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A Groupware-Supported Methodology For Requirements Negotiation

What is EasyWinWin? | Groupware | Events | Publications | Contact | Download


- Tutorial at the IEEE Joint International Requirements Engineering Conference (Dortmund, Germany)

- Tutorial at the XP2002 conference (May 26, Alghero, Sardinia, Italy)

- Read the article "Developing Groupware for Requirements Negotiation: Lessons Learned" at IEEE Distributed Systems Online

- Download Sample Chapter of Process Guide

What is EasyWinWin?

EasyWinWin is a requirements definition methodology that builds on the win-win negotiation approach and leverages collaborative technology to improve the involvement and interaction of key stakeholders. With EasyWinWin, stakeholders move through a step-by-step win-win negotiation where they collect, elaborate, and prioritize their requirements, and surface and resolve issues to come up with mutually satisfactory agreements.

Motivation. The success or failure of a new system rests squarely on the always shifting, sometimes frustrating task of requirements definition. Many of the failures, delays, and budget overruns in software engineering can be traced directly to shortfalls in the requirements process. There is no complete set of requirements out there just waiting to be discovered. Different stakeholders – users, customers, managers, domain experts, and developers – come to a project with different expectations and interests. Developers learn more about the customer’s and user’s world, while customers and users learn more about what is technically possible and feasible. Requirements must be negotiated among the success-critical stakeholders who are often unsure of their own needs, much less the needs of others. Requirements negotiation is based on stakeholder co-operation and active involvement in decision-making to achieve mutually satisfactory agreements.

The WinWin negotiation model. The particular WinWin system we have evolved is based on a negotiation model for converging to a WinWin agreement, and a WinWin equilibrium condition to test whether the negotiation process has converged. The negotiation model guides success-critical stakeholders in elaborating mutually satisfactory agreements: Stakeholders express their goals as win conditions. If everyone concurs, the win conditions become agreements. When stakeholders do not concur, they identify their conflicted win conditions and register their conflicts as issues. In this case, stakeholders invent options for mutual gain and explore the option trade-offs. Options are iterated and turned into agreements when all stakeholders concur. A domain taxonomy is used to organize WinWin artifacts. Important terms of the domain are captured in a glossary.

EasyWinWin methodology. EasyWinWin defines a set of activities guiding stakeholders through a process of gathering, elaborating, prioritizing, and negotiating requirements. EasyWinWin uses group facilitation techniques that are supported by collaborative tools (electronic brainstorming, categorizing, polling, etc.). The activities are as follows (follow the hyperlinks for more details):

  • Review and expand negotiation topics: Stakeholders jointly refine and customize the outline of negotiation topics based on a domain taxonomy of software requirements. The shared outline helps to stimulate thinking, to organize negotiation results, and serves as a completeness checklist during negotiations.
  • Brainstorm stakeholder interests: Stakeholders share their goals, perspectives, views, and expectations by gathering statements about their win conditions.
  • Converge on Win Conditions: The team jointly craft a non-redundant list of clearly stated, unambiguous win conditions by considering all ideas contributed in the brainstorming session.
  • Capture a glossary of Terms: Stakeholders define and share the meaning of important keywords of the project/domain in a glossary.
  • Prioritize Win Conditions: The team prioritizes the win conditions to define and narrow down the scope of work and to gain focus.
  • Reveal Issues and Constraints: Stakeholders surface and understand issues by analyzing the prioritization poll.
  • Identify Issues, Options: Stakeholders register constraints and conflicting win conditions as Issues and propose Options to resolve these issues.
  • Negotiate Agreements: The captured decision rationale provides the foundation to negotiate agreements.


EasyWinWin is a requirements definition approach that is based on a Group Support System (GSS) by to enable the involvement and interaction of key stakeholders. A GSS is a suite of software tools that can be used to create, sustain, and change patterns of group interaction in repeatable, predictable ways. Each GSS tool can be used to create specific group dynamics. For example, an electronic brainstorming tool might be used to cause a group to diverge from comfortable patterns of thought, seeking farther and farther afield for new ideas. A categorizing tool, on the other hand, might be used to cause a group to converge quickly on just the key issues that are worthy of further attention. A group outlining tool might let a group organize complex ideas into an understandable structure, while an electronic polling tool could be used to provoke discussions that uncover unchallenged assumptions and reveal unshared information. Because a GSS can be used to create repeatable patterns of group interaction, it can be used to create collaborative methodologies that produce deliverables of consistent quality and detail.


