A LifeLike Experience to Train User Requirements Elicitation Skills

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10290)


User Requirements Elicitation (URE) is a critical stage in the development of software systems. It is aimed at defining the information needs the system has to fulfill and the services it is expected to provide. The term “elicitation” points out the delicate role of the analyst, who has to take an active listening attitude in the dialogue with system stakeholders and intended users, being able to seek, uncover and elaborate requirements. The success of the process largely depends on the analyst’s communication skills and expertise, since URE is communicative, interdisciplinary and practical in nature. Despite a variety of techniques and approaches to URE are proposed, there is not at the moment a systematic training method. In the paper, a behavioral simulator reproducing a lifelike URE conversation is presented, which was developed exactly to train URE skills. The didactical idea backing the simulator is an interaction between user and game, based on a narrative and relational model developed by one of the leading companies in the field. The effectiveness of the simulator was verified through an experiment, whose design, implementation and results are described. The experiment intended to verify the internal validity, that is if users playing systematically with the simulator improved their performance with the simulator itself, as well as the external validity, that is if users also enhanced their URE skills. Results showed users’ improvements in both aspects.


User requirements elicitation Requirements engineering Online applications Behavioral simulator Soft skills training 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USI – Università della Svizzera italianaLuganoSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of TurkuTurkuFinland

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