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How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration

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Requirements engineering involves collaboration among many project team members. Driven by coordination needs, this collaboration relies on communication and knowledge that members have of their …

Requirements engineering involves collaboration among many project team members. Driven by coordination needs, this collaboration relies on communication and knowledge that members have of their colleagues and related activities. Ineffective coordination with those who work on requirements dependencies may result in project failure. In this paper, we report on a study of roles and communication structures in the collaboration driven by interdependent requirements in a software team. Through on-site observations, interviews with the developers and application of social network analysis, we found that there was significant communication between diverse roles in the project, and identified what were the reasons for communication between the different roles. We also found that these interactions typically involved a core of requirements analysts and testers in close communication, that most often they involved critical members whose absence, whether temporary or permanent, would disrupt the information flow if removed from the project, as well as that new hires were mostly isolated from the team collaboration. Most interestingly we found that the emergent communication structure between the different roles in the project did not conform to the planned communication structure prescribed by the organization. These findings further our knowledge about collaboration driven by requirements, and provide some useful implications for research and development of collaborative tools to support the effective coordination of cross-functional teams in software development.

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  • 1. How Interaction between RolesShapes the Communication Structurein Requirements-Driven Collaboration Sabrina Marczak University of Victoria, Canada (now at PUCRS, Brazil) Daniela Damian University of Victoria, Canada
  • 2. REQUIREMENTS ENGINEERING 2 drives downstream phases and artifacts development Conception Planning R. Analyst P. Manager Design Development Architect Developer Testing Deployment Tester DeveloperHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 3. REQUIREMENTS ENGINEERING 2 drives downstream phases and artifacts development Conception Planning R. Analyst P. Manager R. Analyst Design Development Requirement Architect Developer Tester Architect Testing Deployment Tester Developer Developer P. ManagerHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 4. COLLABORATION in RE 3 Coordination, communication, awareness Dependency R. Analyst R. Analyst Requirement Requirement Tester Architect Tester Architect Developer P. Manager Developer P. ManagerHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 5. COLLABORATION in RE 3 Coordination, communication, awareness Dependency R. Analyst R. Analyst Requirements-driven collaboration Requirement Requirement Tester Architect Tester Architect Developer P. Manager Developer P. ManagerHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 6. research questions 4 Are there patterns of communication in collaboration driven by work on interdependent requirements? How do the different roles interact when working on interdependent requirements? Dependency R. Analyst R. Analyst Requirement Requirement Tester Architect Tester Architect Developer P. Manager Developer P. ManagerHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 7. communication patternsHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 8. communication patterns Requirements Analyst 3 Requirements Analyst 1 Tester 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Test Leader Developer Tester 2 Dev Leader most connected membersHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 9. communication patterns Requirements Analyst 3 Requirements Analyst 1 Tester 1 members in a clique Requirements Analyst 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Developer 2 Developer 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Test Leader Developer Tester 2 Dev Leader Tester 2 most connected members Tester 1 Requirements Analyst 3How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 10. communication patterns Requirements Analyst 3 Requirements Analyst 1 Tester 1 members in a clique Requirements Analyst 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Developer 2 Developer 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Test Leader Developer Tester 2 Dev Leader Tester 2 most connected members Tester 1 Requirements Analyst 3 Developer 1 Developer 2 Dev Leader 1 Requirements Analyst 1 Developer 3 Dev Leader 2 Tester 2 Requirements Analyst 3 critical members Tester 1How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 11. communication patterns Requirements Analyst 3 Requirements Analyst 1 Tester 1 members in a clique Requirements Analyst 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Developer 2 Developer 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Test Leader Developer Tester 2 Dev Leader Tester 2 most connected members