How Definitions Embed Past Choices
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How Definitions Embed Past Choices

A definition is a record of past decisions. This is a simple idea that’s interesting to unpack. Let’s take the example of the term “Service” that was redefined in another text. There, I took the common definition of “Service” from WordNet, which was the following: Service: work done by one person or group that benefits…

Theories of Definition: Belnap
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Theories of Definition: Belnap

Belnap is less concerned than Kant with categories of definitions, than with the ”good” properties of definitions. For him, a definition tries to explain the meaning of a word or phrase. ”I consider [definitions] only in the sense of explanations of the meanings of words or other bits of language. (I use ’explanation’ as a…

Theories of Definition: Kant
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Theories of Definition: Kant

For Kant, to define is to identify all primitive properties of that which you are trying to define, whereby that set of properties allows you, me, others, to unambiguously distinguish the thing from others. It is important that all these properties in the set, i.e., properties which together make up the definition, are primitive. Primitive…

Plastic Definitions
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Plastic Definitions

The Define/Destroy method makes, destroys, rebuilds definitions. A definition is, in other words, the key thing that is made, changed, discarded when applying the method. These definitions are unstable by design, and this makes them very different from ones in glossaries of mature domains of knowledge. In Define/Destroy, a definition is temporary, whereas in, say,…

Define/Destroy a Business Services Marketplace
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Define/Destroy a Business Services Marketplace

This text goes into the details of a single Define/Destroy iteration, in a project I was part of in 2017. I show how the Define/Destroy iteration was done, including the detail of the glossary built in the Define part of the iteration, and the glossary remade as a result of the Destroy part of that first iteration.

Define/Destroy: A Paradox to Accelerate Innovation
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Define/Destroy: A Paradox to Accelerate Innovation

Innovation is iterative: start from an idea, find flaws, replace it with a better one, repeat. Each cycle destroys to rebuild. This is intentional constructive destruction; it isn’t Schumpeter’s creative destruction from systemic contradictions.  Invent, destroy, repeat. If ideas are willingly exposed to, and revised in response to constructive criticism, then the more iterations, the…

Building a Loop around a Requirement
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Building a Loop around a Requirement

In this text, I take a requirement, explain why it exists, identify variables that matter, hypothesize their relationships, and explain how to use this information when designing a solution to the requirement, and the mechanism for evaluating how well the solution satisfies the requirement. In other words, I take a requirement and build a Requirements…

Labeled Directed Graphs from Requirements Loops
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Labeled Directed Graphs from Requirements Loops

For any Requirements Loop, it is possible (and not difficult) to define directed labeled graphs that reflect, in a well defined format, specific properties of that loop. The graphs can be used to compute answers to some specific questions about the propositions and relationships between propositions in a Requirements Loop. In turn, we can make…

What Is Destructive in a Requirements Loop?
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What Is Destructive in a Requirements Loop?

Why is a Requirements Loop a loop, and why is it a destructive loop? Any Requirements Loop has three explanations: an explanation of requirements, of a solution to these requirements, and of how to show that the solution satisfies requirements. Simply put, if an explanation gives the mechanism generating some events of interest (as in…

Requirements Loops: Decomposing an Example
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Requirements Loops: Decomposing an Example

An exercise I used to do with students in my Decision Analysis & Requirements Engineering lecture was to ask them to identify a problem that they have at university, and to describe it. My goal was to have them work in that lecture on problems that affected them. One group of students, in the 2019-2020…

Requirements Loops: Examples
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Requirements Loops: Examples

Several examples of Requirements Loop concept instances (actual Requirements Loops) are given below. Each example is represented simply as text. No specific modeling language is used. This is because the Requirements Loop concept ignores the specifics one or of the language mix that may be best suited to represent the information which makes up an…

Requirements Loops: Definition & Purpose
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Requirements Loops: Definition & Purpose

A “Requirements Loop” is an evidence-supported explanation of  How observed events in an environment have led or are leading to the creation and persistence of those requirements, How to change the environment in order to satisfy the requirements in the future, and How to measure the change in the environment, in order to evaluate the…

Machine/AI as Inventor? Notes on Thaler v. USPTO
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Machine/AI as Inventor? Notes on Thaler v. USPTO

Can “an artificial intelligence machine be an ‘inventor’ under the Patent Act”? According to the Memorandum Opinion filed on September 2, 2021, in the case 1:20-cv-00903, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires that the inventor is one or more people [1]. An “AI machine” cannot be named an inventor on a patent that…

When Is a Design Problem a Sequence of Decision Problems?
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When Is a Design Problem a Sequence of Decision Problems?

Are decision problems and design problems related? Is one part of the other? Or is the relationship different? In a decision problem, there are, roughly speaking options and an objective, and the problem is to select the one option that best satisfies the objective. (There are other things in a decision problem, such as preferences…

When (if ever) Is a Claim Objective?
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When (if ever) Is a Claim Objective?

“Objective”, as in, for example, “what I’m saying is objective”, or “that statement is objective”, or “we need objective criteria when making these decisions”, is a complicated term. It takes a lot of effort to make sure it is understood as intended (or closely enough). It is therefore a costly word to use. Why is…

What Is Evidence?
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What Is Evidence?

There is no single definition of the term “evidence”, and trying to make one isn’t the purpose of this text. But there are ways of telling if something might be evidence, and knowing when it clearly isn’t. Such knowledge helps you develop a taste, so to speak, in evidence. Isn’t that valuable, given how frequently you may be giving evidence to support your ideas, and how frequently others do the same to you?

What Is an Explanation?
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What Is an Explanation?

