Affiliated Organization

Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop


Requirements have been the culprits for budget overruns and failures in software development projects. Fixing the requirements in the early stages of a project can dramatically reduce recurring costs. Past research has focused on linear sequential requirements activities as a means to fix the requirement problems. This line of thinking has led researchers to overlook the possible solutions to requirement problems in social, cognitive, and organizational factors. We probe the success of open source software development and its implications for the linear approach to requirements activity. Despite a wide scale distribution of requirements knowledge among people and artifacts, open source projects have been able to manage and evolve requirements in an organic way leading to high quality outcomes. Even though such efforts include little emphasis on explicit quality in RE practices, these projects often come up with software that meets high quality requirements. In order to understand this anomaly in open source software development, we apply the theory of distributed cognition to understand how social, structural, and temporal dimension impacts the quality of the requirements.