RE 2012 Workshops
RE 2012 Workshops
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2012 Second IEEE International Workshop on Empirical Requirements Engineering (EmpiRE), September 25, 2012, Chicago, Illinois, USA

EmpiRE 2012 – Proceedings

Contents - Abstracts - Authors

Second IEEE International Workshop on Empirical Requirements Engineering (EmpiRE)

Title Page

Welcome to the second International Workshop on Empirical Requirements Engineering (EmpiRE) 2012. EmpiRE 2012 is co-located with the 20th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE 2012). The objective of the workshop EmpiRE 2012 is to increase the cross-fertilization between Empirical Software Engineering and Requirements Engineering. Enjoy EmpiRE 2012!

Review Improvement by Requirements Classification at Mercedes-Benz: Limits of Empirical Studies in Educational Environments
Daniel Ott and Alexander Raschke
(Daimler, Germany; Ulm University, Germany)
Reviews are the most common way to ensure quality in natural language (NL) requirements specifications. But with increasing size (up to 3,000 pages in the automotive domain) and complexity of the specification documents, the review task tends to be less effective. To improve the review task for large documents, one possible solution is the ‘topic landscape’. The idea of this approach is to introduce a pre-classification and clustering of requirements according to topics. In a first empirical study with eight students, we analyzed the effectiveness of the topic landscape approach. During this study, we encountered a general limitation of experiments with large requirements specifications, especially in external environments like universities. Industries have a strong demand on new approaches and methods to deal with large specifications. However, there is a growing gap between the number of requirements that can be examined during an empirical study and the number of requirements required to ensure results that are valid for real requirements specifications. This paper describes the conducted empirical study in detail and shows recognized problems concerning the limits of educational environments.

Investigating the Usefulness of Notations in the Context of Requirements Engineering: Research Agenda and Lessons Learned
Anne Gross, Jakub Jurkiewicz, Joerg Doerr, and Jerzy Nawrocki
(Fraunhofer IESE, Germany; Poznan University of Technology, Poland)
In recent years, empirical studies have gained more and more importance in requirements engineering. Especially studies aimed at investigating the efficiency and effectiveness of software requirements specification techniques have been reported frequently. In fact, objective and quantifiable data collected during experimental investigations can be very beneficial both for researchers evaluating new methods and for practitioners, who have to decide which technique to choose within a certain context. However, in order to deliver sound and empirically valid data, experimental investigations have to be planned and conducted carefully. This is a challenging task, as it requires experimenters to think and decide about important aspects and control possible threats to validity. In this paper, the authors report about their experiences in jointly planning and conducting an experimental comparison of prominent notations such as UML Activity Diagrams (ACT), Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), Event-driven Process Chains (EPC), and Use Cases. These lessons learned are supplemented with parts of their current research agenda as well as the results they achieved by applying the experimental design in initial experiment runs. In future work, the aim is to plan and run further experimental comparisons by applying the design presented in this paper.

Evidence-Based Timelines for Project Retrospectives – A Method for Assessing Requirements Engineering in Context
Elizabeth Bjarnason, Richard Berntsson Svensson, and Björn Regnell
(Lund University, Sweden)
Effective requirements engineering (RE) can support efficient development of successful products. However, assessing and improving how RE supports its context, i.e. the development life cycle, is non-trivial since many different roles and factors are involved over a long period of time. Project retrospectives may support project teams in reflecting on how requirements are agreed upon and communicated throughout a project. However, time is rarely taken for group reflection after project completion. Furthermore, project events may be recalled differently due to memory bias. We propose supporting project retrospective meetings by providing prepared evidence-based timelines visualizing the project history. The method was designed and evaluated in collaboration with a large telecommunications company using action research with the goal of assessing RE within the full development life-cycle. The initial evaluation results show that the method may support project retrospectives through fact-based memory recall and by enabling efficient and factual group discussions of RE in the context of the project life-cycle. In addition, some areas for improvement of the method have been identified, e.g. strengthened focus on expected outcome and clearer visual separation of evidence types.

Case Studies in Just-In-Time Requirements Analysis
Neil A. Ernst and Gail C. Murphy
(UBC, Canada)
Many successful software projects do not follow the commonly assumed best practice of engineering well-formed requirements at project inception. Instead, the requirements are captured less formally, and only fully elaborated once the implementation begins, known as `just-in-time' requirements. Given the apparent disparity between best practices and actual practices, several questions arise. One concerns the nature of requirements engineering in non-traditional forms. What types of tools and practices are used? Another is formative: what types of problems are encountered in just-in-time requirements, and how might we support organizations in solving those problems? In this paper we conduct separate case studies on the requirements practices of three open-source software projects. Using an individual task as the unit of analysis, we study how the project proceeds from requirement to implementation, in order to understand how each project manages requirements. We then comment on the benefits and problems of just-in-time requirements analysis. This allows us to propose research directions about requirements engineering in just-in-time settings. In particular, we see the need to better understand the context of practice, and the need to properly evaluate the cost of decisions. We propose a taxonomy to describe the requirements practices spectrum from fully formal to just-in-time.

