The Crowd in Requirements Engineering: The Landscape and Challenges
Performing requirements engineering with the crowd of stakeholders (CrowdRE) turns it into a participatory effort supported by automation, leading to better requirements and software quality. Although any stakeholder can contribute, CrowdRE emphasizes one group whose role is often trivialized: users. Engaging a large number of users in requirements engineering (RE) has always been a challenge with traditional RE methods. 1 This is especially true when RE should involve a large number of
... e number of software product users (a crowd) who are beyond an organization's reach. 2 Traditional RE approaches usually involve a limited number of representatives in interviews or focus groups. Advanced RE approaches applied in market-driven RE 3 enable companies to directly interact with key stakeholders using ad hoc feedback-gathering channels. 4 However, these approaches miss the opportunity to continuously involve large, heterogeneous groups of users who express their feedback through a variety of media. 2, 5, 6 This means developers can't consider the diverse backgrounds of user subgroups when they're developing a product's next version. 7,8 So, valuable resources for RE remain unused, and software products might not meet users' needs. Crowd-based requirements engineering (CrowdRE) is an umbrella term for automated or semiautomated approaches to gather and analyze information from a crowd to derive validated user requirements. 9 Normally, the crowd is an undefined group of people. 10 But for CrowdRE, the crowd is in most cases a large group of current or potential users of a software product who interact among themselves or with representatives of a software company (for example, the product owner or development team). CrowdRE strives to mobilize as many crowd members as possible to communicate and discuss their needs regarding the evolution of existing software products. We call the communication from users "user feedback," although such feedback can also come from other stakeholders. In addition, our vision of CrowdRE includes monitoring software application context and usage. It also strongly focuses on a participatory approach in which intrinsically motivated users become crowd members because they benefit from software products that meet their needs.