The impact of personality on requirements engineering activities: A mixed-methods study

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Context: Requirements engineering (RE) is an important part of Software Engineering (SE), consisting of various human-centric activities that require the frequent collaboration of a variety of roles. Prior research has shown that personality is one such human aspect that has a huge impact on the success of a software project. However, a limited number of empirical studies exist focusing on the impact of personality on RE activities. Objective: The objective of this study is to explore and identify the impact of personality on RE activities, provide a better understanding of these impacts, and provide guidance on how to better handle these impacts in RE. Method: We used a mixed-methods approach, including a personality test-based survey (50 participants) and an in-depth interview study (15 participants) with software practitioners from around the world involved in RE activities. Results: Through personality test analysis, we found a majority of the practitioners have a high score on agreeableness and conscientiousness traits and an average score on extraversion and neuroticism traits. Through analysis of the interviews, we found a range of impacts related to the personality traits of software practitioners, their team members, and external stakeholders. It was found that having extraversion characteristics is considered as plus points compared to agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience characteristics that have been stated as highly important to have when involved in RE activities. These impacts can vary depending on the RE activities, the overall software development process, and the people involved in these activities. Moreover, we found a set of strategies that can be helpful in overcoming some of the challenges associated with diverse personalities when involved in RE activities. Conclusion: Our identified impacts of personality on RE activities and strategies serve to provide guidance to software practitioners on handling such possible personality impacts on RE activities and for researchers to investigate these impacts in greater depth in future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
Number of pages56
JournalEmpirical Software Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Human aspects
  • Personality
  • Requirements Engineering
  • Socio-technical grounded theory for data analysis
  • Software Engineering

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