Research interests

photo of Professor Dan BerryProfessor Berry conducts research in Requirements Engineering. This work focuses on gathering information from members of a client organization to produce coherent specifications of the requirements for a software system that the client desires. The unifying goal of this work consists in developing, and empirically validating the effectiveness of, methods and tools that help gather the information needed to produce these requirements specifications.

Requirements Elicitation is the process of gathering information about the system to be built from whatever source is available, including the client, the users, and other stakeholders by watching the organization at work directly or via video tapes, conducting interviews, and reading organizational policy statements, requests for proposals, and other documents. It is essential to learn from the stakeholders all exceptions to all the information gathered from them, particularly exceptions to the assumptions the system makes of its environment. It is necessary to pay attention even to stakeholders' feelings.

Requirements Analysis is the process of refining all the elicited information into specifications by deriving (1) what is possible from the information and (2) the exceptions thereof, and then validating what has been derived with the client, users, and other stakeholders.

Among the techniques Professor Berry has studied and used are

  • asking ignorant questions,
  • abstraction identification,
  • prototyping to requirements,
  • writing user's manuals as requirements specification,
  • applying creativity enhancers to assist requirements elicitation,
  • inspecting natural language requirements specifications for ambiguity, imprecision, incompleteness, incorrectness,
  • finding potentially ambiguous requirements statements as a means to generate questions to ask of clients, and
  • identifying the domain assumptions, the circumstances under which they do not hold, and what can happen to the system in those circumstances.

He and a student have examined the role of emotion, values, and beliefs in the construction of innovative work realities and of the roles of the customer and the user in helping the requirements engineer to arrive at a complete set of requirements.

He and students have focused on empirical validation, with controlled experiments and industrial case studies of the usefulness and effectiveness of these techniques. He and his students have shown that some techniques simply are not useful or do not work as expected.

More recently, he has tried to identify reasons that requirements engineering is not done in practice in industry, what are the consequences of that failure in practice, and how to remedy the failure.

Degrees and awards

BS (Rensselaer), PhD (Brown)

Industrial and sabbatical experience

Professor Berry has taught and consulted on software engineering, requirements engineering, and related topics in company employee education programs, including at Israeli Aerospace Industries, IBM, Intel, NCR, Siemens, and Unisys. He has spent sabbaticals and extended visits in Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, and New Zealand.

Representative publications

Berry, D.M., Daudjee, K., Dong, J., Fainchtein, I., Nelson, M.A., Nelson, T., Ou, L., User's Manual as a Requirements Specification, Requirements Engineering Journal, 9:1, pp. 67--82, February, 2004

Berry, D.M., The Inevitable Pain of Software Development: Why There Is No Silver Bullet, M. Wirsing, S. Balsamo, A. Knapp (eds.), Radical Innovation of Software and Systems Engineering in the Future, Proceedings of the 2002 Monterey Conference, Selected Papers, pp. 50--74, LNCS 2941, Springer, 2004

Ramos, I. and Berry, D.M., Is Emotion Relevant to Requirements Engineering? Requirements Engineering Journal, 10:3, pp. 238--242, November 2005

Ramos, I., Berry, D.M., and Carvalho, J.A., Requirements Engineering for Organizational Transformation, Information & Software Technology, 47:7, pp. 479--495, 2005

Mich, L., Anesi, C., and Berry, D.M., Applying a Pragmatics-Based Creativity-Fostering Technique to Requirements Elicitation, Requirements Engineering Journal, Special Issue with Best Papers from REFSQ'04, 10:4, pp. 262--275, December 2005

Svetinovic, D., Berry, D.M, Day, N.A., and Godfrey, M.W., Unified Use Case Statecharts: Case Studies, Requirements Engineering Journal, 12:4, pp. 245--265, 2007

Kiyavitskaya, N., Zeni, N., Mich, L., and Berry, D.M., Requirements for Tools for Ambiguity Identification and Measurement in Natural Language Requirements Specifications, Requirements Engineering Journal, 13:3, pp. 207--240, 2008

Berry, D.M., Czarnecki, K., Antkiewicz, M., and AbdElRazik, M., Requirements Determination is Unstoppable: An Experience Report, Proceedings of the International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'10), pp. 311--316, Sydney, NSW, Australia, September/October 2010

Sakhnini, V., Mich, L., and Berry, D.M., The Effectiveness of an Optimized EPMcreate as a Creativity Enhancement Technique for Website Requirements Elicitation, Requirements Engineering Journal, 17:3, pp. 171--186, 2012, DOI:10.1007/s00766-011-0133-0

Berry, D.M., Gacitua, R., Sawyer, P., and Tjong, S.F., The Case for Dumb Requirements Engineering Tools, Proceedings of the 2012 Working Conference on Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality (REFSQ), pp. 211--217, Essen, Germany, March, 2012

Ellis, K. and Berry, D.M., Quantifying the Impact of Requirements Definition and Management Process Maturity on Project Outcome in Business Application Development, Requirements Engineering Journal, 18:3, pp. 223--249, 2013, DOI:10.1007/s00766-012-0146-3

Berry, D.M. The Essential Similarity and Differences between Mathematical Modeling and Programming, Science of Computer Programming, 78:9, pp. 1208--1211, 2013, DOI:10.1016/J.SCICO.2010.05.002

