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Challenges and Practices in Aligning Requirements with Verification and Validation: A Case Study of Six Companies

Bjarnason, Elizabeth LU ; Runeson, Per LU ; Borg, Markus LU ; Unterkalmsteiner, Michael; Engström, Emelie LU ; Regnell, Björn LU ; Sabaliauskaite, Giedre; Loconsole, Annabella; Gorschek, Tony and Feldt, Robert (2014) In Empirical Software Engineering 19(6). p.1809-1855
Abstract
Weak alignment of requirements engineering (RE) with verification and validation (VV) may lead to problems in delivering the required products in time with the right quality. For example, weak communication of requirements changes to testers may result in lack of verification of new requirements and incorrect verification of old invalid requirements, leading to software quality problems, wasted effort and delays. However, despite the serious implications of weak alignment research and practice both tend to focus on one or the other of RE or VV rather than on the alignment of the two. We have performed a multi-unit case study to gain insight into issues around aligning RE and VV by interviewing 30 practitioners from 6 software developing... (More)
Weak alignment of requirements engineering (RE) with verification and validation (VV) may lead to problems in delivering the required products in time with the right quality. For example, weak communication of requirements changes to testers may result in lack of verification of new requirements and incorrect verification of old invalid requirements, leading to software quality problems, wasted effort and delays. However, despite the serious implications of weak alignment research and practice both tend to focus on one or the other of RE or VV rather than on the alignment of the two. We have performed a multi-unit case study to gain insight into issues around aligning RE and VV by interviewing 30 practitioners from 6 software developing companies, involving 10 researchers in a flexible research process for case studies. The results describe current industry challenges and practices in aligning RE with VV, ranging from quality of the individual RE and VV activities, through tracing and tools, to change control and sharing a common understanding at strategy, goal and design level. The study identified that human aspects are central, i.e. cooperation and communication, and that requirements engineering practices are a critical basis for alignment. Further, the size of an organisation and its motivation for applying alignment practices, e.g. external enforcement of traceability, are variation factors that play a key role in achieving alignment. Our results provide a strategic roadmap for practitioners improvement work to address alignment challenges. Furthermore, the study provides a foundation for continued research to improve the alignment of RE with VV. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
requirements engineering, verification, validation, testing, alignment, case study
in
Empirical Software Engineering
volume
19
issue
6
pages
1809 - 1855
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000343910700008
  • scopus:84907834259
ISSN
1573-7616
DOI
10.1007/s10664-013-9263-y
project
EASE
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a867e36f-a420-443d-814b-0cfecaa73d3a (old id 3954549)
date added to LUP
2013-08-05 12:28:57
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:15:39
@article{a867e36f-a420-443d-814b-0cfecaa73d3a,
  abstract     = {Weak alignment of requirements engineering (RE) with verification and validation (VV) may lead to problems in delivering the required products in time with the right quality. For example, weak communication of requirements changes to testers may result in lack of verification of new requirements and incorrect verification of old invalid requirements, leading to software quality problems, wasted effort and delays. However, despite the serious implications of weak alignment research and practice both tend to focus on one or the other of RE or VV rather than on the alignment of the two. We have performed a multi-unit case study to gain insight into issues around aligning RE and VV by interviewing 30 practitioners from 6 software developing companies, involving 10 researchers in a flexible research process for case studies. The results describe current industry challenges and practices in aligning RE with VV, ranging from quality of the individual RE and VV activities, through tracing and tools, to change control and sharing a common understanding at strategy, goal and design level. The study identified that human aspects are central, i.e. cooperation and communication, and that requirements engineering practices are a critical basis for alignment. Further, the size of an organisation and its motivation for applying alignment practices, e.g. external enforcement of traceability, are variation factors that play a key role in achieving alignment. Our results provide a strategic roadmap for practitioners improvement work to address alignment challenges. Furthermore, the study provides a foundation for continued research to improve the alignment of RE with VV.},
  author       = {Bjarnason, Elizabeth and Runeson, Per and Borg, Markus and Unterkalmsteiner, Michael and Engström, Emelie and Regnell, Björn and Sabaliauskaite, Giedre and Loconsole, Annabella and Gorschek, Tony and Feldt, Robert},
  issn         = {1573-7616},
  keyword      = {requirements engineering,verification,validation,testing,alignment,case study},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {1809--1855},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Empirical Software Engineering},
  title        = {Challenges and Practices in Aligning Requirements with Verification and Validation: A Case Study of Six Companies},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10664-013-9263-y},
  volume       = {19},
  year         = {2014},
}