Memorias de investigación
Requirements Fixation: The Effect of Specification Formality on Design Creativity

Research Areas
  • Information technology and adata processing

There is a broad consensus in the software engineering (SE) research community that understanding system desiderata and design creativity is critical for the success of software projects. This has motivated a plethora of research in SE to improve requirements engineering (RE) processes. However, little research has investigated the relationship between the way desiderata are presented (i.e., framed) and creative design performance. This dissertation, therefore, examines the effects of more formal presentations of desiderata on design creativity. The research was conducted in three phases. The first consisted of summarizing the available literature on cognitive biases in SE to build a comprehensive body of knowledge, understand the current state of research, and identify the relevant literature to position and delineate subsequent investigations involving the framing effect and fixation. This research phase also investigated how creativity is conceptualized (i.e., understood, assessed and improved) in SE by exploring the perceptual differences and similarities between SE researchers and practitioners. In the second phase, two controlled experiments were conducted to investigate the impact of framing desiderata first as requirements (in general) and then as prioritized requirements on design creativity (i.e., the originality and practicality of a design). The third phase involved a protocol study to explore the underlying cognitive mechanisms that may explain why framing desiderata as formal requirements affects creativity. The empirical evidence from the second and third phases was interpreted together to propose a theoretical framework that explains the effect of specification formality on design creativity. While the results of the experiments show that specification formality is negatively related to design creativity (i.e., desiderata framed as requirements or prioritized requirements result in designs that are less creative), the findings from the protocol study indicate that the negative relationship between specification formality and design creativity is mediated by fixation (i.e., more formal presentation of desiderata induces fixation and hinders critical thinking). Overall, the results of this dissertation suggest that more formal and structured presentations of desiderata cause requirements fixation?the tendency to attribute undue confidence and importance to desiderata presented as formal requirements statements?that affects design creativity, and thus undermines software engineering success.
Mark Rating
Sobresaliente cum laude

Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Departamento: Lenguajes y Sistemas Informáticos e Ingeniería de Software