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A Live Extensible Ontology of Quality Factors for Textual Requirements
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering. (SERT)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3995-6125
Universität Hamburg, DEU.
Netlight GmbH / fortiss GmbH, DEU.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4118-0952
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2022 (English)In: Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Requirements Engineering / [ed] Knauss E., Mussbacher G., Arora C., Bano M., Schneider, IEEE, 2022, p. 274-280Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Quality factors like passive voice or sentence length are commonly used in research and practice to evaluate the quality of natural language requirements since they indicate defects in requirements artifacts that potentially propagate to later stages in the development life cycle. However, as a research community, we still lack a holistic perspective on quality factors. This inhibits not only a comprehensive understanding of the existing body of knowledge but also the effective use and evolution of these factors. To this end, we propose an ontology of quality factors for textual requirements, which includes (1) a structure framing quality factors and related elements and (2) a central repository and web interface making these factors publicly accessible and usable. We contribute the first version of both by applying a rigorous ontology development method to 105 eligible primary studies and construct a first version of the repository and interface. We illustrate the usability of the ontology and invite fellow researchers to a joint community effort to complete and maintain this knowledge repository. We envision our ontology to reflect the community's harmonized perception of requirements quality factors, guide reporting of new quality factors, and provide central access to the current body of knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE, 2022. p. 274-280
Keywords [en]
requirements engineering, requirements quality, quality factor, ontology
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-23733DOI: 10.1109/RE54965.2022.00041ISI: 000931050900034Scopus ID: s2.0-85140969591ISBN: 9781665470001 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-23733DiVA, id: diva2:1701760
Conference
30th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference, RE 2022, Mon 15 - Sat 20 August 2022, Melbourne, Australia
Part of project
SERT- Software Engineering ReThought, Knowledge Foundation
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 20180010
Note

open access

Available from: 2022-10-07 Created: 2022-10-07 Last updated: 2023-03-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards good-enough Requirements Engineering: a theoretical Foundation for Requirements Quality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards good-enough Requirements Engineering: a theoretical Foundation for Requirements Quality
2023 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Context: Requirements Engineering (RE) research has established a common agreement on the impact that the quality of requirements has on subsequent software development activities and artifacts. Furthermore, empirical investigations suppose that RE quality defects tend to scale in cost for remediation when left unattended. This motivates the need for requirements quality assurance.

Problem: This need has been met with requirements quality research, which abounds with publications proposing writing rules and guidelines that are meant to ensure requirements of high quality. However, recent studies have questioned the rigor and relevance of these publications, which would undermine the practical applicability of requirements quality research: requirements quality is a means to an end and serves a specific purpose (i.e., minimizing the emitted risk on downstream activities), but when this purpose is not met due to lack of a rigor and practical relevance, the approach to researching requirements quality needs to be rethought.

Aim: The notion of good-enough requirements engineering constitutes a context-sensitive, activity-based perspective on requirements quality. In this thesis, we aim at both (1) understanding and (2) exploring possibilities of operationalizing this notion.

Methods: We employ a mixed-methods approach to achieve our aim. We use theory adoption in order to provide a theoretical foundation for requirements quality research, conduct a survey to understand the level of theory adherence in the requirements quality literature, and perform subject-based classification to generate an overview of theory-related elements proposed in literature. 

Results: Through theory adoption we derive a harmonized, activity-based requirements quality theory that frames requirements quality according to its impact on subsequent activities and hence ensures its relevance. The subsequent survey confirms that there is a lack of rigor and relevance in previous requirements quality publications, which likely explains the lack of adoption of the research in practice. The overview of quality factors in a subject-based classification is a first step to centralize requirements quality research for visibility and effective reuse.

Conclusion: The notion of good-enough requirements engineering has the potential to re-focus requirements quality research on a more profound notion of rigor and relevance. In this thesis, we report on a first requirements quality theory. Through adherence to this requirements quality theory and contribution to the central repository of subject-based classification, the operationalization of the concept of good-enough requirements engineering can effectively support predicting the impact that requirements quality has on subsequent software development activities in the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2023. p. 184
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Licentiate Dissertation Series, ISSN 1650-2140 ; 1
Keywords
Requirements Engineering, Requirements Quality, Theory Development
National Category
Software Engineering
Research subject
Software Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-23948 (URN)978-91-7295-447-2 (ISBN)
Presentation
2023-01-13, J1630 och Zoom, Campus Karlskrona, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-11-21 Created: 2022-11-18 Last updated: 2022-12-08Bibliographically approved

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Frattini, JulianUnterkalmsteiner, MichaelMendez, DanielFucci, Davide

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