Tester 1 Requirements Analyst 3 Developer 1 Developer 2 Test Leader Requirements Analyst 1 Dev Leader 1 Tester 1 isolated members Requirements Analyst 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Dev Leader Developer 3 Developer 1 Dev Leader 2 Developer 2 Tester 2 Tester 2 Requirements Analyst 3 Requirements Analyst 3 critical members Tester 1How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 12. approach 6 R1 R2How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 13. approach 6 Requirements-centric team R. Analyst Developer R. Analyst Developer Developer Developer Developer Architect Architect Tester Tester Tester R1 R2How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 14. approach 6 Requirements-centric social network R. Analyst Developer R. Analyst Developer Developer Developer Developer Architect Architect Tester Tester Tester R1 R2How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 15. approach 6 Social network measures: e.g., degree R. Analyst Developer R. Analyst Developer Developer Developer Developer Architect Architect Tester Tester Tester R1 R2How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 16. industrial case study 7 Large distributed IT organization (US, Brazil, India) Three-months on-site observations Mixed-method methodology Observation Document inspection Interviews QuestionnaireHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 17. industrial case study 8 the ‘KnowHow’ team Maintenance of legacy systems Team distribution (44 members) Brazil (38), USA (5), India (1) PM (2), Req Analyst (4), Dev Lead (5), Dev (20), Test Lead (1), Testers (7), Business Partner (5) New to the product and as a team itself Reverse engineering activity to identify reqtsHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 18. industrial case study 9 20 requirements 4 sets of dependencies well-defined team and communication structuresHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 19. industrial case study 9 20 requirements 4 sets of dependencies well-defined team and communication structures Requirements Analyst Development Test Leader Leader Developer TesterHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 20. questionnaire instrumentHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 21. definition 11 ‘Communication Patterns’ in requirements-driven collaboration Recurring repetition of the same communication behavior across the social networks of dependent requirementsHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 22. communication patterns (1/6) 12How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 23. communication patterns (1/6) 12 Requirements Analyst 1 Developer 2 Developer 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Tester 2 Tester 1 Requirements Analyst 3How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 24. communication patterns (1/6) 12 collaboration driven by interdependent requirements includes significant cross-functional interactions Requirements Analyst 1 Developer 2 Developer 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Tester 2 Tester 1 Requirements Analyst 3How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 25. communication patterns (1/6) 12 collaboration driven by interdependent requirements includes significant cross-functional interactions &" (" Requirements Analyst 1 (" Developer 2 %&" Developer 1 %&" %(" Requirements Analyst 2 *&" *(" C/3?/2D3,914" !$" !#" :0744D3,914" !&" Tester 2 !!" )" !(" #" &" Tester 1 !" (" +,-./0,1,234" +,-./0,1,234" :711.2/=9872"7>" :770@/29872"7>" Requirements Analyst 3 5,6789872" :;90/<=872" :?926,4" A=8B/8,4"How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 26. communication patterns (1/6) 12 collaboration driven by interdependent requirements includes significant cross-functional interactions &" (" Requirements Analyst 1 (" Developer 2 %&" Developer 1 %&" %(" Requirements Analyst 2 *&" *(" C/3?/2D3,914" !$" !#" :0744D3,914" !&" Tester 2 !!" )" !(" #" &" Tester 1 !" (" +,-./0,1,234" +,-./0,1,234" :711.2/=9872"7>" :770@/29872"7>" Requirements Analyst 3 5,6789872" :;90/<=872" :?926,4" A=8B/8,4" cliques inside the networks were also cross-functionalHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 27. communication patterns (1/6) 12 collaboration driven by interdependent requirements includes significant cross-functional interactions &" (" Requirements Analyst 1 (" Developer 2 %&" Developer 1 %&" %(" Requirements Analyst 2 *&" *(" C/3?/2D3,914" !$" !#" :0744D3,914" !&" Tester 2 !!" )" !(" #" &" Tester 1 !" (" +,-./0,1,234" +,-./0,1,234" :711.2/=9872"7>" :770@/29872"7>" Requirements Analyst 3 5,6789872" :;90/<=872" :?926,4" A=8B/8,4" cliques inside the networks were also cross-functionalHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 28. communication patterns (1/6) 12 collaboration driven by interdependent requirements includes significant cross-functional interactions &" (" Requirements Analyst 1 (" Requirements Developer 2 %&" Analyst Developer 1 %&" %(" Requirements Analyst 2 *&" *(" C/3?/2D3,914" !$" !#" Development Test:0744D3,914" !&" Leader Tester 2 Leader !!" )" !(" #" &" Tester 1 !" (" +,-./0,1,234" +,-./0,1,234" :711.2/=9872"7>" :770@/29872"7>" Requirements Analyst 3 5,6789872" :;90/<=872" :?926,4" A=8B/8,4" Developer Tester cliques inside the networks were also cross-functionalHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 29. communication patterns (2/6) 13 Actual communication structure showed significant backchannel communicationHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 30. communication patterns (2/6) 13 Actual communication structure showed significant backchannel communication Requirements Analyst Development Test Leader Leader DeveloperHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy Tester
