Risk Identification at the Interface between Business Case and Requirements
[Motivation:] The requirements engineering (RE) research community is aware of the importance of performing feasibility studies before starting requirements elicitation. Unfortunately, projects still frequently fail to achieve commercial success, responsibility is often unknown, and requirements engineers may be deemed responsible for mistakes made by others. [Problem:] There is neither empirical evidence available from a post-mortem risk analysis for projects that performed adequate RE but commercially failed nor guidance for requirements engineers on validating a business case analysis to mitigate this risk. [Principal idea:] By performing a post-mortem analysis of software development projects that failed to achieve commercial success, we investigate the root causes for the failures and, in most cases, trace the causes back to business case issues. We identify risk areas and provide practical due diligence guidance to the practitioner. [Contribution:] This exploratory case study performs an in-depth review of a detailed post-mortem analysis of three software development projects performed over a 2.5 year period. Each of the analyzed projects failed to make the expected transition to commercialization despite using appropriate RE techniques and achieving satisfactory deliverables. The analysis identifies risk factors that the RE practitioner should consider and we provide a checklist for RE practitioners to use when checking for these risks in an antecedent business case as part of their due diligence. A low-cost commercial viability assessment technique, employing Fermi approximation, is provided to equip the RE practitioner with a risk mitigation tool in the absence of business analyst resources.
KeywordsRisk identification risk mitigation commercial risk due diligence commercialization commercial success success factors business case business analyst
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