Requirements are Slipping Through the Gaps - A Case Study on Causes & Effects of Communication Gaps in Large-Scale Software Development

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Communication is essential for software development as its efficiency throughout the entire project life-cycle is a key factor in developing and releasing successful software products to the market. This paper reports on findings from an explanatory case study aiming at a deeper understanding of the causes and effects of communication gaps in a large-scale industrial set up. Based on an assumption of what causes gaps in communication of requirements and what effects such gaps have, a semi-structured interview study
was performed with nine practitioners at a large market-driven software company. We found four main factors that affect the requirements communication, namely scale, temporal aspects,
common views and decision structures. The results also show that communication gaps lead to failure to meet the customers’ expectations, quality issues and wasted effort. An increased
awareness of these factors is a help in identifying what to address to achieve a more efficient requirements management, and ultimately more efficient and successful software development. By closing the communication gaps the requirements may continue all
the way through the project life-cycle and be more likely to result in software that meets the customers’ expectations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference
EditorsPatrick Heymans
PublisherIEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event19th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference, 2011 - Trento, Italy
Duration: 2011 Aug 292011 Sep 2
Conference number: 19


Conference19th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference, 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Computer Science


  • requirements communication
  • explanatory case study
  • large-scale requirements engineering
  • empirical study


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