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5th International Workshop on Empirical Requirements Engineering (EmpiRE 2015), August 24, 2015, Ottawa, ON, Canada

EmpiRE 2015 – Proceedings

Contents - Abstracts - Authors
Title Page

Welcome to the fifth International Workshop on Empirical Requirements Engineering (EmpiRE 2015) at RE’15!
In the past few years, some important developments in the Information Technology Services marketplace as well as in the software industry in particular fueled the debate on the evaluation of Requirements Engineering (RE) approaches, techniques and tools and the comparison of their usefulness, effectiveness and utility in specific practical contexts. Examples of such market trends include, among many others, the increased interest in collaborative and just-in-time application of RE techniques and the use of software analytics techniques for mining requirements repositories. Also, existing RE technology is more and more being applied in the context of new areas, such as Internet of Things, software ecosystems, green and Cloud computing, to name a few. This increased interest in empirical evaluation is precipitating a growing number of industry-university collaborations in the RE community, which, in turn, is instrumental in generating empirical data through case studies, action research studies, experiments, and surveys. As empirical studies are recognized as invaluable for assessing the actual benefits and cost of applying the RE methods and tools proposed in the RE community, the conversation on adopting these and on evaluation practices intensifies even further.

The Changing Landscape of Requirements Engineering Practices over the Past Decade
Mohamad Kassab 
(Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Even though there is ample information available on solid requirements engineering practices, anecdotal evidence still indicates poor practices in industry. The key issue in implementing an improvement is to first identify the areas that need most improvement. Three surveys were conducted in 2003, 2008 and 2013 on the state of practice of requirements engineering. Surveys data obtained includes characteristics of projects, practices, organizations, and practitioners related to requirements engineering. In this paper we present a comparison and analysis of the responses from the three surveys in order to understand the changing landscape of requirements engineering industrial practices over the past years.

Cognitive Effectiveness of Conceptual Modeling Languages: Examining Professional Modelers
Dirk van der Linden and Irit Hadar
(Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, Luxembourg; University of Haifa, Israel; Enterprise Engineering Team, Luxembourg)
Research on improving the cognitive effectiveness of conceptual modeling languages visual notations often lacks empirical consideration of the people and modeling tasks involved. Such consideration can generate insight into cognitive requirements set by different modeling tasks. In this position paper we propose an empirical research design for gaining a deeper understanding of the difference between the cognitive requirements of specific modeling tasks so that modeling notations can be improved, based on empirically grounded needs of professionals.

Inviting Everyone to Play: Gamifying Collaborative Requirements Engineering
Naomi Unkelos-Shpigel and Irit Hadar
(University of Haifa, Israel)
Requirement engineering (RE) presents several challenges stemming from the required collaboration and knowledge transfer between analysists, developers and customers. In order to overcome these challenges and improve the effectiveness of RE, we developed REVISE: Requirement Elicitation and Verification Integrated in Social Environment. This tool is designed based on cognitive theories and implementing gamification elements, to motivate collaboration and knowledge sharing between programmers to encourage and enhance the task of RE. This paper presents our vision for enhancing software engineering via gamification, and the theoretical cognitive foundation on which this vision is based, starting with the example of RE

Towards a Theory on the Interaction between Requirements Engineering and Systems Architecting
Remo Ferrari, Ibtehal Noorwali, and Nazim H. Madhavji
(Siemens, USA; University of Western Ontario, Canada)
Theory building is of foundational importance for the progress of a discipline. In requirements engineering (RE), empirically grounded theory on the interaction between Requirements Engineering and Systems Architecting (SA) is scattered and anecdotal. This weakness may be affecting the way RE and SA processes are designed which, in turn, may be having a negative impact on project time, cost, and quality. In this paper, we describe elements of an emerging theory with a vision that lays the scientific underpinnings of the RE-SA interaction. The significance, potential implications, and future work are discussed.

Addressing the Challenges of Requirements Ambiguity: A Review of Empirical Literature
Muneera Bano
(University of Technology Sydney, Australia)
Ambiguity in natural language requirements has long been recognized as an inevitable challenge in requirements engineering (RE). Various initiatives have been taken by RE researchers to address the challenges of ambiguity. In this paper the results of a mapping study are presented that focus on the application of Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques for addressing ambiguity in requirements. Systematic review of the literature resulted in 174 studies on the subject published during 1995 to 2015, and out of these only 28 are empirically evaluated studies that were selected. From of the resulting set of papers, 81% have focused on detecting ambiguity; whereas 4% and 5% are focusing on reducing and removing ambiguity respectively. Addressing syntactic, semantic, and lexical ambiguities has attracted more attention than other types. In spite of all the research efforts, there is a lack of empirical evaluation of NLP tools and techniques for addressing ambiguity in requirements. The results have pointed out some gaps in empirical results and have raised questions the designing of an analytical framework for research in this field.