Download a sample chapter of the EasyWinWin Process Guidebook!

Upcoming EasyWinWin Events

Past EasyWinWin Events

  • Tutorial @ XP2002 (the 3rd Int. Conference on eXtreme Programming and Agile Processes in Software Engineering, May 26, 2002, Alghero, Sardinia, Italy)
  • Tutorial at the IEEE Joint International Requirements Engineering Conference (September 9-13, 2002, Dortmund, Germany)
  • September 10 2001, EasyWinWin Tutorial @ ESEC/FSE conference in Vienna
  • May 28 2001, Presentation at Polytechnical University Hagenberg, Austria
  • May 14 2001, ICSE 2001: "EasyWinWin: A Groupware-Supported Methodology For Requirements Negotiation", Toronto, Canada
  • April 5 2001, "Using WinWin for Requirements Negotiation", British Computer Society, RESG, Imperial College, London
  • EasyWinWin Tutorial: Southern California Software Process Improvement Network
  • EasyWinWin Tutorial: Los Angeles Software Process Improvement Network
  • June 2000: EasyWinWin Webinar
  • July 2000: EasyWinWin hands-on seminar at USC-CSE

For further information or in case you are interested in organizing an EasyWinWin negotiation within your organization please contact:

Paul Grünbacher
Johannes Kepler University Linz
Systems Engineering and Automation
Altenbergerstr. 69, 4040 Linz, Austria
Barry W. Boehm
University of Southern California
Center for Software Engineering941 W. 37th Place, SAL Room 328Los Angeles, CA 90089-0781Email:
Robert O. Briggs
GroupSystems.com1430 E. Fort Lowell Rd. #301, Tucson, AZEmail:


Hasan Kitapci, Barry Boehm, Using a Hybrid Method for Formalizing Informal Stakeholder Decisions, 40th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS'07), 2007, p. 283

Hasan Kitapci, Formalizing Informal Stakeholder Inputs Using Gap-Bridging Methods, PhD Dissertation, Department of Computer Science, University of Southern California, December 2007

Barry Boehm, Paul Grunbacher, Robert O. Briggs, EasyWinWin: A Groupware-Supported Methodology for Requirement Negotiation, 8th European Software Engineering Conference (ESEC), 9th ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on The Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE-9), September 2001, pp. 320-321

Briggs B., Grünbacher P., EasyWinWin: Managing Complexity in Requirements Negotiation with GSS, Proceedings Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, IEEE Computer Society, 2002.

Boehm B., Grünbacher P., Briggs B., Developing Groupware for Requirements Negotiation: Lessons Learned, IEEE Software, May/June 2001, pp. 46-55

Grünbacher P., Briggs B., Surfacing Tacit Knowledge in Requirements Negotiation: Experiences using EasyWinWin, Proceedings Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, IEEE Computer Society, 2001.

Stallinger F., Grünbacher P., System Dynamics Modelling and Simulation of Collaborative Requirements Engineering, Journal of Systems and Software 59, 3 (Dec. 2001), pp 311-321.

Boehm B., Grünbacher P., Supporting Collaborative Requirements Negotiation: The EasyWinWin Approach, In: Landauer C., Bellman K.L. (eds.), Proceedings International Conference on Virtual Worlds and Simulation, San Diego, January 23-27, 2000.

Grünbacher P., EasyWinWin OnLine: Moderator's Guidebook, A Methodology for Negotiating Software Requirements. USC-CSE, JKU Linz,, 2000, 2001.

Grünbacher P., Collaborative Requirements Negotiation with EasyWinWin, 2nd International Workshop on the Requirements Engineering Process, Greenwich, London, IEEE Computer Society, 2000. ISBN 0-7695-0680-1 pp. 954-960.

Grünbacher P, Integrating Groupware and CASE Capabilities For Improved Stakeholder Involvement in Collaborative Requirements Engineering, Proceedings Euromicro 2000 Conference, pp. 232-239, IEEE Computer Society. ISBN 0-7695-0780-8

Grünbacher P., Egyed A., Medvidovic N., Dimensions of Concerns in Requirements Negotiation and Architecture Modeling, In: Tarr P., Harrison W., Finkelstein A., Nuseibeh B., Perry D., Multi-Dimensional Separation of Concerns, Workshop at ICSE 2000, Ireland.


Paul Grünbacher was supported by the Austrian Science Fund (Erwin Schrödinger Grant 1999/J 1764 "Collaborative Requirements Negotiation Aids)