Ahab’s Leg: Exploring the Issues of Communicating Semi-formal Requirements to the Final Users

  • Chiara Leonardi
  • Luca Sabatucci
  • Angelo Susi
  • Massimo Zancanaro
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6051)


In this paper, we present our experience in using narrative scenarios as a tool to communicate and validate semi-formal requirements with the stakeholders in a large software project. The process of translating the semi-formal language of Tropos into the narrative form of scenarios is introduced and some unintended implications of this process are discussed. In particular, we define the notion of Ahab’s leg to describe the necessity to introduce new constraints or features in a description when moving to a different representational language. Starting from the lessons learned with this specific case study, we derive some general implications concerning the issue of requirement translation for validation tasks and we propose some methodological guidelines to address the Ahab’s leg dilemma.


Goal-Oriented Requirements Engineering User-Centred Design Persona Scenario 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiara Leonardi
    • 1
  • Luca Sabatucci
    • 1
  • Angelo Susi
    • 1
  • Massimo Zancanaro
    • 1
  1. 1.Fondazione Bruno Kessler – IRST CITPovo, Trento

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