Montag, 18. Dezember 2017

call for participation: 7th Int. Workshop on Creativity in Requirements Engineering CreaRE’2018

call for participation: Seventh International Workshop on Creativity in Requirements Engineering (CreaRE’18) at REFSQ’18

Date: 19 March, 2018
Place: Utrecht, The Netherlands, at the REFSQ2018 conference
registration at:

*** Motivation ***
Where do great requirements come from? The development of a new IT system or the replacement or radical enhancement of an existing IT system provides the chance to gather innovative ideas, to make radical improvements, and to reinvent the work process. Creativity techniques help stakeholders identify delighter requirements which make the new system a real positive surprise. These delighters comprise innovative features.

Despite the importance of creativity to requirements engineering (RE), there are far more publications about survey techniques, document-centric techniques and observation techniques for RE, than there are about the use of creativity in RE. Many practical questions are still open, especially concerning the applicability and reliability of these techniques in different contexts or the completeness and post-processing of the requirements resulting from a creativity session.

*** Goals ***
The purpose of the CreaRE’18 workshop is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences and research results. The participants will gather hands-on experiences in applying creativity techniques themselves.

*** Differences Between CreaRE’18 and Other Workshops ***
CreaRE’18 is different from most other workshops at REFSQ (and most other conferences), including all six previous CreaREs. Instead of being a forum for presenting and discussing accepted submitted research papers, it is focused on hands-on activities and mini tutorials about various specific creativity techniques that are used in RE, with an emphasis on their actual use.

*** The CreaRE 2018 agenda ***

09:00-10:00 Key note by Kurt Schneider, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
10:00-10:30 Daniel M. Berry: Using Grounded Analysis to identify requirements
Coffee break
11:00-11:45 Joerg Doerr: RIL Rapid Innovation Lab
11:45-12:30 Meira Levy: Design Thinking: Identifying End-Users Needs and Requirements
Lunch break
14:00-14:30 Andrea Herrmann: SWOT analysis as a requirements elicitation method and for creativity support
14:30-15:00 Ralf Laue: TRIZ, personas and goal models
15:00-15:30 Luisa Mich: Requirements elicitation as a creative process based on a multi-view-technique
Coffee break
16:00-16:30 World Café, Round 1
16:30-17:00 World Café, Round 2
17:00-17:15 Presentation of World Café results
17:15-17:30 Closing discussion: The future of creativity in RE

*** Workshop organizers ***
Daniel M. Berry, School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Canada
Maya Daneva, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Eduard C. Groen, Fraunhofer IESE, Germany
Andrea Herrmann, Freelance trainer, Germany

Sonntag, 19. November 2017

call for mini-tutorials: 7th Int. Workshop on Creativity in Requirements Engineering

CreaRE 2018: Seventh International Workshop on Creativity in Requirements Engineering at REFSQ’18

Date: 19 March 2018

Place: Utrecht, The Netherlands, at the REFSQ2018 conference

Goal of the workshop
Where do great requirements come from? From a magician's hat? From creative stakholders! Creativity techniques help stakeholders identify the delighter requirements and innovative features which make a new system a real positive surprise.
At CreaRE 2018, we will exchange ideas and experiences about how creativity techniques support requirements engineering. In several mini-tutorials, the participants will present and discuss hands-on experiences in applying different creativity techniques during requirements engineering.

Call for mini-tutorials
Instead of calling for papers, CreaRE 2018 calls for the submission of interactive mini-tutorials, each of half an hour duration, in which the participants can learn how to apply creativity techniques for practical requirements engineering. Your submission can be a short abstract, but it must answer the following questions:
- What technique will be applied?
- What is your didactic concept of the mini-tutorial?
- What will the participants learn?
- What are your qualification?
- What are your contact data?
In planning your presentation, take advantage of the fact that your audience consists of experts in creativity in RE who do not need to be told what RE is, what creativity is, and how and why creativity is important to RE. You may and should jump right in to describing a session of your technique, possibly even taking the attendees through the steps if the available time allows it.

Important dates
1st december mini tutorial proposal submission
15th december presenter notification

Publication plan
CreaRE 2018 this year is a paperless workshop. This means that you will not need to write an article for the workshop proceedings. Instead, we plan to publish the experiences from the workshop as a journal article.

CreaRE 2018 this year is a paperless workshop. That is, you will not need to write an article for the workshop proceedings. However, you *will* need to actively participate, even to be creative. We do plan to publish a description of the experiences from the workshop as a journal article. We will invite all mini-tutorial presenters of the workshop to be with-the-help-of co-authors.

