Supporting Informal Meetings

In collaboration with:


Develop an environment for capturing, structuring, and retrieving content from informal meetings without disruption to the formality of the meeting.


During software development in general and in requirements engineering in particular, much information is created, negotiated, and exchange during informal meetings. Most of this information, such as the rationale behind decisions and the traceability of decisions to individual stakeholders, is not captured and lost. The little information that is captured is unstructured and not distributed among project participants.

Rationale and traceability of decision are critical when changes are made to the system. The availability of this information would make it easier and cheaper to make changes that are consistent with the original intent and constraints of the stakeholders, even when they are not available during the revision work.


We assume that

  1. an informal meeting can be recorded with a camera, a microphone, and other context information once meeting participants understand and agree that iBistro can be useful to them,
  2. a specialized meeting chapion role can, within reasonable time constraints, structure and filter the captured rationale for future use,
  3. the record of several meetings that is produced by the meeting chapion can be searched, browsed, and accessed efficiently in subsequent informal meetings, provide appropriate tool support.

To test and refine these assumptions, we follow an experimental approach in which we incrementally develop tool and guidance and evaluate them, initially in student project courses, and progressively in increasingly more realistic situations. In particular, we are interested in the following points:

  • using QOC (Questions, Options, and Criteria) for indexing video records
  • using mobile agent technology for creating proxies that attend meetings on a participants behalf
  • using participant modeling to help in retrieval of knowledge and in finding stakeholders.

Accomplishments so far

So far, we have accomplished the following:

  • We have designed a flexible architecture for integrating sensors, tools, and meeting records.
  • We developed a first version minuteGen, the meeting capture tool of iBistro.
  • We are planning a first set of experiments in using minuteGen in meetings with students.
  • We are planning a second set of experiments in the context of a distributed software engineering project course in winter semester 2001/2002.


Andreas Braun (Doctorand, Accenture)
Bernd Bruegge (Professor)
Allen Dutoit (Researcher)
Oliver Hengstenberg (Diplomarbeit)
Guenter Teubner (Doctorand)


A. Braun, A.H. Dutoit, A. Harrer,, B. Bruegge
iBistro: A Learning Environment for Knowledge Construction in Distributed Software Engineering Courses.
Submitted to the International Conference on Computers in Education, 2001. (draft)

O. Hengstenberg
Video Support for Rationale Capture in Informal Meetings."
Diplomarbeit, Technische Universität München, June, 2001. (pdf)

A. Braun, B. Bruegge, A.H. Dutoit
Supporting Informal Requirements Meetings
7th International Workshop on Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality. (REFSQ'2001).
Interlaken, Switzerland, June 2001. (REFSQ'2001 Program)

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