Berry, D.M., Godfrey, M.W., Holt, R., Kapser, C.J, and Ramos, I., Requirements Specifications and Recovered Architectures as Grounded Theories, Grounded Theory Review, 12:1, June, 2013,

Mauger, C. Berry, D.M., Lessons Learned from and for Requirements Engineering and Building Construction: A Case Study of Requirements Engineering for a Synagogue Kitchen with Use Cases and Scenarios, Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Software --- Science, Technology & Engineering (SwSTE'2014), pp. 67--76, Ramat Gan, Israel, June 2014

Goldin, L. and Berry, D.M., Reuse of Requirements Reduced Time to Market at One Industrial Shop: A Case Study, Requirements Engineering Journal, 20:1, pp. 23--44, 2015, DOI:10.1007/s00766-013-0182-7

Berry, D.M., Czarnecki, K., Antkiewicz, M., and AbdElRazik, M., The Problem of the Lack of Benefit of a Document to its Producer (PotLoBoaDtiP), Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Software --- Science, Technology & Engineering (SwSTE'2016), pp. 37--42, Beer Sheva, Israel, June 2016

Niknafs, A. and Berry, D.M., The Impact of Domain Knowledge on the Effectiveness of Requirements Engineering Activities, Empirical Software Engineering, 22:1, pp. 80--133, 2017, DOI:10.1007/s10664-015-9416-2

Sakhnini, V., Mich, L., and Berry, D.M., Group Versus Individual Use of Power-Only EPMcreate as a Creativity Enhancement Technique for Requirements Elicitation, Empirical Software Engineering, 22:4, pp. 2001--2049, 2017, DOI:10.1007/s10664-016-9475-z

Werner, C.M. and Berry, D.M. An Empirical Study of the Software Development Process, Including Its Requirements Engineering, at Very Large Organization: How to Use Data Mining in Such a Study, Requirements Engineering for Internet of Things. APRES 2017, Springer CCIS, volume 809, pp. 15--25, 2017, DOI:10.1007/978-981-10-7796-8_2

Berry, D.M., Evaluation of Tools for Hairy Requirements and Software Engineering Tasks, The 6th IEEE International Workshop on Empirical Requirements Engineering (EmpiRE), 2017 IEEE 25th International Requirements Engineering Conference Workshops, pp. 284--291, 2017, DOI 10.1109/REW.2017.25

Herrmann, A., Mich, L., and Berry, D.M., Creativity Techniques for Requirements Elicitation: Comparing Four-Step EPMcreate-Based Processes, 7th Workshop on Empirical Requirements Engineering (EmpiRE), pp. 1--7, 2018, DOI 10.1109/EmpiRE.2018.00008

Dupree (Weber), J.-L., Lank, E. and Berry, D.M., A Case Study of Using Grounded Analysis as a Requirement Engineering Method: Identifying Personas that Specify Privacy and Security Tool Users, Science of Computer Programming, 152:15, pp. 1--37, 2018, DOI:10.1016/j.scico.2017.08.010

Maier, A. and Berry, D.M., Improving the Identification of Hedonic Quality in User Requirements: a Second Controlled Experiment, Requirements Engineering Journal, 23, pp. 401--424, 2018, DOI:10.1007/s00766-018-0290-5

Mich, L. and Berry, D.M., A Gentle Introduction to Computational Complexity Through an Examination of Noodle Making, Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society, 14:3, pp. 77--92, 2018, DOI:10.20368/1971-8829/1399

Hadar, I. Zamansky, A., and Berry, D.M., The Inconsistency Between Theory and Practice in Managing Inconsistency in Requirements Engineering, Empirical Software Engineering, 24:6, pp. 3972--4005, 2019, DOI:10.1007/s10664-019-09718-5

Ribeiro, C. and Berry, D.M., The Prevalence and Severity of Persistent Ambiguity in Software Requirements Specifications: Is a Special Effort Needed to Find Them?, Science of Computer Programming, online first, pp. 1--35, 2020, DOI:10.1016/j.scico.2020.102472

Mehrotra, G. and Berry, D.M., How to Benefit from Newbies' Domain Ignorance in Software Development Projects, Science of Computer Programming, online first, pp. 1--31, 2020, DOI:10.1016/j.scico.2020.102593

DiMatteo, J., Berry, D.M., Czarnecki, K., Requirements for Monitoring Inattention of the Responsible Human in an Autonomous Vehicle: The Recall and Precision Tradeoff, REFSQ-JP 2020: REFSQ 2020 Joint Proceedings of the Co-Located Events, First International Workshop on Requirements Engineering for Artificial Intelligence (RE4AI)

Biblical Commentary

Arbab, F. and Berry, D.M., Why Jews Wear Costumes on Purim, CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, LIX:II, pp142--163, 2012

Berry, D.M., Understanding the Two Creation Narratives in Genesis: Just How Many Beginnings Were There?, CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, LX:IV, pp148--170, 2013

Berry, D.M. and van Eden, S., How Did Moses Die?, Jewish Bible Quarterly, 46:2, pp. 104--108, 2018

University of Waterloo
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