Many people spent a lot of time, across centuries, trying to build good explanations, and trying to distinguish good from bad ones. While there is no consensus on what “explanation” is (always and everywhere), it is worth knowing what good explanations may have in common. It helps develop a taste in explanations, which is certainly helpful given how frequently you may need to explain something, and how often others offered explanations to you.

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Requirements Contracts: Definition, Design, and Analysis

What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for a proposition to be called a requirement? In Requirements Engineering research, a proposition is a requirement if and only if specific grammatical and/or communication conditions hold. I offer an alternative, that a proposition is a requirement if and only if specific contractual, economic, and engineering relationships hold….

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What Lies behind Requirements? Statement Grounds in Requirements Elicitation

In requirements engineering (RE), an early yet critical activity consists in eliciting the requirements from various stakeholders, who usually have different assumptions, knowledge, and intentions. The goal during elicitation is to understand what stakeholders expect from a given software, expectations which then feed the analysis, prioritization, validation, and ultimately specification activities of the RE process….

Building University Spin-Offs from Research on Decision-Making
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Building University Spin-Offs from Research on Decision-Making

This short interview on my research on decision making and use of it in companies, was done in 2018 with fnrs.tv, part of the Belgian Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique – FNRS, in Brussels. Each of my first two academic books led to the founding of a spin-off; see the books here.

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What If People Learn Requirements Over Time?

The overall objective of Requirements Engineering is to specify, in a systematic way, a system that satisfies the expectations of its stakeholders. Despite tremendous effort in the field, recent studies demonstrate this is objective is not always achieved. In this paper, we discuss one particularly challenging factor to Requirements Engineering projects, namely the change of…

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What Happens to Intentional Concepts in Requirements Engineering if Intentional States Cannot Be Known?

I assume in this paper that the proposition “I cannot know your intentional states” is true. I consider its consequences on the use of so-called “intentional concepts” for Requirements Engineering. I argue that if you take this proposition to be true, then intentional concepts (e.g., goal, belief, desire, intention, etc.) start to look less relevant…

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Monitoring in Business Intelligence Requirements Engineering

Business intelligence (BI) is perceived as a critical activity for organizations and is increasingly discussed in requirements engineering (RE). RE can contribute to the successful implementation of BI systems by assisting the identification and analysis of such systems’ requirements and the production of the specification of the system to be. Within RE for BI systems,…

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Planning Optimal Agile Releases via Requirements Optimization

This paper focuses on improving requirements quality in agile projects by determining requirements prioritization. Current methods suggest to take into account business value in order to determine the requirements priority rank. In practice it was observed that many other factors enter into the equation, such as implementation cost and functionality dependencies. Since agile methods suggest…

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AnalyticGraph: Next Generation Requirements Modeling and Reasoning Tools

Graphical Requirements Modeling (GRM) consists of representing requirements in diagrams: requirements (and other relevant information) are represented as nodes, and relationships between them as edges. Relationships can show, for example, that one requirement refines another, that some are in conflict with others, that they are more or less desirable, and so on. Various software tools…

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Requirements for Content Recommendation Systems

This paper addresses the modelling of requirements for a content Recommendation System (RS) for Online Social Networks (OSNs). On OSNs, a user switches roles constantly between content generator and content receiver. The goals and softgoals are different when the user is generating a post, as opposed as replying to a post. In other words, the…

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The Design of Requirements Modelling Languages

This book explains in detail how to define requirements modelling languages – formal languages used to solve requirement-related problems in requirements engineering. It moves from simple languages to more complicated ones and uses these languages to illustrate a discussion of major topics in requirements modelling language design. The book positions requirements problem solving within the…

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Towards a General Formal Framework of Coherence Management in RE

Coherence Management refers to all efforts one needs to invest, in order to ensure that information shown in, and implied by a representation of requirements makes sense as a whole, is coherent. Coherence Management is an umbrella term we use to cover, and more importantly, stimulate research on relationships between identification, measurement, and action on…

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Requirements Problem and Solution Concepts for Adaptive Systems Engineering

Requirements Engineering (RE) focuses on eliciting, modelling, and analyzing the requirements and environment of a system-to-be in order to design its specification. The design of the specification, usually called the Requirements Problem (RP), is a complex problem solving task, as it involves, for each new system-to-be, the discovery and exploration of, and decision making in,…

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Topic Relevance in Requirements Elicitation

Requirements elicitation is the activity in requirements engineering (RE) which focuses on the collection of information about requirements of the system-to-be and its environment. One important challenge is elicitation incompleteness; it occurs when information, which may have been relevant for requirements engineering, is not elicited. This may be due to various factors, such as that…

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How Stakeholders’ Commitment May Affect the Success of Requirements Elicitation

Requirements elicitation consists in collecting information about the requirements and the environment of a system-to-be. It usually involves business analysts who are eliciting information, and stakeholders who are providing information. This paper investigates how the commitment of stakeholders to a RE project influences the results of elicitation. We suggest a way to measure the commitment…

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Representation of Rules for Relevant Recommendations to Online Social Networks Users

In our prior work, we identified rules for use in recommendation algorithms on Online Social Network (OSN) in order to increase the relevance of content suggested to a user. The resulting recommendation algorithms filter out and prioritize event types for OSN users (such as photo posts by friends, status posts, shared content, etc.), and are…

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On Notification Importance for Online Social Network Users

Over the last decade, online social networks (OSNs) have been growing quickly to become some of the largest systems in use. Their users are sharing more and more content, and in turn have access to vast amounts of information from and about each other. This increases the risk of information overload for every user. We…