Requirements Capture and Conflict

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Requirements Conflict Analysis

Requirements about software attributes have numerous, complex, and non-trivial interdependencies. Our work detects conflicts and cooperations among requirements through software attributes. Since these conflicts/cooperations are based on heuristics, it is rapid, however, at the expense of precision (i.e., it finds many false conflicts and cooperations in addition to true ones). Our approach is conservative in only eliminating false conflicts and cooperations but not true ones (i.e., due to knowledge on trace dependencies). It is also highly scalable because it does not require any understanding of the interdependencies among requirements (i.e., the input of attributes and test scenarios for requirements can be defined independently for every requirement). As a result, the approach generates a reduced, weighted list of potential conflicts and cooperations. This list is significantly shorter than the initial list of potential conflicts and cooperations. While up to n2 potential conflicts may exist among requirements, experience reports have shown few factual ones. The user of our approach is thus spared of the costly and highly error-prone exploration of the many false conflicts and cooperations. The approach is also largely automated and tool supported.

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Relevant Related Events

  • Special Issue in IEEE Software on Persistent Software Attributes

Requirements Capture

WinWin is a requirements engineering system supporting the definition of software-based applications as negotiated stakeholder win conditions. Our experience in using WinWin in defining over 30 digital library applications, including several other groupware systems, is that it is important to supplement negotiation support systems such as WinWin with such capabilities as prototyping, tradeoff analysis tools, email, and videoconferencing. We also found that WinWin's social orientation around considering other stakeholders' win conditions has enabled stakeholders to achieve high levels of shared vision and mutual trust. Our subsequent experience in implementing the specified digital library systems in a rapidly changing web-based milieu indicated that achieving these social conditions among system stakeholders was more important than achieving precise requirements specifications, due to the need for team adaptability to requirements change. We also observed over 35 development teams in using our requirements engineering method and have gained numerous interesting insights into requirements engineering in general and WinWin in particular.

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