Requirements Engineering and Downstream Software Development: Findings from a Case Study
Requirements management is being recognized as one of the most important albeit difficult phases in software engineering. The literature repeatedly cites the role of well-defined requirements and requirements management process in problem analysis and project management as benefiting software development throughout the life cycle: during design, coding, testing, maintenance and documentation of software. This paper reports on the findings of an investigation into industrial practice of requirements management process improvement and its positive effects on downstream software development. The evidence reveals a strong relationship between a well-defined requirements process and increased developer productivity, improved project planning through better estimations and enhanced ability for stakeholders to negotiate project scope. These results are important since there is little empirical evidence of the actual benefits of sound requirements practice, in spite of the plethora of claims in the literature. An account of these effects not only adds to our understanding of good requirements practice but also provides strong motivation for software organizations to develop programs for improvement of their requirements processes.