An Automated Collaborative Requirements Engineering Tool for Better Validation of Requirements

Author(s): Nor Aiza Moketar, Massila Kamalrudin, Safiah Sidek, Mark Robinson, John Grundy
Venue: 2016 31st IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE)
Date: 2016

Type of Experiement: Case Study
Sample Size: 6
Class/Experience Level: Graduate Student
Participant Selection: post-graduate students (no further specification)
Data Collection Method: Observation, Survey


The authors of this research paper created an automated requirements validation tool, called TestMEReq, to promote effective communication and collaboration between client-stakeholders and requirements engineers for better requirements validation. The TestMEReq tool existed prior to this paper, but was extended here to include further real-time multi-user collaboration tools, such as chat and real-time editing of the requirements by all users. Using TestMEReq, a requirements engineer would input a user story, which would then be used to generate semi-formalized Essential Use Cases and Essential User Interface models. These would then be used to generate abstract test cases and mock-up user interface prototypes. The requirements engineer has the ability to modify any part of the generated content, and ought to validate the requirements and test cases with the client-stakeholders. Their ultimate research question was, “Can an automated approach and tool support help to improve the communication and collaboration between requirements engineer and their clients in order to validate the requirements?”

To test their research question, the authors performed a case study of 6 post-graduate students, grouped in pairs, where each pair was assigned the roles of requirements engineer and client-stakeholder. Each pair was given a requirements sample to explore use of the tool, and then requested to identify any missing requirements within one hour. The students in each pair were also separated into different rooms, and were requested to discuss the requirements using the facilities of the tool, such as the chat system. Through observation of each group’s session, as well as post-study surveys and semi-formal post-study interviews, the authors concluded that their tool helped the requirements engineer to validate the user’s requirements in terms of consistency, correctness and completeness in a timely manner, without the need to meet face-to-face. This can help to save time and cost for both the requirements engineer and client. Both parties were satisfied with their interactions with one another and found it helpful to discuss the requirements together.