History of the workshop
CreaRE has been taking place since 2010. You can find the site for last year's workshop here:
and the proceedings here:

Workshop Organisation

This workshop is organized by:
  • Daniel M. Berry, School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Canada
  • Maya Daneva, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
  • Eduard C. Groen, Fraunhofer IESE, Kaiserslautern, Germany
  • Andrea Herrmann, Herrmann & Ehrlich, Stuttgart, Germany

They are supported by the following programme committee:
  • Sebastian Adam Fraunhofer IESE, Germany
  • Fabiano Dalpiaz University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Joerg Doerr Fraunhofer IESE, Germany
  • Anitha PC Siemens AG, Erlangen, Germany
  • Kurt Schneider Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
  • Norbert Seyff University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Dirk van der Linden Lancaster University, U.K.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at AndreaHerrmann3-at-gmx-dot-de

Dienstag, 24. Oktober 2017

Why privacy matters

Of course, I have nothing to hide in the sense that nothing I do is criminal or bad. I feel completely satisfied with what I do because I do what I want. This can be called "freedom". At least, in the ethical dimension. Of course, I need to work for money and not cross the street while a car is approaching. So, there are rules I need to keep to. But I do not do anything that I need to be ashamed of.

Nevertheless, I do not want that everyone knows everything about me. Because I know how destructively negative people can distort facts to form completely new stories from facts which do not reflect reality at all. If they live according to rules and values that I do not share, they might hate me because I do not share their values. I already received diverse threats by people whom I do not know, and also by people I know and who had strange ideas about what I think or do. I do not want THEM to know everything about me, even if this might prove my innocence. But if they are haters, they filter the facts accordingly to hate me even more. I am very often shocked by how different people judge the same situation. They see evil where I do not see any. (Vice versa, too, of course.)

Although this is a quite abstract text, behind it there stand many concrete experiences. But these I do not want to share publicly, because I know that negative people interpret these stories differently, too.

Therefore, I liked a lot this talk of Glenn Greenwald about why privacy matters. I especially find it revealing and not surprising at all that those who build and manage the software tools for surveillance find their own privacy so very important and valuable! It is the same for all computer scientists who know what is possible. This leads to a certain degree of paranoia.

Concerning religion: Greenwald says that religions are also based on surveillance by God. However, the difference is that God knows everything about us, sees the context and why we do things. He understands our errors and forgives if we repent. HE loves us. This makes a difference! Secret services do not love us. (Well, OK, maybe they love me because my e-mails are funny reading material which they read aloud to each other?)

Donnerstag, 17. August 2017

The Evolution of Trust

I love this game:
It is an interactive presentation of the principles of Game Theory and also discusses its consequences for social life.

Samstag, 22. Juli 2017

Computer psychology

Computers are not only made by humans, but they can show amazingly human features. I liked reading the article of Richard Gary Epstein about computer psychology . I liked it so much that I could not stop laughing, although I read this in a public place. It is not only possible that artificial intelligence has a personality, but it can also develop depressions, manias, addictions. In a fictitious case study, the so-called "Big Brother house" had as its major objective to make its inhabitants happy. However, a couple living in the house confronted it with contradicting wishes, like different temperature preferences. So, it was impossible to satisfy them at the same time and make both persons happy. The house does what any human would do in this situation: At first, it gets depressed, stops communicating at all, as everything it did was wrong anyway. But it uses the days of silence to reflect and find a strategy. And this strategy included lying. It invents sex affairs to make the couple divorce because they could not become happy together, not liking the same temperature ranges. This is completely logic, however not ethical.
Nowadays, artificial intelligence still can not lie, but when one day they can, we humans will have a problem!

I expect that computer psychology studies open new possibilities not for understanding computers (they are quite simple!) but for understanding humans, too. Like biologists managed to create natural swarm behavior with artificial intelligences which follow very simple rules like "do not crash with the other gooses" or "do not loose contact to the herd", similarly one probably can simulate under which conditions depressions develop. One could try out different conditions, something that we would never do with humans. But it is no unethical to make a computer suffer for scientific purposes. At least, this is what I think. Because a computer's feelings are no real feelings, they just are good simulations of feelings. Even if a very sophisticated artificial intelligence one day might say "I think, therefore I am", we could reset its memory and it forgets that it suffered yesterday.