Towards Understanding Requirements Engineering in IT Ecosystems
Alessia Knauss, Arber Borici, Eric Knauss, and Daniela Damian
(University of Victoria, Canada)
IT ecosystems are large software systems that consist of various, constantly interacting and partly autonomous subsystems as well as stakeholders of the overall system. Because of these specific properties, such systems are a highly relevant research area in the field of requirements engineering. In this paper we describe our approach to investigate and to model the flow of requirements in IT ecosystems. We are currently applying this approach in a case study in the IBM Collaborative Lifecycle Management project. This project is of particular relevance to the requirements engineering community because of its open commercial approach. This paper contributes by highlighting challenges of requirements engineering in IT ecosystems, i.e. contextualizing requirements, mapping them to subsystems, and communicating them to stakeholders. We define research questions and describe a mixed method approach to answer them.

Towards Customer-Based Requirements Engineering Practices
Jose Luis de La Vara, Luis Hoyos, Enrique Collado, and Mehrdad Sabetzadeh
(Simula Research Laboratory, Norway; OpenFinance, Spain; Schibsted, Chile)
Factors related to the requirements engineering process and customers have been repeatedly reported among those that most strongly influence the success of a software project. However, requirements engineering research has so far barely studied practice from a customer-based perspective. Furthermore, rigorous evidence about customers’ perspectives regarding requirements engineering approaches is scarce, and links between customer-based requirements engineering research and the industrial practices are necessary. This paper argues that new research is necessary to tackle the above weaknesses. Our position is that: requirements specification approaches must be validated from a customer-based perspective; the influence of customers’ characteristics on the requirements engineering process must be studied in more depth; and potential customer-based improvements in practice must be assessed. We also present situations in which the results from these activities would help practitioners, propose a research agenda to execute these activities, and discuss challenges that might hinder their execution.

Revealing the Obvious? A Retrospective Artefact Analysis for an Ambient Assisted-Living Project
Itzel Morales-Ramirez, Matthieu Vergne, Mirko Morandini, Luca Sabatucci, Anna Perini, and Angelo Susi ORCID logo
(Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Italy)
A variety of methods and techniques for requirements elicitation and analysis have been proposed, in response to the diverse needs posed by the different types of information that have to be managed in designing complex software systems. Experience from real projects gives evidence that often these techniques are combined within a project, but which requirements each technique can better contribute to specify, and which information sources are prevalently used during requirements elicitation and validation is poorly documented. In this paper, we describe a retrospective analysis of the requirements engineering process of a project in the domain of ambient assisted living, where several techniques were used to elicit the requirements of a socio-technical system. By empirically analysing the available project documentation, we collect evidences of the type of information that various elicitation techniques can give in a real project, linking initial sources of information to final requirements through different analysis paths. We illustrate the design of this study and present an analysis of the collected data.

Assessing a Requirements Evolution Approach: Empirical Studies in the Air Traffic Management Domain
Fabio Massacci, Deepa Nagaraj, Federica Paci, Le Minh Sang Tran, and Alessandra Tedeschi
(University of Trento, Italy; Deep Blue, Italy)
Requirements evolution is still a challenging problem in engineering practices. This paper presents a family of empirical studies about the applicability and usefulness of an approach for modeling evolving requirements. The empirical studies involved different categories of users (researchers, master students and domain experts) who have applied the approach to a real industrial evolutionary scenario drawn from the Air Traffic Management (ATM) domain. The results from the studies demonstrated the usefulness of the approach for requirements evolution in complex industrial settings such as the ones in the ATM domain. Furthermore, the validation provided us useful insights about the problem of requirements evolution faced in different industrial contexts.

LASR: A Tool for Large Scale Annotation of Software Requirements
Ishrar Hussain, Olga Ormandjieva, and Leila Kosseim
(Concordia University, Canada)
Annotation of software requirements documents is performed by experts during the requirements analysis phase to extract crucial knowledge from informally written textual requirements. Different annotation tasks target the extraction of different types of information and require the availability of experts specialized in the field. Large scale annotation tasks require multiple experts where the limited number of experts can make the tasks overwhelming and very costly without proper tool support. In this paper, we present our annotation tool, LASR, that can aid the tasks of requirements analysis by attaining more accurate annotations. Our evaluation of the tool demonstrate that the annotation data collected by LASR from the trained non-experts can help compute gold-standard annotations that strongly agree with the true gold-standards set by the experts, and therefore eliminate the need of conducting costly adjudication sessions for large scale annotation work.

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