Process Implications of Social Networking-Based Requirements Negotiation Tools

Keywords system definition processes; software evolution processes; collaborative requirements elicitation; requirements management; WinWin negotiations; social networking

WikiWinWin was based on the twiki platform 1 and implemented all steps of the methodology outlined above. The system was a linked network of pages – there was a page detailing each win condition, issue and option and separate pages for capturing the glossary, prioritization details and negotiated agreements. The agreements were recorded by physically updating each of the win condition
(and/or option) pages, after conducting an oral negotiation. Creation of each of these pages required understanding the wiki syntax and the structure of the system for navigability.

Separate training sessions were held for clients and students to help them come up the learning curve for using and documenting the results of the negotiations using WikiWinWin. On average each team 2 would have 30-50 pages (for each of the win conditions, issues and options) in their project twiki – a huge maintenance and synchronization overhead. The twiki was customized to enforce the WinWin negotiation model for requirements negotiation, which made
it necessary to have a page for each item – to facilitate easy search and navigation. The maintenance overhead outweighed the benefits in the long run.

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Avoiding a major source of system and software project failures by finding more non-technical-user friendly methods of system definition and evolution has been a significant challenge. Five generations of the WinWin negotiation framework have improved such capabilities, but even the latest WikiWinWin tool set has encountered problems with non-technical stakeholder usage. With the advent of social networking and popularity of Facebook and Gmail, we have developed a radically different way for collaborative
requirements management and negotiations. The new avatar of
the WinWin framework called ‘Winbook’ is based on the
social networking paradigm, similar to Facebook and content
organization using color coded labels, similar to Gmail. Initial
usage results on 14 small projects involving non-technical
stakeholders have shown profound implications on the way
requirements are negotiated and used through the system and
software definition and development processes. Winbook has
also been adopted as part of a project to bridge requirements
and architecting for a major US government organization.

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