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"Damian gave a presentation, "The Hidden Requirements: Exploring Emotions with Placebos", which was different from any I had heard all day. It spoke to the softer skills and fundamental concepts that are below all the process, tool, project, and business issues related to this industry/any industry. It was inclusive of the social and emotional aspects of why we are creating technology in the first place. It was a breath of fresh air! Some items in these slides really spoke to me on both a professional and personal level."

-Julie Duffy, 2018 QA or the highway conference

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"As a developer this talk helped give me a better perspective on a users perception of software and how emotions have an important impact on all aspects of software design and requirements."

-Anonymous, 2018 Codemash conference

The Hidden Requirements


"Exploring Emotions with Placebos" - A thoughtful and practical look at the importance of emotional requirements in software.


Traditionally, software development has focused on various functional and non-functional requirements (things a system should be or do). While this is important, there has been a lack of focus on emotional requirements (feelings that a system should induce). Why is this important?


Because the way we feel about software is important and should be considered!


A bold claim? Perhaps. And, as with any claim, it should be supported with evidence.  In this presentation, I stress the importance of emotional requirements and support the claim by providing relevant facts, opinions, statistics, quotations, examples, hypotheticals, and more.  Once I’ve sufficiently supported the claim, I offer a few practical methods by which to elicit, induce, and test emotional requirements. Finally, I use placebos as lens to view software and gain insight into emotional requirements.

Join me for a thorough and useful exploration of The Hidden Requirements!


Anyone involved in making software.


1 hour (as a keynote or breakout session), 2-8 hours (as an interactive workshop)

Key Takeaways

  • Why we make software

  • What are (emotional) requirements

  • Ways to get and measure emotional requirements