Explaining over-requirement in software development projects: An experimental investigation of behavioral effects Academic Article uri icon


  • One of the major risks associated with software development is related to the phenomenon of over-requirement . Also known as over-specification and gold-plating, over-requirement is manifested when a product or a service is specified beyond the actual needs of the customer or the market. In the software development context, we argue in this work that over-requirement is due partially to the emotional involvement of developers with the software features they specify. Similar involvement has been demonstrated for physical items as a result of the endowment , IKEA , and I-designed-it-myself behavioral effects, when people come to overvalue items they possess or self-create. To explore these behavioral effects and the interactions among them in the context of software development, we conducted an experiment in which over 200 participants were asked to specify a nice-to-have software feature. Our results confirm the existence of these behavioral effects in software development and their influence on over-requirement. The findings contribute to theory by explaining the over-requirement phenomenon and by providing insights into behavioral effects in the context of software development. Also practically relevant, the findings can alert managers of software projects to the over-requirement risk evoked by the behavioral effects explored in this study.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015