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[1] Silvana Costantini, Jon G. Hall, and Lucia Rapanotti. Systematic concept identification and evaluation for ITbusiness alignment. Technical Report 2017/01, March 2017. [ bib | .pdf ]
In project management, initial requirements definition takes place in the front-end phase, where the uncertainties are highest and decisions have the biggest influence; this constitutes a considerable process risk, risk that can, however, be mitigated by ensuring that requirements are validated and understood by stakeholders before starting with the development of the solution. This research investigates approaches to the front-end phase of IT/business alignment projects which incorporate this type of risk mitigation. We use an initial exploratory case study to apply one such approach, Problem Oriented Engineering (POE). The case study is retrospective, applied to the front-end phase of an IT/business alignment project. The case study shows that POE can be applied to model all process steps in the real-life project, identifying the related relevant stakeholders and their involvement in the process. Specific validation points and their outcomes could also be modelled. Additionally, the case study demonstrated that problem diagrams can provide suitable models of concepts in their organisational context, with associated requirements to be satisfied. Although retrospective, the outcome of the pilot research is encouraging: POE gave an indication of when development risk was accumulated and the extent of related sunk costs when concepts were rejected by stakeholders. Future research should assess the extent POE models can be used in practice to allow stakeholders to understand better identified concepts, the rationale for their choice and their impact on the organisation. Our conclusion is that this type of analysis has the potential to become a powerful project management tool that can be applied to the front-end phase of project, with the purpose of systematising concept identification and evaluation, and in this way reducing development risk.

[2] Lucia Rapanotti, Jon G. Hall, Steven Self, Mark Slaymaker, and David King. Measuring qualification effects of a new pedagogy which embeds learning and assessment activities within each students rich professional context of practice. Technical Report 2017/02, May 2017. [ bib | .pdf ]
We report on the outcomes of our eSTEeM project, focused on a pedagogical approach implemented in three post-graduate modules for a recently introduced Computing qualification (F66 MSc in Computing), where the students' own professional context of practice, rather than fictitious case studies, is used to assess their understanding of and ability to apply what is taught in those modules, as well as to develop a wide range of research and employability skills as they progress through the qualification.

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