Systems and Conflicts
Fernando Muradas (Brazilian Navy / Oxford University)
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Figure 1 – Classification of Group tasks (McGrath, 1983)

There is a consensus that around 70% of all problems related to system development are consequences of inadequate requirements elicitation. Thus, an improvement on requirements elicitation is mandatory to any software development process improvement initiative.

When we observe the requirements area in a detailed manner, it is possible to notice that it depends directly on group activities such as requirements elicitation and validation, as there are many people from the client and development organisations involved. Any group task relies on several factors. Among these factors there are: interpersonal relationships, intergroup relationships, social and psychological factors, relationships between the group and the tasks to be performed, and finally the group and tasks’ relationships with the environment.

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RE: An Alternative Perspective on Microfinance
Camilo Fitzgerald, August 2012

Community Based Saving Bank in Cambodia

Recently I had a chat with the CEO of a microfinance institute in Nicaragua. We exchanged thoughts on the problems faced in microfinance and the types of solutions that requirements engineering can provide. I was very happy when the conversation culminated in a job offer in a research position for when I finish my doctoral thesis, which I gladly accepted. So, what exactly can RE do for microfinance?

Microfinance is a movement aimed at providing financial services to those in developing countries who would not otherwise receive them. Management of loans and other financial services has a cost that remains constant regardless of the amount of money involved. There is therefore little incentive for commercial banks to provide these services to poorer sections of society where it becomes difficult to break even. The microfinance movement aims to set up self- sufficient financial service providers that enable small businesses to manage their risk in developing countries – thereby stimulating economic growth.

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Event Report: Power and Politics in Requirements Engineering
Monde Kalumbilo, University College London (June 2012)

Thursday 14 June 2012, 6pm-8:30pm – BCS, 5 Southampton Street, LondonThe aim of this RESG event was to present work on an exploration of concepts of power and politics, and a proposal of a framework in which they can be modelled within the context of requirements engineering.

Emmanuel Letier (University College London & Chair) in introducing the event highlighted how the work, which is a joint effort by Alastair Milne (City University London) and Neil Maiden (City University London), had won the best paper award at the 2011 International Conference on Requirements Engineering (RE’11) in Trento Italy. In his opening remarks, Emmanuel commented on how unusual the paper was from typical technical presentations at RE’11, reading more like an essay.

Alastair Milne presented the paper. This RESG event was Alastair’s first opportunity to present the work as he had not attended the RE’11 conference. He started his presentation by sharing how his talk was inspired by his experiences in working on requirements as a developer, systems analyst, project manager, and on the business side, where he found that in reality people are often unreasonable, not very helpful, focus on trivial rather than important areas and do not make decisions on a ‘rational’ basis. Alistair’s assertion is that if power and politics are taken into consideration, such behaviour starts to make a lot more sense.

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