The Role of Distances in Requirements Communication: A Case Study

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Abstract

Requirements communication plays a vital role in development projects in coordinating the customers, the business roles and the software engineers. Communication gaps represent a significant source of project failures and overruns. For example, misunderstood or uncommunicated requirements can lead to software that does not meet the customers’ requirements, and subsequent low number of sales or additional cost required to redo the implementation. We propose that RE (Requirements Engineering) distance measures are useful for locating gaps in requirements communication and for improving on development practice. In this paper, we present a case study of one software development project to evaluate this proposition. Thirteen RE distances were measured including geographical and cognitive distances between project members, and semantic distances between re-quirements and testing artefacts. The findings confirm that RE distances impact requirements communication and project coordination. Furthermore, the concept of distances was found to enable constructive group reflec-tion on communication gaps and improvements to development practices. The insights reported in this paper can provide practitioners with an increased awareness of distances and their impact. Furthermore, the results provide a stepping stone for further research into RE distances and methods for improving on software devel-opment processes and practices.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering

Keywords

  • distances, agile, measurements, testing, requirements, communication, case study
Original languageEnglish
JournalRequirements Engineering
StatePublished - 2015
Peer-reviewedYes

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