Best of REFSQ Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality 2017

Best of REFSQ Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality
Essen, Germany, Feb 27 to March 2
Here, I summarize three days of conference with parallel sessions plus one workshop day. Doing so, I focus on what is useful seen from a practical perspective. At a scientific conference, we also see preliminary results, research previews, ideas and position papers.
In Requirements Engineering, there seems to be a trend towards automatization. This does not contradict my vision of a creative Requirements Engineering, as there are still enough uncreative activities in this area. Each boring routine work calls for automatization to keep our head free for new ideas and the overview.

A good part of the automatization refers to the identification and analysis of natural language requirements. As this chaotic type of requirements specifications still prevails in practice, we try to cope with this as well as possible:
  • Prof. Lionel C. Briand in his keynote presentation "Analyzing Natural-Language Requirements: The Not-Too-Sexy and Yet Curiously Difficult Research that Industry Needs" gave an overview on the automated analysis of text in general and of requirements specifically. The objective of this text analysis can be translation, quality assurance, but also the Impact Analysis, i.e. to identify which other text must be modified, too, when one requirement is changed. Further information about the tool RETA (for the template compliance check) you find here. The tool Narcia does Change Impact analyses.
  • Martin Wilmink, Christoph Bockisch: On the Ability of Lightweight Checks to Detect Ambiguity in Requirements Documentation. pp. 327-343. Natural language requirements suffer from ambiguity, compared to graphical models. These authors have developed a tool named tactile check which automatically identifies ambiguities in requirements. Further informationen about you find at github.
  • Garm Lucassen, Fabiano Dalpiaz, Jan Martijn E.M. van der Werf, and Sjaak Brinkkemper:
    Improving User Story Practice with the Grimm Method: A Multiple Case Study in the Software Industry. pp. 235-252. Here, the automated quality assurance of user stories is supported by the computer linguistic tool Automatic Quality User Story Artisan (AQUSA). The combination of AQUSA with the Quality User Story (QUS) Framework is called the Grimm Method. The method was tested by 30 practitioners in three companies for two months. The quality of the user stories improved quantitatively, but the participants did not perceive this improvement as important.
  • Paul Hübner, Barbara Paech: Using Interaction Data for Continuous Creation of Trace Links Between Source Code and Requirements in Issue Tracking Systems. pp. 291-307. These researchers care for the stepchild traceability. As traceability in practice manually is usually managed only carelessly, the automated identification of traceability links promises practical help. In a case study, such links were found and created automatically in an Issue Tracker System (ITS).
  • Carles Farré, Xavier Franch, and Tudor Ionescu: State of the Practice on Software Release Planning. This research presented at the PrioRE workshop analyses the capabilities of release planning tools and checks how far artificial intelligence algorithms are applied there already. Their previous literature study had shown that out of many promising research approaches, only one had made the jump to a commercial tool. Now, they investigated vice versa what can be found in real-world tools. Their results you find online here.
  • Norbert Seyff, Melanie Stade, Farnaz Fotrousi, Martin Glinz, Emitza Guzman, Martina Kolpondinos-Huber, Denisse Munante Arzapalo, Marc Oriol, Ronnie Schaniel: End-user Driven Feedback Prioritization. This contribution at the PrioRE workshop treats the question how enduser feedback can be analysed and prioritized automatically without a person reading all the text. The authors not yet can present a ready-for-use solution, but they present a list of solution ideas. You find the article online here.
Further concrete results were presented by the following empirical studies:
  • Irum Inayat, Sabrina Marczak, Siti Salwah Salim, and Daniela Damian: Patterns of Collaboration Driven by Requirements in Agile Software Development Teams -
    Findings from a Multiple Case Study. pp. 131-147. In several case studies the communication patterns of distributed agile teams were investigated. The most amazing result was that distance does not seem to have an influence. Previous studies rather showed that each staircase already impairs the communication frequency and quality. However, I can well imagine that here two factors lead to better distance communication: Firstly, in agile teams the communication is both emphasized and structured, and secondly, today it is normal for us to collaborate and be friends with persons who are far away.
  • Katsiaryna Labunets, Fabio Massacci, and Federica Paci: On the Equivalence Between
    Graphical and Tabular Representations for Security Risk Assessment. pp. 191-208. In two experiments, two alternative notations for security risk assessments have been compared with each other: graphical notations and tables. Both showed the same efficacity.

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