Requirements Engineering and Business-IT Alignment

This research field has a common general objective of conciliating business needs and information systems development. This common objective is currently pursued in two complementary research communities:  Requirements engineering (RE) and business-IT alignment (BITA).

RE research aims to develop a variety of techniques that help requirements engineers to identify, visualise, document, analyse, retrieve and reason on organisational requirements so as to guarantee their adequate realisation through software and ICT.

BITA research elaborates and evaluates models, techniques and methodologies supporting the detection and understanding of misalignment between business and technological objectives and the design of better alignment.

PReCISE RE and BITA research group aims at developing innovative solutions for challenges identified in these two connected areas.



  • Formal methods in RE. PReCISE works on formal methods that allow early automation and offer better guarantees as to the correctness and adequacy of the software developed, notably for critical systems, where safety and/or security are key concerns.
  • Cognitive effectiveness of RE notations. Many of the numerous visual modelling notations used in RE (including some international standards) turn out to be visually suboptimal, leading to ineffective communication. Techniques to evaluate, design and improve RE notations have been developed.
  • Group creativity in RE. Techniques have been developed to stimulate creativity during RE based on principles from a variety of disciplines such as social sciences, CSCW and theatrical improvisation.
  • RE for variability-intensive systems. Some categories of systems require explicit and systematic variability management as early as in the RE phase, allowing reuse, economies of scale, shorter time to market and improved quality. Modelling techniques and automated analyses have been developed to support RE for variability-intensive systems such as software product lines.
  • Technology-organisation interactions dynamics. Alignment is a dynamic and complex process influenced by the interaction between the information systems and the organisation and its members. Theoretical studies and empirical analysis of on-field behaviours are carried out to support the understanding of this dynamics, in order to conceive more adaptive and flexible ICT-supported organisations. 
  • Model-based alignment evaluation and design. Methods are developed to support the identification, the capture and the analysis of various business aspects of an organisation (strategy, business model, business processes, IT projects, IT infrastructures and services, …) in order to improve the alignment between those aspects through models.
  • Green-IT and responsible innovation. Environmental and societal responsibility constraints faced by firms impact the way of doing business and the requirements imposed to information systems. The impact of those new expectations  on the innovation process, their modelling and their integration into IS engineering are being studied.


Scientific results

  • New core ontology for early Requirements Engineering (see publication 1 and 2) and the accompanying revised statement of the basic requirements problem to solve in requirements engineering projects.
  • Family of formal languages for modeling and analysis during early Requirements Engineering (see publications 3 and 4).
  • Ontology for the analysis of advice in decision-making and formal languages for the modeling of advice, both oriented towards Business Analysis (see publication 5).
  • Languages and algorithms for the decision support during requirements negotiation and validation (see publications 6, 7, 8)
  • Studies of conceptual foundations for Requirements Engineering (see publications 9, 10, 11, 12).


Industrial results


These results have been deployed in industry, from SMEs to multinational companies. PReCISE offers advice, coaching and certifying training. It is also incubating a spin-off company focusing on variability management. A FIRST spin-off project ADMA is funded to apply results of research into the Requirements Engineering for decision-support systems and business intelligence systems.



