CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

The Use of Electronic Meeting System Technology to Aid in Software Requirements Engineering

Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Sumitra Mukherjee

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Abstract

Software developers and users do not, in many cases, work efficiently and effectively together to elicit and agree on software requirements. A different approach to requirement elicitation and approval is proving extremely successful in industry. This approach uses a methodology and technique called Joint Application Development (JAD). JAD is both a team-technique and a methodology that emphasizes structure, a detailed agenda, and an active, trained facilitator.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the use of information technology to support group work. Electronic meeting system (EMS) technology, a specific type of group support system, has evolved since the early 1980s to address the need to provide computer support to work groups. This research study hypothesizes that the union of EMS technology with IAO-like meetings addressing a complex task such as software requirement elicitation will result in improved efficiency and effectiveness, higher quality decisions, greater member satisfaction, and improved consensus. Because testing these hypotheses using a controlled software project is impractical, data synthesis (meta-analysis) techniques were applied to the results from 180 historical laboratory experiments and field studies that examined EMS to support group decision-making. Results were grouped for analysis by research setting and by outcome variable (efficiency, effectiveness, quality, satisfaction and consensus).

The results confirm that EMS technology improves group decision-making efficiency and effectiveness, results in higher quality decisions and greater member satisfaction, and improves the process for obtaining consensus in both laboratory and field research settings. The composite field study’s effects were 1 y, to 3 times more significant than those from laboratory experiments. The results support the widely held research premise that historical laboratory and field results are not inconsistent but rather reflect different research situations. In this study, the laboratory findings were categorized to reflect treatments similar to those in field studies (medium to large size groups, medium to difficult tasks); the resulting outcomes were consistent. Because of this consistency of effect between controlled laboratory and field study results, the credibility and generalizability of historical field study outcomes is considerably strengthened.

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