Dialogue Mapping for GuideaMaps

Student Name
Nick Van Isterdael
Thesis Type
Master Thesis
Thesis Status
Academic Year
2014 - 2015
Master in de Toegepaste Informatica

In any software development process, one of the rst phases includes collecting and formulating the requirements that the software should meet. This is important because starting from the right requirements will allow developing software that satises the users as well as the customer. This is why collecting requirements is so vital in the whole software development process. In addition, maintaining or modifying existing software can also be a difficult task, especially when it is not clear what the original requirements and rationale were behind software design decisions. Therefore, requirement collection and analysis is an important phase in the development of software. 

Both tasks, developing and maintaining software, can be made easier by providing the developers with the design rationale of the original software in an explicit way. Design rationale documentation can provide an insight into why design decisions, such as requirements, have been made, what other alternatives have been considered and why these alternatives have been accepted or declined. Therefore it is important to provide developers with tools to document the requirements collection and analysis process.

In this thesis, I will extend an existing tool that has been created at the Web & Information Systems Engineering (WISE) laboratory of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The software tool is called GuideaMaps and has been developed to support the requirement elicitation phase for the development of domain specic software. GuideaMaps has been extended with a dialogue mapping technique. Dialogue mapping is a technique that is used to capture the rationale behind decision-making. It does this by creating a visual and structured representation of a group discussion. This visual representation is called a decision map. Dialogue mapping takes use of our human ability to grasp and structure visual representation of information easily.

The tool is evaluated by means of a case study involving seven groups of participants with a dierent technical background. This was done because one of the requirements of the tool was that dierent stakeholders with a different technical background should be able to use the tool. The results of the study showed that the participants were motivated when using the tool and that the tool was usable by the dierent stakeholders that participate in the requirement elicitation process. The importance of guidance during the requirement elicitation process and the visual representation of the decisionmaking process are also discussed.