Towards a Competency Model for Requirements Analysts
Info Systems J (2012) 22, 475–503
30 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2012
Requirements engineering is a software development discipline, executed by requirements analysts (RAs), that includes requirements elicitation, analysis, specification and validation. Its successful outcome is very often essential to overall project success. However, there is a lack of systematically conducted empirical research on the competencies of RAs. This paper addressed this gap by conducting 64 interviews at eight major North American and European financial services companies. Our qualitative research design follows an interpretive approach and uses critical incident technique. We develop a competency model, which specifies 16 critical competencies, and integrates contextual and situational factors as well as results variables. ‘Consulting others’, ‘Testing assumptions and investigating’ and ‘Explaining concepts and opinions’ were the most frequently identified competencies. This indicates that for an effective analyst, close interaction and communication with customers is indeed crucial – but of equally importance is the critical questioning of the expressed needs. Surprisingly, applying specific tools and advanced techniques did not seem to play a significant role from the interviewees’ perspective. This study contributes to theory as it is the first to elaborate a competency model for RAs. It also provides a foundation for the development of competency-based training in companies and universities.
Keywords: requirements engineering, competency model, critical incident technique, software development
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