Just In Time RE

Update: Accepted Papers and Schedule published!

Requirements engineering (RE) in agile and open source settings is quite different than RE in more conventional development settings. In particular, these requirements tend to be more ad-hoc and ‘just-in-time’, developed as needed rather than upfront. Requirements might be called user stories, features, or even tasks [1].

Just in time as a production strategy can be traced to Toyota and other Japanese firms in the 1950s. The strategy referred to meeting customer demand at the right time and in the exact amount, where customer could be the final purchaser or another process further along the production line. Ohno [2] underpinned just in time with 3 principles of economic growth: build only what is needed, eliminate anything which does not add value, and stop if something goes wrong.

The just-in-time philosophy was also applied to software engineering, serving as a basic tenet of the lean software practices and the agile community [3]. Research on just-in-time requirements has recently emerged [4-6], which not only challenges classical RE’s assumptions [7] but also illuminates potentially transformative ideas to improve RE practice especially in distributed and decentralized settings [8].

Topics of Interest

  • requirements in open source software
  • lightweight techniques for capturing and representing requirements
  • iterative reasoning about requirements satisfaction
  • developer understanding of requirements in agile development
  • making requirements useful throughout the software lifecycle
  • slicing user stories into iteration-sized components
  • defining ‘done’
  • acceptance testing requirements
  • specification by example and behavior-driven development
  • tracing and evolving just-in-time requirements
  • empirical studies on just-in-time requirements


We invite submissions in the following categories.

  • position papers (4 pages), intended to stimulate discussion, particularly by the breakout session
  • research summaries (4 pages), intended to make all participants aware of existing and ongoing research in this area.

Submit papers via EasyChair: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=jitre2015

and follow the IEEE formatting instructions.

Key Dates

  • Submission: June 916, 2015
  • Notification: June 30, 2015
  • Camera-Ready: July 15, 2015
  • Workshop: August 25, 2015


This 1-day workshop will consist of an opening keynote, followed by morning presentations. Post-lunch, we will have one more paper session and then breakout sessions in order to develop a ranked list of open problems. The final session will group back all workshop participants to summarize their discussion results, collect feedback, and plan future events and activities.

Anticipated Outcomes

This initial workshop on just-in-time RE aims to gather researchers working in this area in order to discover a set of open research problems and define a position statement outlining the ways in which just-in-time RE differs from traditional RE. Some characteristics like lightweight representation and evolutionary refinement of requirements are identified in [4, 5]. However, we anticipate wide, varied, open, and lively discussions reshaping the landscape and themes of just-in-time RE in the workshop. It is also our anticipation that the workshop provides a venue for researchers and practitioners to share their experiences, forge new collaborations, and provoke innovative ways to tackle just-in-time requirements.


  1. Walt Scacchi, Understanding the requirements for developing open source software systems, IEE Software, 149(1): 24–39, February 2002.
  2. Taiichi Ohno, Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production, Productivity Press, 1988.
  3. Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck, Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit, Addison-Wesley, 2013.
  4. Neil A. Ernst and Gail Murphy, “Case Studies in Just-In-Time Requirements Analysis”, International Workshop on Empirical Requirements Engineering (EmpiRE), Chicago, IL, USA, September 2012, pages 25-32.
  5. Nan Niu, Tanmay Bhowmik, Hui Liu, and Zhendong Niu, “Traceability-Enabled Refactoring for Managing Just-In-Time Requirements”, International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE), Karlskrona, Sweden, August 2014, pages 133-142.
  6. Petra Heck and Andy Zaidman, Horizontal Traceability for Just-In-Time Requirements: The Case for Open Source Feature Requests, Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, 2014 (accepted). http://www.st.ewi.tudelft.nl/~zaidman/publications/heckJSEP.pdf
  7. Thomas A. Alspaugh and Walt Scacchi, “Ongoing Software Development without Classical Requirements”, International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE),  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 2013, pages 165-174.
  8. Matthias Jarke, Pericles Loucopoulos, Kalle Lyytinen, John Mylopoulos, and William N. Robinson, The brave new world of design requirements, Information System, 36(7): 992-1008, November, 2011.

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