Which Security Catalogue Is Better for Novices?
Katsiaryna Labunets, Federica Paci, and Fabio Massacci
(University of Trento, Italy)
Several catalogues of security threats and controls have been proposed to help organizations in identifying critical risks and improve their risk posture against real world threats. But the role that these catalogues play in a security risk assessment has not yet been investigated. In this paper we report an experiment with 18 MSc students conducted to compare the effect of using domain-specific and domain-general catalogues of threats and security controls on the actual efficacy and perception of a security risk assessment method. The experimental results show that there is no difference in the actual efficacy of the method when applied with the two types of catalogues. In contrast, the perceived usefulness of the method is higher for the participants who have used the domain-specific catalogues. In addition, the domain-specific catalogues are perceived as easier to use by the participants.

Can We Know Upfront How to Prioritize Quality Requirements?
Nelly Condori-Fernández and Patricia Lago
(VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Quality requirements prioritization is a complex multi-criteria decision making process that stakeholders face in any phase of software development. Several surveys have been carried out to identify the most important quality requirements considered in various domains and stakeholder perspectives. There is a lack of understanding, however, about how the perceived importance of these qualities can change during development. We conducted an empirical study for analyzing the evolvability of quality requirements prioritization from software architect viewpoint at different phases of a services-oriented design process. We found that interoperability and reliability emerge as the most stable quality requirements for the project in smart transportation domain, whereas usability and security were the least stable in comparison with other qualities identified by 19 teams along the project. These results can be used at project start to include the most relevant quality requirements, and in particular to prioritize those that should be “always there” (if stable) or those that demand specific attention (if unstable).

Cross-Organizational Challenges of Requirements Engineering in the AUTOSAR Ecosystem: An Exploratory Case Study
Mozhan Soltani and Eric Knauss
(University of Gothenburg, Sweden; Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden)
AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture (AUTOSAR) is a central standardization in the automotive industry which was developed to address the increasing complexity in the automotive embedded development. In this paper, we share results from an interview-based case study in which we explore the requirements engineering process of an AUTOSAR-Tier-2 supplier. Our results confirm well-known challenges regarding requirements communication, and verification in the cross-organizational requirements engineering process. These challenges are related to those modules that handle complex sensors and actuators, where specific requirements from the car manufacturers are required beyond the AUTOSAR standard requirements. We report that using the AUTOSAR standard brings commodity advantages, however the presence of non-AUTOSAR requirements results in the well-known requirements challenges in the automotive domain. Future research can broaden the scope of this study by investigating requirements engineering processes of the other AUTOSAR ecosystem parties.

How Do Open Source Software (OSS) Developers Practice and Perceive Requirements Engineering? An Empirical Study
Jaison Kuriakose and Jeffrey Parsons
(Memorial University, Canada)
In open source software (OSS) development domain (a largely volunteer driven, geographically distributed, web based form of software development), it is mainly the OSS developers who are responsible for overseeing and managing the developmental activities. Existing OSS literature, based on qualitative analysis of web-based artifacts (e.g. data on discussion forums, issue databases) of a few OSS projects, report that requirements generation in OSS development is largely informal and ad hoc. But there is lack of an empirical study involving the practitioners themselves i.e. the OSS developers. We conducted a web-based survey among OSS developers in order to gain insights in to how they actually practice requirements engineering activities and what are their perceptions about it. For 57 requirements engineering practices obtained from closed source software development (CSSD) literature, the respondents indicated whether they currently used those practices in their OSS projects and whether those practices were useful for OSS development. The analysis of survey responses revealed that OSS developers used requirements engineering practices (from CSSD) significantly less in their developmental activities than what they believed they should have, indicated through usefulness ratings. We also asked participating OSS developers to indicate their perceptions about the usage of five informal requirements generation activities reported in OSS literature (e.g. developers simply asserting the requirements instead of eliciting). Subsequent analysis revealed that OSS developers used informal requirements generation activities significantly more than requirements elicitation practices (from CSSD) in their developmental activities. We use the survey findings to discuss implications for practice and research.

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