Requirements Engineering

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 107–129 | Cite as

SCRAM–CK: applying a collaborative requirements engineering process for designing a web based e-science toolkit

  • Abraham Nieva de la Hidalga
  • Alex Hardisty
  • Andrew Jones
Original Article


This paper presents SCRAM–CK, a method to elicit requirements by means of strong user involvement supported by prototyping activities. The method integrates two existing approaches, SCRAM and CK theory. SCRAM provides the framework for requirements management, while CK theory provides a framework for reasoning about design and its evolution. The method is demonstrated with the definition and refining of requirements for the BioVeL web toolkit. The objective of BioVeL is to allow scientists to understand, run, modify and construct workflows for data analysis with minimal training using a web-based interface. The proposed method is supported by prototyping activities for gathering user feedback, and refining requirements and design proposals. Using this method, the prototypes evolved from simple workflow execution enablers to include more complex functionalities for reviewing, modifying and building workflows in later versions. This paper presents a contribution to the application of techniques for requirements engineering. SCRAM–CK is an amalgamated method that combines a user-centred continuous refinement approach with support for design evolution through prototyping. The paper also shows the influence of the requirements engineering process in the evolution of design proposals.


Requirements elicitation User-centred requirements engineering Requirements evolution Collaborative design Design evolution Prototyping 



The BioVeL project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 283359. More information at The authors would like to thank the members of BioVeL who have actively participated in the requirements review activities reported in this paper, including our scientific partners: María Paula Balcazar Vargas, Sarah Bourlat, Päivi Lyytikäinen-Saarenmaa, Matthias Obst, Gerard Oostermeijer, Elisabeth Paymal, Hannu Saarenmaa, and Saverio Vicario; and our technical partners: Jonathan Giddy, Carole Goble, Robert Haines, Vera Hernandez, Robert Kulawik, Cherian Mathew, and Alan Williams. The authors wish to thank all the participants in the different training and dissemination activities, who have provided invaluable comments and feedback. Finally, the authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their feedback that helped to improve the overall quality of the manuscript.


