Requirements analysis gamification in legacy system replacement projects

Alexandrova, Assia and Rapanotti, Lucia (2020). Requirements analysis gamification in legacy system replacement projects. Requirements Engineering, 25(2) pp. 131–151.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00766-019-00311-2

Abstract

The replacement of legacy systems in the public sector is fraught with project delays, budgetary overruns, technological and business process complexities. Moreover, the software implemented to replace legacy systems is developed or configured to largely mimic their features and functionality in order to minimize the disruption to organizational operations that accompanies the introduction of new technology. When the requirements for legacy replacement primarily replicate existing applications and processes, opportunities for business process improvement are bypassed. However, it is difficult for practitioners to transcend the business and systems models prevalent in their organizations for many years. The challenge is to support them to overcome such a difficulty, and be creative and engaged during requirements discussions. Our research aims to evaluate the utility of gamifying the requirements activities during legacy replacement projects for scoping replacement systems efforts in a way that takes advantage of opportunities for innovation while minimizing unnecessary changes to the status quo. The supplementation of the requirements process with game elements is explored in our research through the development of a requirements discussion game (RE-PROVO) and its evaluation by practitioners in two government agencies. Our findings reveal that key elements of RE-PROVO, including competition, anonymity and roleplay, encourage a more critical evaluation of business requirements in legacy replacement projects, but that the success of requirements gamification is contingent on a proper incentivization model which takes organizational culture and values into account.

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