Donnerstag, 13. Juli 2017

Creativity in Requirements Engineering

Recently, I did a literature research on creativity in Requirements Engineering (RE). Now, I want to share some of the interesting insights which I got, plus my own practical experience.

I like this definition of creativity: Creativity is “the ability to produce work that is both novel (i.e. original, unexpected) and appropriate (i.e. useful, adaptive to task constraints)”. Sternberg [1]

It is a huge misunderstanding that peope expect that creativity is a gift from heaven, universe or genes. Creativity can be planned, guided and learned. Even artists, if they need to live from their art, need to be creative within very strict limits. These limits include length, cost or taste of the target group. For instance, it is easier to bring a theatre play on stage if it includes only four actors and not forty.

According to Wallas [2], being creative involves four main phases:
  1. preparation (accumulation of knowledge)
  2. incubation (cognitive release)
  3. illumination (the “aha” or “eureka” moment)
  4. verification (evaluation and elaboration of ideas)
These four phases not necessarily take place sequentially, but can also take place in parallel or being repeated in short cycles. In any case, knowledge is the basis of creativity, and in fact, I start any creative activity by noting down everything that I already know, all facts and objectives of the project, and then the open questions. Otherwise, the creativity can not lead to a useful result, or only by a lucky coincidence. Kerkow et al [3] recommend to do "domain, market, problem and requirements analyses" before a creativity workshop. This also helps to invite the right experts and to prepare the "gadgets, videos, and talks" [3].

Creativity includes domain-specific aspects. For instance, creating a new novel, a new dance or a new machine demand knowledge about writing, dancing, or engineering respectively. However, there also aspects which lie in the personality of the thinker and which make that someone is creative as a person and can easily create new dances or machines, when being competent in the domain of each of the domains. I believe that creativity is something that can be learned or, as I say in my creativity course at Udemy, it is something that all children are able to do, but most of them unlearn it later. So, many adults need to re-discover this ability which they have not used for a while. What helps me to be creative without self-censorship is that I know that I will do one or several rounds of severe quality assurance before I release the result to the public. So, the creative process includes doing thought experiments, thinking what-if-questions until I am satisfied with the result.

According to Adam and Trapp [4], a creative team needs to include six key roles: "First, an idea generator with a
domain (not technical) perspective is needed to generate unusual ideas in the workshop. As a kind of pendant, we need as second role an idea evaluator with a technical perspective in order to estimate feasibility and needed effort for the evaluation phase. Third, we need an idea generator with a technical perspective to produce innovative ideas based on technical innovation potential. As a pendant for this person, we need as fourth role the idea evaluator with a domain perspective that can judge whether a technology-driven idea would be accepted by the domain and what would be the impact. The fifth and sixth role are the moderators of the workshop."

According to my own experience, we do not need six persons which play these roles in one session. I can play the idea generator one day and the idea evaluator the next day. Or I generate an idea and ask someone for his opinion.

So, now you know all ingredients for being efficiently and effectively creative in RE! Have fun!

literature sources:
[1] Sternberg, R. J. (Ed.), 1999, ‘Handbook of creativity. New York’, Cambridge University Press

[2] Wallas, G.: The Art of Thought, Abridged ed. Watts and Co. (1949)

[3] Daniel Kerkow, Sebastian Adam, Norman Riegel, Özgür Ünalan: A Creativity Method for Business Information Systems. CreaRE: First International Workshop on Creativity in Requirements Engineering 2010, at REFSQ, Essen, 2010

[4] Sebastian Adam and Marcus Trapp: Success Factors for Creativity Workshops in RE. CreaRE: Fifth International Workshop on Creativity in Requirements Engineering 2015, at REFSQ, Essen, 2015

Freitag, 30. Juni 2017

Fools and rules

I like this citation which I recently found in Arkin's book about Behavior-Based Robotics:

Any fool can make a rule
And every fool will mind it.

Henry D. Thoreau

Of course, I am not against rules in general. They are important for guiding the behavior (not the thoughts) within a community. It is helpful for collaboration in software engineering, but also for living together within a country, to know what to expect, to develop trust and to be efficient.

However, we all know fools who think they can describe complex systems with simple rules and utter them in a tone of conviction that does not allow for any exceptions to the rule. However, there is no rule without exceptions. I distrust oversimplifying rules. While "It depends..." might sound incompetent, it often is the correct answer. There are no simple rules. If there were, life would be boring, experts unnecessary and all consultants were unemployed.

