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Graphical User Interface Prototyping for Distributed Requirements Engineering

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Sven Scheibmayr

Finding and understanding the right requirements is essential for every software project. This book deals with the challenge to improve requirements engineering in distributed software projects. The use of graphical user interface (GUI) prototypes can help stakeholders in such projects to elicit and specify high quality requirements. The research objective of this study is to develop a method and a software artifact to support the activities in the early requirements engineering phase in order to overcome some of the difficulties and improve the quality of the requirements, which should eventually lead to better software products. Therefore, this study seeks to support the work with these prototypes in distributed projects. It is based on a theoretical analysis and follows a design science research approach.
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1. Introduction

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1.1. Problem Outline

The objective of Software Engineering (SE) is to build high quality software within a given time and with a predetermined budget (Sommerville, 2007). Often, though, software development projects still struggle to accomplish these objectives and many fail (Charette, 2005; The Standish Group, 2009). Studies show that in many cases, problems in the early phase of software development lead to cost or time overruns, rework, bad quality, and eventually to the failure of the project (Procaccino et al., 2006; Hofmann and Lehner, 2001).

Requirements Engineering (RE) is the phase of SE which deals with this early phase of software development (Sommerville and Sawyer, 1997; Nuseibeh and Easterbrook, 2000). RE can be defined as follows: “Requirements engineering is the disciplined application of proven principles, methods, tools, and notations to describe a proposed system’s intended behavior and its associated constraints”(Hsia et al., 1993). RE comprises activities such as the elicitation of the requirements, their specification, and their management. The main task of RE is essentially the transfer of knowledge between stakeholders in the project and the creation of a common understanding of “what to build”. Stakeholders are individuals or organizations which actively participate in a software project or whose interests influence the project (Hofmann and Lehner, 2001).

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