Date of Award

6-27-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Computer Information Systems

First Advisor

Lars Mathiassen

Second Advisor

Richard Baskerville

Third Advisor

Richard Baskerville

Fourth Advisor

Sandra Slaughter

Abstract

Software requirements, and how they are constructed, shared and translated across software organizations, express uncertainties that software developers need to address through appropriate structuring of the process and the organization at large. To gain new insights into this important phenomenon, we rely on theory of work design and the travelling metaphor to undertake an in-depth qualitative inquiry into recurrent development of packaged software for the utility industry. Using the particular context of software provider GridCo, we examine how requirements are constructed, shared, and translated as they travel across vertical and horizontal boundaries. In revealing insights into these practices, we contribute to theory by conceptualizing how requirements travel, not just locally, but across organizations and time, thereby uncovering new knowledge about the responses to requirement uncertainty in development of packaged software. We also contribute to theory by providing narrative accounts of in situ requirements processes and by revealing practical consequences of organization structure on managing uncertainty.

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