A Case Study on Value-base Requirements Tracing

Author(s): Heindl, M., Biffl, S.
Venue: Foundations of Software Engineering
Date: 2005

Type of Experiement: Case Study
Sample Size: 1


Link: http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1081706.1081717&coll=ACM&dl=ACM&CF...

This paper presents a requirements traceability method called Value-Based Requirements Tracing (VBRT) and compares it to full traceability. VBRT is based on prioritizing requirements based on value, risk, and effort to identify which traces are more important and valuable than others. High priority requirements are traced in more detail than low priority requirements.

The case study involved a pre-existing project at Siemens Austria consisting of 46 functional requirements (non-functional requirements were not specified and thus ignored in the case study). The project members prioritized the 46 requirements and then the investigator traced the requirements to code following VBRT. High priority requirements were traced to methods. Medium priority requirements were traced to classes. Low priority requirements were traced to packages.

Tracing requirements to code at the method level took 45 minutes per requirement. Tracing requirements to code at the class level took 10 minutes per requirement. The entire trace took 770 minutes following VBRT, whereas it would have taken 2070 minutes (46 times 45) to perform a full trace (all requirements to method level). That means VBRT takes 35% of the effort of full traceability.