Decision-making criteria for software requirements selection : an empirical study in China

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Copyright: Hu, Ganglan
This study aims to explore the decision-making criteria for requirements selection in market-driven software development projects in China. Requirements selection decisions are made by reconciling the conflicting stakeholders’ value propositions into a mutually-agreed set through the negotiation and communication process between stakeholders. Firstly, this study identified decision-making criteria according to different stakeholders’ value propositions, and then evaluated the importance of the criteria when making the decisions of requirements selection. Moreover, the study determined the degree to which the stakeholders from business, product, and project perspectives influence the decision-making process. Furthermore, the study explored the communication between major stakeholders in requirements selection process, as a foundation to support and guide the process. A Delphi survey was applied in this study. Opinions from experienced industrial experts were obtained to achieve reliable consensus among them on the criteria and relative importance of the criteria in requirements selection process. The Delphi survey in this study included four phases of data collection by a series of intensive questionnaires interspersed with controlled opinion feedback and follow-up interviews. 132 Experts from 11 companies were recruited by following the rigid procedure to ensure the validity and reliability of the research. The study indicated that criteria from the business perspective had a major influence on decision-making of requirements selection, while project- and product-perspective criteria were relatively lower in priority. However, there were some inconsistencies among the opinions of the recruited experts regarding the importance of the criteria. The inconsistencies may result from a number of different factors, for example; different software development projects; different size, culture, organizational structure or maturity level of the companies; or different working positions of the experts surveyed. In addition, the study found three different types of communication in requirements selection in the companies surveyed. Further, Chinese culture was believed to have effects on the communication process between stakeholders. While informal communication was highlighted in Chinese context, the Chinese culture of strictly hierarchical communication could lead to problems in the communication process. Further research is recommended to gain deeper insight into these issues.
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Hu, Ganglan
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Masters Thesis
UNSW Faculty
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