  1. 1.
    Al Balushi TH, Sampaio PRF, Loucopoulos P (2013) Eliciting and prioritizing quality requirements supported by ontologies: a case study using the ElicitO framework and tool. Expert Syst 30(2):129–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Alexander I, Beus-Dukic L (2009) Discovering requirements: how to specify products and services. Wiley, Chichester, p 457Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Al-Subaie HSF, Maibaum TSE (2006) Evaluating the effectiveness of a goal-oriented requirements engineering method. Fourth international workshop on comparative evaluation in requirements engineering (CERE), September 2006, pp 8–19. doi: 10.1109/CERE.2006.3
  4. 4.
    Azadegan A, Papamichail N, Sampaio P (2013) Applying collaborative process design to user requirements elicitation: a case study. Comput Ind. doi: 10.1016/j.compind.2013.05.001
  5. 5.
    Bhagwanani S (2005) An evaluation of end-user interfaces of scientific workflow management systems. Master Thesis, North Carolina State UniversityGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cheng BHC, Atlee JM, Joanne M (2007) Research directions in requirements engineering research directions in requirements engineering. In: Proceeding FOSE’07 future of software engineering. IEEE Computer Society Washington, Minneapolis, MN, pp 285–303Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Clements PC (2000) Active reviews for intermediate designs (CMU/SEI-2000-TN-009). Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, pp 1–25.
  8. 8.
    Delnooz C, Vrijnsen L (2003) Experiences with scenarios and goal-oriented RE. LACS2003, Landelijk Architectuur CongresGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Garijo D, Alper P, Belhajjame K, Corcho O, Gil Y, Goble C (2012) Common motifs in scientific workflows: an empirical analysis. In: 2012 IEEE 8th international conference on E-Science, pp 1–8. doi: 10.1109/eScience.2012.6404427
  10. 10.
    Gil Y, Deelman E, Ellisman M, Fahringer T, Fox G (2007) Examining the challenges of scientific workflows. IEEE Computer 40(12):24–32Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Goble C, De Roure D (2009) The impact of workflow tools on data-centric research. Data intensive computing: the fourth paradigm of scientific discovery, Microsoft Research, 2009Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Goble C, Wroe C, Stevens R (2003) The myGrid project: services, architecture and demonstrator Grid Services and Architec-. In: Cox S (ed) Proceedings of UK e-Science all hands meeting 2003. University of Southampton, Southampton, p 8Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Goecks J, Nekrutenko A, Taylor J (2010) Galaxy: a comprehensive approach for supporting accessible, reproducible, and transparent computational research in the life sciences. Genome Biol 11(8):R86. doi: 10.1186/gb-2010-11-8-r86 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hatchuel A, Le Masson P, Weil B (2004), CK theory in practice: lessons from industrial applications. In: Marjanovic D (ed) 8th international design conference, Dubrovnik, 18–21 May 2004, pp 245–257Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hatchuel A, Weil B (2003) A new approach of innovative design: an introduction to CK theory. In: Proceedings of the international conference on engineering design (ICED’03), Stockholm, Sweden, pp 109–124Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Jarke M, Loucopoulos P, Lyytinen K, Mylopoulos J, Robinson W (2011) The brave new world of design requirements. Inf Syst 36(7):992–1008. doi: 10.1016/ CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Le Masson P, Hatchuel A, Weil B (2009) Design theory and collective creativity: a theoretical framework to evaluate KCP process. In: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th international conference on engineering design, vol 6, Design Methods and Tools (pt. 2), Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24–27 Aug 2009, pp 277–288Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    López C, Codocedo V, Astudillo H, Cysneiros LM (2012) Bridging the gap between software architecture rationale formalisms and actual architecture documents: an ontology-driven approach. Sci Comput Program 77(1):66–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Loucopoulos P, Sun J, Zhao L, Heidari F (2013) A systematic classification and analysis of NFRs. In: 19th Americas conference on Information Systems (AMCIS 2013)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Mehandjiev N, Lecue F, Wajid U, Namoun A (2010) Assisted service composition for end users. In: 2010 eighth IEEE European conference on web services, IEEE, pp 131–138. doi: 10.1109/ECOWS.2010.30
  21. 21.
    Mehandjiev N, Namoune A, Wajid U, Macaulay L, Sutcliffe A (2010) End user service composition: perceptions and requirements. In: 2010 eighth IEEE European conference on web services, IEEE, pp 139–146. doi: 10.1109/ECOWS.2010.29
  22. 22.
    Nuseibeh B (2001) Weaving together requirements and architectures. Computer 34(3):115–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Nuseibeh B, Easterbrook S (2000) Requirements engineering: a roadmap. In: Ghezz C, Jazayeri M, Wolf AL (eds) Proceedings of the 22nd international conference on software engineering, ICSE 2000, vol 1. Limerick Ireland, pp 35–46Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Oinn T, Li P, Kell DB, Goble C, Goderis A, Hull D, Stevens R et al (2007) Taverna/my Grid: aligning a workflow system with the life sciences community. In: Taylor IJ, Deelman E, Gannon DB, Shields M (eds) Workflows for e-Science. Springer, London, pp 300–319. doi: 10.1007/978-1-84628-757-2
  25. 25.
    Overmyer SP (1991) Revolutionary vs. evolutionary rapid prototyping: balancing software productivity and HCI design concerns. Center of Excellence in Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (C3I), George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VirginiaGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Parviainen P, Tihinen M (2007) A survey of existing requirements engineering technologies and their coverage. Int J Softw Eng Knowl Eng 17(6):827–850CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Peirce SC, Hardisty AR, Preece AD, Elwyn G (2011) Designing and implementing telemonitoring for early detection of deterioration in chronic disease: defining the requirements. Health Inform J 17(3):173–190. doi: 10.1177/1460458211409717 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Pohl K, Sikora E (2007) COSMOD-RE: supporting the co-design of requirements and architectural artifacts. In: 15th IEEE international requirements engineering conference (RE 2007), IEEE, pp 258–261. doi: 10.1109/RE.2007.25
  29. 29.
    Potts C (1999) ScenIC: a strategy for inquiry-driven requirements determination. In: Proceedings IEEE international symposium on requirements engineering, pp 58–65. IEEE Comput Soc. doi: 10.1109/ISRE.1999.777985
  30. 30.
    Rago A, Marcos C, Diaz-Pace JA (2014) Assisting requirements analysts to find latent concerns with REAssistant. Autom Softw Eng. doi: 10.1007/s10515-014-0156-0
  31. 31.
    Segrestin B (2009) Collaborative innovation capabilities: developing platforms through design games. In: International product development conference (Enschede)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Stevens RD, Robinson AJ, Goble CA (2003) myGrid: personalised bioinformatics on the information grid. Bioinformatics 19(Suppl 1):i302–i304. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btg1041 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Sutcliffe AG (2002) User-centered requirements engineering. Springer, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Sutcliffe AG (2009) On the inevitable intertwining of requirements and architecture. In: Lyytinen K, Loucopoulos P, Mylopoulos J, Robinson B (eds) Lecture notes in business information processing, 14 (Design requirements engineering: a ten-year perspective), pp 168–185Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Sutcliffe AG, Ryan M (1998) Experience with SCRAM, a SCenario requirements analysis method, ICRE 1998, p 164Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Swartout W, Baker R (1982) On the inevitable intertwining of specification and implementation. Commun ACM 25(7):438–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ure J, Rakebrandt F, Lloyd S, Khanban A, Procter R, Anderson S, Hanley J, Hartswood M, Pagliari C, Mckinstry B, Tarling A, Kidd G, Corscadden P (2009) Giving them something to hate: using prototypes as a vehicle for early engagement in virtual organizations social science computer review, November 2009, vol 27, pp 569–582 (first published on June 12, 2009)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Wolstencroft K, Haines R, Fellows D, Williams A, Withers D, Owen S, Soiland-Reyes S et al (2013) The Taverna workflow suite: designing and executing workflows of web services on the desktop, web or in the cloud. Nucleic Acids Res 41(Web Server issue):W557–W561. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt328 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Yeltayeva K (2012) Usability study of the Taverna scientific workflow workbench. Master Thesis, University of ManchesterGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Zimmerman A, Nardi BA (2006) Whither or whether HCI: requirements analysis for multi-sited cyber-infrastructures. In: Conference on human factors in computing systems, CHI’06 extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems, ACM Press, pp 1601–1606Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abraham Nieva de la Hidalga
    • 1
  • Alex Hardisty
    • 1
  • Andrew Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computer Science and InformaticsCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

Personalised recommendations