Visualizing the Effects of Requirements Evolution

Author(s): S. Saito, Y. Iimura, H. Tashiro, A. Massey, A. Antón
Venue: International Conference on Software Engineering
Date: 2016

Type of Experiement: Case Study
Sample Size: 30
Class/Experience Level: Professional
Participant Selection: NTT requirements engineers with no prior domain knowledge
Data Collection Method: Observation, Survey


This paper shares some of the many issues dealing with evolving requirements in software systems and introduces a way to mitigate these issues with something called Requirements Evolution Charts (RECs). An REC is a visual representation of requirements evolution events over time and is generated from the issue tickets in which requirements engineers record changes to requirements artifacts.

This paper also shares the findings and details of the case study that its authors conducted on 30 experienced Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) requirements engineers. They were asked to identify seven requirements changes in a large-scale system governed by Japanese laws and regulations. These 30 software engineers were divided into two groups of 15 with one group using RECs and one group not using them. In their study, the authors examine whether an REC helps software engineers conduct an impact analysis.

The results of this study revealed that the engineers that used the RECs identified the affected artifacts more accurately and quickly than the group that didn't use the RECs, suggesting that the REC is a valuable tool for examining the impact of requirements evolution.