-ing effective requirements elicitation interviews is challenging, due to the combination of technical and soft skills that requirements analysts often acquire after a long period of professional prac-tice. Empirical evidence about training the novices on conducting effective requirements elicitation interviews is scarce. [Objectives] We present a list of most common mistakes that novices make in requirements elicitation interviews. The objective is to assist the educators in teaching interviewing skills to student analysts. [Re-search Method] We conducted an empirical study involving role-playing and authentic assessment with 110 students, teamed up in 28 groups, to conduct interviews with a customer. One researcher made observation notes during the interview while two research-ers reviewed the recordings. We qualitatively analyzed the data to identify the themes and classify the mistakes. [Results and conclu-sion] We identified 34 unique mistakes classified into 7 high level themes. We also give examples of the mistakes made by the novices in each theme, to assist the educationists and trainers. Our re-search design is a novel combination of well-known pedagogical approaches described in sufficient details to make it repeatable for future requirements engineering education and training research.
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