Requirements Engineering (RE) is a critical determinant for software quality. At the same time, many projects still suffer from insufficient RE. 33% of software development errors are estimated to have their origin in insufficient RE and 36% of these errors are known to lead to project failures [NaPiRE]. In a world pervaded by software and where the majority of our daily routines are supported – if not dominated – by software-intensive systems, excellence in RE becomes key. At the same time, much of today’s research in Software Engineering still relies on conventional wisdom. This is especially true for RE and often leads to research on problems not well understood and contributions prone to be of limited practical value only. More than ever are we dependent on robust scientific theories for high-quality software engineering research and practice. That is, the sensitivity of RE excellence to the particularities of practical contexts makes evident that only if we approach requirements engineering research in a human-centric, evidence-based, and theory-centric manner, we are able to tackle the emergent challenges in today’s requirements engineering where we need to empirically reason about our discipline and the sensitivity of the plethora of available practices, methods, and tools to their context.

Closing this existing gap is in scope of the empirical Requirements Engineering (empiRE) research group which is driven by problem-driven, empirical, and interdisciplinary research. The research group concentrates on early stages of software development, quality management, and software process models. Analysing the role of human factors in those areas play a special role. We explore how we can contribute practically relevant RE research to reproducibly control and improve the quality in early, volatile, and human-centric software development stages. Exemplary questions of interest to us include, but are not limited to: “What is the role and relevancy of early, volatile, and human-centric development stages to project success?”, “How and why do errors occur, how do they propagate throughout the whole software development lifecycle, and how can they be effectively mitigated?”, “What is the role of development artefacts?”, or “What is the role of human factors and how do these affect the choice and use of methods, techniques, and tools?

Two research philosophies we rely on are (1) artefact orientation and model-based development principles, and (2) empirical software
engineering research methods. The latter extends to central questions in the philosophy of science for software engineering with the goal of extending our research methods to increase the practical relevance of our research contributions and to eventually build strong and robust software engineering theories. Adhering to and fostering Open Science principles are a natural (and fundamental) consequence.

Group members

My group includes doctoral and undergraduate students and spans various affiliations. The research topics of the lab are defined by the doctoral students, not the other way around, while being within the larger scope of my own research area (and constantly increasing its boundaries). Doctoral students are either enrolled at the Technical University of Munich (starting before 2019) or at the Blekinge Institute of Technology (starting from 2019 on). Affiliations don’t matter, people do.

Daniel Mendez
Group leader

Associate Professor at the Software Engineering Research Lab of the Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden, and Senior Researcher at fortiss GmbH, the research institute of the Free State of Bavaria for software-intensive systems and services.

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Marco Hoffmann
PhD Student (TUM | QualityMinds)

Marco is exploring human factors in software engineering teams. Of particular interest is the link between personal value diversity within a team and the occurrence and perception of human factors. He is affiliated with QualityMinds GmbH and currently enrolled at the TUM Graduate School.

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Mustafa Isik
PhD Student (TUM | Kerngedanke)

Mustafa has been managing software engineering teams for the last fifteen years. He has worked for BMW Research, Avid Technology, Google, Bayerischer Rundfunk / ARD and various start-ups. His research interests are focused on turnover in software engineering organisations. Employee retention, mitigation of turnover effects, and similar issues as they affect software engineering organisations are also part of his research. Currently, he is the CEO and co-founder of media technology startup Kerngedanke and enrolled at the TUM Graduate School. 

Mark Kreitz
PhD student (TUM | UniBW)

Mark investigates how security by design can and should be supported by tools in software engineering, focusing on static analysis tools. He is affiliated with the Bundeswehr University Munich (UniBw M) and enrolled at the TUM Graduate School.

Anton Luckhardt
Student Assistant (fortiss)

Anton investigates human factors and problems in software development with particular focus on cultural dimensions. He is a student assistant at fortiss and enrolled at the Technical University of Munich.

Fabiola Moyon
PhD Student (TUM | Siemens CT)
Fabiola´s research focuses on security in software engineering. Her main interest is to extend agile methods with practices to ensure compliance with security standards. She envisions to develop a pragmatic approach to implement security standard requirements using DevOps pipelines as enablers and a conceptual framework to attest compliance. One particular proof of concept is the analysis of the IEC 62443-4-1 Standard for Secure Development in Industrial Systems and its integration into the Scaled Agile Framework SAFe and Scrum. Fabiola is enrolled at the TUM Graduate School and affiliated with Siemens AG.