For this assignment, students carry out a small research on a predefined SPM topic. The paper should be written according the Springer LNCS template. Make sure you check the checklist for scientific evaluation papers of Wieringa, Heerkens and Regnell (see lecture 3, slide 34 and further, or the paper).
For this research, each group has to hand in the following separate deliverables:
- Dec 2: Introduction & problem statement (max 3 pages in LNCS format)
- Dec 16: Research design / approach (max 2 pages in LNCS format)
- Jan 13: Draft paper, including esults, analysis & discussion --> hand in via EasyChair
- Jan 20: Peer review
- Feb 5: Final paper (max 15 pages in LNCS format)
On the first three items, feedback will be given but no grade. The final paper, however, will be graded. In addition, a presentation is given in which the proposal, theoretical framework, and/or results are presented. This presentation will be taken into account when grading the papers.
Students can choose from predefined research topics. The goal is to investigate your selected topic. Data can come from literature analysis, surveys, experiments, case studies, etc. Example questions that can be covered in the each topic are:
- What is the goal that is pursued in the subject area and which concepts, methods and artifacts are used?
- Which stakeholders are involved? Who is responsible for the results? Who monitors the process? Who provides information? Etc.
- What is the significance of the topic in the research area of SPM? How can the results of your research be used in future research in SPM?
Below, seven research topics are listed and explained. In addition to the questions above, some topic-specific example research directions are provided.
1. Requirements prioritization
In this research, preferably an experiment is carried out in which different requirements prioritization techniques are compared. Example research papers on this topic are: Karlsson, Wohlin, and Regnell (1998) and last year’s SPM paper of van Tuijl et al. (2011). The prioritization techniques that will be researched are selected in accordance with the lecturers. Important: many experiments have been carried in this domain. Make sure your research adds something useful!
For a good overview of prioritization methods and techniques, check the paper of Daneva et al., page 130.
2. Challenges in requirements engineering
Ramesh, Cao and Baskerville (2010) list a number of challenges that are associated with agile requirements engineering. Examples are the lack of requirements existence and stability; intrinsic schedule flaws; modelling only functional requirements; and overlooking crucial requirements You can choose one of these challenges as a research topic.
Starting point: Ramesh, B., Cao, L., & Baskerville, R. (2010). Agile requirements engineering practices and challenges: an empirical study. Information Systems Journal, 20, 449–480.
3. Software pricing
Pricing is an important activity with regard to business success. Several types of pricing exist, e.g. market-, value- vs. cost-based pricing. Possible questions in this research topic are:
- What are typical price structuresfor software products?
- Which structures are most used?
- How to create a method for pricing?
Starting point: H.-B. Kittlaus, P. Clough (2009): Software Product Management and Pricing – Key Success Factors for Software Organizations. Berlin: Springer
4. Product roadmap
A product roadmap describes how a product or product line is going to develop over time. Product roadmaps are used in all sectors, and also in the software industry. However, the body of knowledge on this topic is still small.
In this research, you can gather and evaluate the different roadmaps that can be found in literature, educational sources, and on the web.
5. White labeling
A white label product is a product produced by one company (the producer) that other companies (the marketers) rebrand to make it appear as if they made it. In the software industry, white-labeling is a common practice. Example: albelli.nl photo books are use by HEMA and Kruidvat.
Possible questions are: Which strategies can be followed by software vendors when they white-label a product? Which part of the software stay the same and which should be label-specific in each strategy?
Several software vendors take the jump and go abroad with their product. We call this process internationalization.
Possible questions: Which platform technologies are most suitable for this (java, .Net, …) What impact does this have on the product functionalities? How does internationalization influence the product management activities?
7. Business case
A business case is a decision-support and planning tool that projects the likely financial results and other business consequences of an action. Business cases and their simplified form, value cases, are a central tool for triage of market requirements and innovative ideas and for evaluating proposals of software products.
Additional research questions in this topic might be: In which situations are business cases used (e.g. for individual requirements, product requirements, market requirements, new functionalities or new products)? Which methods or techniques are commonly used in the Dutch product software industry? Data is gathered from literature, interviews with product managers / CTO’s, white papers, etc.