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Openness and Requirements: Opportunities and Tradeoffs in Software Ecosystems

Conference paper
Authors Eric Knauss
Daniela Damian
Alessia Knauss
Arber Borici
Published in Proceedings of 22nd International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE '14)
ISBN 978-1-4799-3031-9
Publisher IEEE
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Computer Science and Engineering (GU)
Language en
Links https://oerich.files.wordpress.com/...
Keywords requirements engineering; software ecosystem; mixed method
Subject categories Software Engineering

Abstract

A growing number of software systems is characterized by continuous evolution as well as by significant interdependence with other systems (e.g. services, apps). Such software ecosystems promise increased innovation power and support for consumer oriented software services at scale, and are characterized by a certain openness of their information flows. While such openness supports project and reputation management, it also brings some challenges to Requirements Engineering (RE) within the ecosystem. We report from a mixed-method study of IBM®'s CLM® ecosystem that uses an open commercial development model. We analyzed data from from interviews within several ecosystem actors, participatory observation, and software repositories, to describe the flow of product requirements information through the ecosystem, how the open communication paradigm in software ecosystems provides opportunities for `just-in-time' RE, as well as some of the challenges faced when traditional requirements engineering approaches are applied within such an ecosystem. More importantly, we discuss two tradeoffs brought about the openness in software ecosystems: i) allowing open, transparent communication while keeping intellectual property confidential within the ecosystem, and ii) having the ability to act globally on a long-term strategy while empowering product teams to act locally to answer end-users' context specific needs in a timely manner.

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