  •  Selected Publications
    • Martin MAHAUX, Patrick HEYMANS, and Germain SAVAL. Discovering Sustainability Requirements: An Experience Report, in Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality (REFSQ’2011), p. 19–33, 2011.
    • Martin MAHAUX, Neil A. M. MAIDEN, and Patrick HEYMANS. Making it all up: getting on the act to improvise creative requirements, in Proceedings of the 18th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (invited mini-tutorial at RE’10), Sydney, Australia, 2010.
    • Arnaud HUBAUX, Ebrahim Khalil ABBASI, Andreas CLASSEN, Patrick HEYMANS. Workflow-driven Product Derivation (Invited Talk), in First International Workshop on Product Line Requirements Engineering and Quality (PLREQ'10), June 30, 2010, Essen, Germany
    • Daniel MOODY, Patrick HEYMANS, Raimundas MATULEVICIUS. Visual syntax does matter: improving the cognitive effectiveness of the i* visual notation, in Requirements Engineering, volume 5, issue 2 (Springer), and in Proceedings of the 17th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'09), Atlanta, Georgia, USA, pp. 171-180 (Best paper award)
    • Martin MAHAUX et Neil A. M. MAIDEN. Theater Improvisers Know the Requirements Game, IEEE software, vol. 25, no. 5, p. 68–69, 2008.
    • I. JURETA, A. BORGIDA, N. ERNST, J. MYLOPOULOS. Techne: Towards a New Generation of Requirements Modeling Languages with Goals, Preferences, and Inconsistency Handling, in Proceedings of the 18th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE’10), Sydney, Australia, 2010.
    • Ivan JURETA, John MYLOPOULOS, Stéphane FAULKNER, Analysis of Multi-Party Agreement in Requirements Validation, in Proceedings of the 17th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'09), Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    • Andreas CLASSEN, Patrick HEYMANS, Pierre-Yves SCHOBBENS. What's in a Feature? A Requirements Engineering Perspective, in Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Fundamental Approaches to Software Engineering (FASE'08), collection LNCS, volume 4961, pp. 16-30



Products and Services

  • Certifying training, coaching, consulting in Requirements Engineering
  • Business Analysis
  • Collaboration Techniques for Software Engineering



  • SAT : Centre de Compétences pour l'industrie Aéronautique (Plan Marshall) : Aspects liés à la Certification (S@T) (depuis 2010)
    Naji HABRA, Patrick HEYMANS, Cédric PEETERS
  • New Agile Platform for a Lifelong Engineering of Software. (NAPLES) (2010-2013)
    Patrick HEYMANS
  • Mise sur pied d'un centre d'expertise en matière de logiciels libres / Open Source (FEDER-CELLaVI) (2008-2013)
    Séverine DUSOLLIER, Patrick HEYMANS, Philippe LAURENT
  • Centre d'expertise en Ingénierie et Qualité des Systèmes - Accompagnement à la certification (RW/FEDER-IQS) (2008-2013)
    Marie DEMOULIN, Flora KAMSEU, Martin MAHAUX, Etienne MONTERO, Naji HABRA, Patrick HEYMANS
  • Réseau de recherche sur l'adaptabilité du logiciel (Re2adapt) (2008-2012)
    Quentin BOUCHER, Andreas CLASSEN, Patrick HEYMANS, Arnaud HUBAUX, Pierre-Yves SCHOBBENS
  • Integration of Research in Information Systems (IRIS) (2007-2011)
    Vincent ENGLEBERT, Naji HABRA, Jean-Luc HAINAUT, Patrick HEYMANS, Michaël PETIT, Pierre-Yves SCHOBBENS
  • Questions fondamentales en ingénierie du logiciel: modélisation, vérification et évolution des applications (MoVES) (2007-2011)
    Salah BAINA, Yves BONTEMPS, Anne-France BROGNEAUX, Andreas CLASSEN, Gaetan DELANNAY, Virginie DETIENNE, Vincent ENGLEBERT, Stephane FAULKNER, Nicolas GENON, Naji HABRA, Jean-Luc HAINAUT, Arnaud HUBAUX, Ivan JURETA, Raimundas MATULEVICIUS, Nicolas MAYER, Laura OGER, Michaël PETIT, Stéphane SANDRON, Germain SAVAL, Hubert TOUSSAINT, Benoît VANDEROSE, Jean-Marc ZEIPPEN, Patrick HEYMANS, Pierre-Yves SCHOBBENS, Anthony CLEVE
  • Environnement graphique de méta-modélisation (MetaCASE) (METADONE) (depuis 2003)
    Amanuel KOSHIMA, Vincent ENGLEBERT, Fabian GILSON, Patrick HEYMANS

 Senior members