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A Framework for Emotion-Oriented Requirements Change Handling in Agile Software Engineering

March 6, 2023
Affective States

Background: Requirements Changes (RCs) – the additions/modifications/deletions of functional/non-functional requirements in software products – are challenging for software practitioners to handle. Handling some changes may significantly impact the emotions of the practitioners. Objective: We wanted to know the key challenges that make RC handling difficult, how these impact the emotions of software practitioners, what influences their RC handling, and how RC handling can be made less emotionally challenging. Method: We followed a mixed-methods approach. We conducted two survey studies, with 40 participants and 201 participants respectively. The presentation of key quantitative data was followed by descriptive statistical analysis, and the qualitative data was analysed using Strauss–Corbinian Grounded Theory, and Socio–Technical Grounded Theory analysis techniques. Findings: We found (1) several key factors that make RC handling an emotional challenge, (2) varying emotions that practitioners feel when it is challenging to handle RCs, (3) how stakeholders, including practitioners themselves, peers, managers and customers, influence the RC handling and how practitioners feel due to the stakeholder influence, and (4) practices that can be used to better handle RCs. Conclusion: Some challenges are technical and some are social which also belong to aspects of agile practice, emotional intelligence, and likely belong to cognitive intelligence. Therefore, to better handle RCs with positive emotions in socio–technical environments, agility, emotional intelligence, and cognitive intelligence need to work in synergy with each other.

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Kashumi Madampe
Rashina Hoda
John Grundy
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