Need to ask your analysts what they want?

Then you have a problem!
The problem is not that they are not able to collect from customers what they wanted. Sometimes they know very well, even too much. Sometimes they deliberately (and wisely) decide not to consider some requests. The price could be to live with the complaints of customers. All this is addressed very well in a recent post by Anthony Finkelstein on not asking users what they want (and I actually mimicked his title here). But this is another issue.

The problem with your analysts is they are not able to put into proper technical “words” (meaning models and specifications) what the customers informally ask for.
To cope with this, we try to teach people appropriate modeling languages, methods, formalisms, modeling tools and analysis tools. But these are all mere attempts to reduce the misunderstandings, implicitness, incoherency, and ambiguity in human-to-human communication.
And yet, addressing these problem is paramount in any large software project. From my point of view, it also opens up interesting research issues.
IEEEThat’s why, together with Irene Vanderfeesten and Dirk Fahland, from Eindhoven University of Technology, we decided to organize a new workshop this year, the:

1st IEEE International Workshop on Communicating Business Process and Software Models. Quality, Understandability, and Maintainability
Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 23 September 2013.

The workshop will focus on model understandability, complexity of modeling languages, actual usage of language features, cognitive aspects in modeling languages, human perception and subjective perspectives on models, impact of professional roles and of cultural background on model understanding, and related issues. The workshop will be a multi-disciplinary forum for discussing about impact of models on understanding and communication between people.

Its uniqueness stands in the attempt of bringing together the business process management (BPM) and software engineering and modeling communities
This will bring great value, as most of the misunderstanding and misalignments are between requirements and design, between business and IT, between CIM and PIM modeling levels. 
If you are interesting in knowing more about the 1st IEEE International Workshop onCommunicating Business Process and Software Models – Quality, Understandability, and Maintainability, you can visit the official Web site. You are obviously welcome to join the workshop and/or submit a contribution. The deadline for submitting is set to June 21st, 2013.

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