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Revisiting the Challenges in Aligning RE and V&V: Experiences from the Public Sector

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Paper presented at 1st International Workshop on Requirements Engineering and Testing, Karlskrona, Sweden, 2014.

Successful coordination of Requirements Engineering and Testing (RET) is crucial in large-scale software engineering. If the activities involved in RET are not aligned, effort is inevitably wasted, and the probability of delivering high quality software products in time decreases. Previous work has identified sixteen challenges in aligning RET in a case study of six companies. However, all six case companies selected for the study are active in proprietary software engineering. In this experience report, we discuss to what extent the identified RET alignment challenges apply to the development of a large information system for managing grants from the European Union. We confirm that most of the findings from previous work also apply to the public sector, including the challenges of aligning goals within an organization, specifying high-quality requirements, and verifying quality aspects. Furthermore, we emphasize that the public sector might be impacted by shifting political power, and that several RET alignment challenges are amplified in multi-project environments.

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Revisiting the Challenges in Aligning RE and V&V: Experiences from the Public Sector

  1. 1. Revisiting the Challenges in Aligning RE and V&V: Experiences from the Public Sector Jacob Larsson, Capgemini Markus Borg, Lund University Lund University| Public Sector Alignment | lu.se/markus_borg
  2. 2. Experience Report from the Public Sector • Jacob Larsson, Senior Consultant • Test processes and management • Requirements elicitation and analysis • 10+ years in Healthcare & Public Sector, Denmark & Sweden Lund University| Public Sector Alignment | lu.se/markus_borg • Markus Borg – Final year PhD student – 3 years as ABB developer – Traceability, impact analysis
  3. 3. Background: Bjarnason et al. (2013) • Aligning goals within an org. • Cooperating successfully • SRS quality – Clear+verifiable reqts. – Complete SRS – Keeping SRS updated • V&V quality – Defining a good process – Full test coverage – Verfying quality reqts. – Maint. alignment when reqts. change Lund University| Public Sector Alignment | lu.se/markus_borg • Reqts. abstraction levels – Matching test cases – Coordinating between levels • Traceability – Btw. requirements and test – Btw. reqts. abstraction levels • Time and resource availability • Managing large document space • Outsourcing of components or testing
  4. 4. Case: Government Agency in Sweden • Development of new IS for administration of EU grants – Quality focus: interoperability and performance • Framework agreements – several subcontractors – 100-200 developers, 2/3 consultants – 12 parallel projects • RUP with some agile practices, e.g., – Cross-functional teams – Customer on-site – Daily stand-up meetings Lund University| Public Sector Alignment | lu.se/markus_borg
  5. 5. Case: RE and V&V Requirements Engineering • History of poorly specified reqts.  imperfect procurment  inadequate IS  bad evaluations from EU  financial corrections  €100,000,000 in 15 years! • Now: mature RE process – FURPS+ quality model Lund University| Public Sector Alignment | lu.se/markus_borg Verification and Validation • V&V process matured together with RE • Testers and developers work in parallel on user stories • Prototyping • Formal review meetings with cross-functional reviewers
  6. 6. Confirmed Major Challenges • Aligning goals within an org. • Cooperating successfully • SRS quality – Clear+verifiable reqts. – Complete SRS – Keeping SRS updated • V&V quality – Defining a good process – Full test coverage – Verfying quality reqts. – Maint. alignment when reqts. change Lund University| Public Sector Alignment | lu.se/markus_borg • Reqts. abstraction levels – Matching test cases – Coordinating between levels • Traceability – Btw. requirements and test – Btw. reqts. abstraction levels • Time and resource availability • Managing large document space • Outsourcing of components or testing
  7. 7. Challenges Not Experienced • Aligning goals within an org. • Cooperating successfully • SRS quality – Clear+verifiable reqts. – Complete SRS – Keeping SRS updated • V&V quality – Defining a good process – Full test coverage – Verfying quality reqts. – Maint. alignment when reqts. change Lund University| Public Sector Alignment | lu.se/markus_borg • Reqts. abstraction levels – Matching test cases – Coordinating between levels • Traceability – Btw. requirements and test – Btw. reqts. abstraction levels • Time and resource availability • Managing large document space • Outsourcing of components or testing
  8. 8. Conclusion • Most challenges experienced in public sector (11 out of 16) • Several major challenges involve RE (e.g., quality of the SRS and testing quality requirements) • Challenges related to requirements abstraction levels not experienced – Mitigated by mature RE and V&V processes? • Additional challenges related to goals caused by politicial directives • Several reported challenges amplified by the parallelization of projects Lund University| Public Sector Alignment | lu.se/markus_borg
  9. 9. Lund University| Public Sector Alignment | lu.se/markus_borg

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