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A Multi-Case Study of Agile Requirements Engineering and the Use of Test Cases as Requirements
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering. (SERL Sweden)
2016 (English)In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 77, 61-79 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

[Context] It is an enigma that agile projects can succeed ‘without requirements’ when weak requirementsengineering is a known cause for project failures. While agile development projects often manage well withoutextensive requirements test cases are commonly viewed as requirements and detailed requirements are documented astest cases.[Objective] We have investigated this agile practice of using test cases as requirements to understand how test casescan support the main requirements activities, and how this practice varies.[Method] We performed an iterative case study at three companies and collected data through 14 interviews and 2focus groups.[Results] The use of test cases as requirements poses both benefits and challenges when eliciting, validating,verifying, and managing requirements, and when used as a documented agreement. We have identified five variants ofthe test-cases-as-requirements practice, namely de facto, behaviour-driven, story-test driven, stand-alone strict andstand-alone manual for which the application of the practice varies concerning the time frame of requirementsdocumentation, the requirements format, the extent to which the test cases are a machine executable specification andthe use of tools which provide specific support for the practice of using test cases as requirements.[Conclusions] The findings provide empirical insight into how agile development projects manage andcommunicate requirements. The identified variants of the practice of using test cases as requirements can be used toperform in-depth investigations into agile requirements engineering. Practitioners can use the providedrecommendations as a guide in designing and improving their agile requirements practices based on projectcharacteristics such as number of stakeholders and rate of change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016. Vol. 77, 61-79 p.
Keyword [en]
Agile development, Requirements, Testing, Test-first development, Test-driven development, Behaviour- driven development, Acceptance test, Case study, Empirical software engineering
National Category
Software Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-11834DOI: 10.1016/j.infsof.2016.03.008ISI: 00379271000005OAI: diva2:922658
Available from: 2016-04-24 Created: 2016-04-24 Last updated: 2016-08-31Bibliographically approved

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The full text will be freely available from 2018-04-28 08:02
Available from 2018-04-28 08:02

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