How can we generate useful Technical requirements for developers?


Undeniably, the construction sector has many technological challenges to be achieved in the coming years.  The partial implementation of many technologies (Building Information Modelling (BIM), Augmented Reality (AR) and 3D printing, for example) indicates something is happening in the sector and many of these new technologies are being well received by the companies, managers and other stakeholders involved in the sector.

However, as many of these new technologies are not specifically designed for the sector, it is sometimes difficult to evaluate if they have actual potential to be successfully implemented within a construction project.

For this reason, the work carried out by the partners of the ACCEPT project has represented a unique opportunity to collate and compare the real needs of the professionals of the construction sector, not only according to the goals of the project, but also in identifying the wider challenges and opportunities associated with technological reform within the industry.  The ACCEPT project consortium is seeking to create a suite of new IT applications for use on a construction site.  An element of research undertaken within the project focusses on the primary outputs of the first year of the project, wherein the expected outcome was to generate a collection of user stories from industry Focus Groups to create a robust functionality specification, upon which the technical IT applications could be developed. The Focus Groups were broadly carried out according to the SCRUM  approach where each user story represents a single requirement demanded by a specific professional.  Finally, 21 Focus Groups were held and more than 300 discrete user stories were generated and collected from 140 people that were involved throughout the process, ratifying a remarkable amount of industry participation.  The image below give a snapshot of how industrial partners worked to prioritize over 300 user stories.

Degree v Relevance

 

A peer-reviewed paper is being presented at the 23rd ICE Conference in Madeira next week, explaining the approach taken towards collecting qualitative feedback – considering the professional demographic of participants, and the process adopted to standardize user story collection and definition.  The methods by which results were extracted from the focus groups, and the approach to collation of user stories will also be discussed to demonstrate the manner in which the ACCEPT project defined a Functionality Checklist for technical development.  The paper will conclude by analysing the effectiveness of user stories as a methodology for generating relevant software functionality requirements from an end-user perspective.

We look forward to seeing some of you there !!