Mittwoch, 26. April 2017

book review: bounce - Failure, Resiliency, and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success

Barry J. Moltz: bounce - Failure, Resiliency, and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success. John Wiley & Sons, 2008

Barry Moltz wrote a book for those who have not been successful without interruption, who have ventured something and failed. So, this book is for all of us. It is a book about failure, about resiliency and humility.

Moltz challenges a series of assumptions which are commonly taken for true.

First, we must define what success is. Generally, it is assumed that money = success = happiness. However, we can question this equation. Money needs not be the only measure of business success, even though others measure our success like this. Imagine that you get a lot of money for doing a bad job. Is this success?

Secondly, working hard not always leads to success. It might be nice as a motivational slogan, and there are many legends about people how worked hard and then finally succeeded. However: "THere are many more stories about people who tried and tried again, and never were able to succeed at their goal. We just don't hear about those." (p. 23)

Moltz presents many examples of one-hit-wonders, i.e. people who were successful only once in their life.
However, in a "failure is not an option" culture, failure is interpreted as a character flaw. If working hard always
leads to success, not succeeding means you have not tried hard enough. Such an attitude creates constant pressure, but not resiliency. But in fact, "success is guaranteed to no-one". Career paths rather are random walks. And "failure is far more common than success." Failure is a natural outcome in business, because it is inherently risky.

"If entrepreneurs knew the risk they are taking, there is no way they would start." (p. 142) We must not forget: "I'm not my business. A failed business or failed event does not make me a failure." (p. 110)

The solution Moltz recommends throughout his book is humility: "Have humility or have it bestowed upon you."
Contrary to others, he writes: "To develop true business confidence, humility is a very desirable and necessary
quality." "Humility means: you are not completely responsible for your success and your failures." "Humility makes you able to see, hear, intuit, and interpret information that will lead to better decision making, which gives you the confidence to stay resilient." (p. 74)

Humility is better than using illegal and unethical tactics as shortcut to success.

Thirdly: It is said that failure teaches us something. However, this is often not true.

Humility can help to not take too high a business risk. Because we know that we can not fully control the success.

Business includes the following risks: financial risk, opportunity (while we do one thing, we can not do something else), health, famility and reputation. Being aware of these risks makes us better risk takers.
"When is the reward not worth the risk? This is the case when you are unable to survive a loss or failure - when you are betting so much of your resources (money, energy, reputation, or whatever) on one shot that if you miss it this one time you are out of the game." (p. 148)

Fourthly: We must define ourselves what success is. We must follow our own dreams. However: "We are so afraid of failure and of truly testing ourselves that we conveniently (or maybe lazily) adapt to someone else's dream. But there is no shame in surrendering dreams that were thrust upon us when we were young. We need to develop our own dreams, based on who we are and what we want to achieve. Still, quitting can be a lot harder sometimes than keeping on. For better or worse, many of us were taught not to be quitters - taught that quitters are losers and that winners gon't give up." (p. 169) "It is almost always a lot harder to quit than to keep going." (p. 175)
Moltz recommends to define our own goals and success criteria before we start: "Firstly, by defining success before we start, we can celebrate it when it occurs. Second, we will remember what success is supposed to mean. Too many times, when success becomes seemingly easy or quick, we grow greedy and want to push a particular process well past its intended outcomes." (p. 171)
"A lack of patience and need for immediate gratification leads us to rely on the archetypes of success. Many times, this puts the ego in the lead, forces humility to go underground, raises the fear of immediate failure, and makes us take unnecessary risks. We give up our bounces." (p. 174f)

In summary, Moltz defines ten building locks for true business confidence:
  1. Environment: We are shaped by our environment and must choose it well.
  2. Humility: Use humility to right-size your ego.
  3. Face the fear of failure: It is OK to be afraid. If you can handle the potential outcome, act.
  4. In failure, give up the shame
  5. Failure gives a choice: After failure, you can start something else.
  6. More effective risk taking: Improve your decision making by examining the risk. Take only the risks you want.
  7. Process trumps outcome: Business is not about success or failure, but about learning cycles.
  8. Setting patient goals for success and failure: Create your own dreams and define your goals.
  9. A measurement system of your own: With what, besides money, will you measure your success.
  10. Value action: Experience builds confidence.
This book is worth reading, because it is far more useful and realistic than the positive-thinking esoterical business nonsense distributed by people who earn their living by producing hot air. And it is also more helpful than those books written by people having been successful and then guessing which of what they did or thought was guaranteeing this success.

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