  • 31. communication patterns (2/6) 13 Actual communication structure showed significant backchannel communication Requirements Analyst Test Leader Requirements Analyst 1 Tester 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Dev Leader Development Test Developer 1 Leader Leader Developer 2 Tester 2 Requirements Analyst 3 DeveloperHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy Tester
  • 32. communication patterns (2/6) 13 Actual communication structure showed significant backchannel communication Requirements Analyst Test Leader Requirements Analyst 1 Tester 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Dev Leader Development Test Developer 1 Leader Leader Developer 2 Tester 2 Requirements Analyst 3 DeveloperHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy Tester
  • 33. communication patterns (2/6) 13 Actual communication structure showed significant backchannel communication Requirements Analyst Development Test Leader Leader DeveloperHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy Tester
  • 34. communication patterns (2/6) 13 Actual communication structure showed significant backchannel communication Decentralized networks (network centralization indexes around 0.4) Likely team members will be less affected by the absence of a colleague Requirements Analyst Development Test Leader Leader DeveloperHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy Tester
  • 35. communication patterns (3/6) 14 Requirements clarification and Communication of changes most predominant reasons for communicationHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 36. communication patterns (3/6) 14 Requirements clarification and Communication of changes most predominant reasons for communication Interactions • were initiated by testers seeking for clarificationsHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 37. communication patterns (4/6) 15 Core subgroups are formed by members originally assigned to work on the requirements Requirements Analyst 3 Requirements Analyst 1 Tester 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Test Leader Developer Tester 2 Dev LeaderHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 38. communication patterns (4/6) 15 Core subgroups are formed by members originally assigned to work on the requirements Requirements Analyst 3 Requirements Analyst 1 Tester 1 Requirements Analyst 2 Test Leader Developer Tester 2 Dev Leader (cores-periphery indexes 0.67-1)How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 39. communication patterns (4/6) 15 Core subgroups are formed by members originally assigned to work on the requirements cores formed primarily by Requirements Analyst 1 Requirements Analyst 3 Tester 1 requirements Requirements Analyst 2 analysts and testers Test Leader Developer Tester 2 Dev Leader (cores-periphery indexes 0.67-1)How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 40. communication patterns (5/6) 16 The absence of some members most likely to disrupt collaboration around these requirementsHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 41. communication patterns (5/6) 16 The absence of some members most likely to disrupt collaboration around these requirements Essential members Developer 1 Developer 2 Dev Leader 1 mostly developers and testers, Requirements Analyst 1 but also reqts analysts Developer 3 originally assigned to work on these requirements Dev Leader 2 Tester 2 Requirements Analyst 3 ability to point out who was Tester 1 working on related tasksHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 42. communication patterns (6/6) 17 New hires were isolated from the rest in the requirements- driven collaborationHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 43. communication patterns (6/6) 17 New hires were isolated from the rest in the requirements- driven collaboration mostly developers Test Leader Requirements Analyst 1 Tester 1 newcomers have difficulties Requirements Analyst 2 in knowing how and when Dev Leader Developer 1 to ask questions Developer 2 Tester 2 Requirements Analyst 3How Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 44. implications and future work 18 • comm. patterns can be identified and visualized in software projects • may provide support for improved awareness and project management • need to investigate more complex coordination situations (larger teams, more dependencies, new development projects) • tool developers to integrate support for collaboration and management of cross-functional teams into existing requirements engineering toolsHow Interaction between Roles Shapes the Communication Structure in Requirements-Driven Collaboration | S. Marczak and D. Damian | RE ’11 | Trento, Italy
  • 45. Thanks for your attention Sabrina Marczak sabrina.marczak@pucrs.br Daniela Damian danielad@cs.uvic.ca

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