The Evolution of Requirements Practices in Software Startups: Is 'good' RE essential to a startup's

Prof. Daniela Damian - Department of Computer Science, University of Victoria

Oct. 5, 2018, 2:30 p.m. - Oct. 5, 2018, 3:30 p.m.

Trottier 2100

Hosted by: Prof. Martin Robillard

Software startups operate in a very dynamic environment, with significant time and market pressure, and rarely have time for systematic requirements analysis. In this talk I will present insights from a qualitative study of the evolution of requirements practices of 16 software startups as they survive, grow and introduce new products and services.  Our empirical evidence suggests the evolution of practice along six dimensions that emerged as relevant to their requirements activities: requirements artefacts, knowledge management, requirements-related roles, planning, technical debt and product quality. Beyond the relationships among the dimensions, it also explains the turning points that drove the evolution along these dimensions. These changes are reactive, rather than planned, suggesting an overall pragmatic lightness, i.e., flexibility, in the startups' evolution towards engineering practices for requirements. Our work provides practical insights for startups' assessing their own evolution as they face challenges to their growth. Interestingly however, our research also suggests that a startup’s evolution along the six dimensions is not fundamental to its success, but has significant effects on their product, their employees and the company.