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Requirements Elicitation is a technical and analytical process, but it is also a highly social and potentially emotive activity. All but the smallest software developments can have a wider organisational impact and the potential to change people’s working lives in positive and negative ways. Users’ reactions to such changes are shaped by their own personal values, motivations and emotions. Exploring and understanding such information can help requirements analysts in:
■Developing a deep understanding of users’ long term goals, working practices, preferences and problems
■Making design decisions
■Building a rapport with users
■Anticipating user wants and needs
Sarah Thew has been exploring these ideas during her PhD, carrying out a series of interviews with novice and experienced analysts investigating if and how they consider users’ values, motivations and emotions. These interviews contributed to the development of a method to support analysts in considering and exploring values, motivations and emotions during the requirements elicitation process, which she is currently evaluating.