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In one week time we will be on our way to Geneva to run our first requirements elicitation workshop with representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM),  the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC).

We spent the last few weeks preparing for the workshop, including finding a meeting room where we could spend two days discussing system features and user stories. Fortunately the canton of Geneva has made it easy for NGOs to search and book affordable meeting rooms. You can access a list of possible meeting rooms here.

With regard to the method, we settled on the Agile Software Development methodology to elicit our stakeholders’ needs by means of brainstorming sessions and user stories. The latter will constitute our preliminary backlog of features which we’ll use to develop the PI system in iterations. First coined in 2001, this methodology is now widely in use alongside similar approaches such as Extreme Programming and Scrum. We copied below its core principles.

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

• Individuals and interactions over Processes and tools

• Working software over Comprehensive documentation

• Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation

• Responding to change over Following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Source: Beck, Kent; et al. (2001). “Manifesto for Agile Software Development”. Agile Alliance. Retrieved 14 June 2010.


Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll share the preliminary results of our first workshop as well as a series of lessons learned based on the feedback from the workshop participants.

HIF is funding PI, an “Alert” winner of Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention. PI intends to automate the collection of relevant human rights and humanitarian information from hard to access areas and verify it using crowd-sourcing and “dumb” mobile phones. Once developed PI will address many of the shortcomings of current documentation initiatives using crowd-sourcing: lack of relevant and quality information, no or limited assessment of the reliability of the sources and the credibility of the collected information, reliance on the Internet, lack of feedback loops and limited empowerment of those reporting information. To solve these problems, PI will makes use of low cost GSM technology (e.g. SMS, USSD and voice) to establish a conversation with victims and witnesses of an incident to collect and guarantee relevant and quality information.

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