University of Twente Student Theses


Designing a requirements engineering process for performance monitoring

Terpstra, E. (2017) Designing a requirements engineering process for performance monitoring.

Abstract:Purpose: Requirements engineering processes (REPs) are critical to the success of software projects. Despite the increasing body of knowledge in REPs, for many organizations deficient requirements are one of the top 5 reasons for software project failure. This thesis reports on a project aiming to design a REP for a specific software product: End-User-Performance (EUP), of a small company in The Netherlands, The Backbone. The history of the product is relatively short at the time of writing this thesis. Similarly to many other small companies, The Backbone did not have a structured REP, nor documented the software requirements in a repeatable way across projects. Therefore, The Backbone believes that using a structured REP would help them focus their staff’s energy on the most important requirements activities in order to achieve requirements of better quality and a more time-efficient REP. Research process: For the purpose of designing the new REP for the EUP monitoring service of The Backbone, this project employed the Design Science Research Methodology (DSRM) of Peffers et al. Three iterations of the DSRM by designing and evaluation of a REP led to the proposal of a new REP for the EUP monitoring service of The Backbone. This REP is based on objectives from The Backbone, empirical findings in literature, findings in the current REP practice of The Backbone, and evaluations of possible new REPs. Each iteration of the DSRM concluded with different validity evaluations consisting of interviews with the end-user of the REP, an observation of the REP in use, and interviews with professionals in the field of requirements engineering that are employed by other organisations next to The Backbone. Results: The REP proposed to The Backbone consists of five phases: (1) sales, (2) requirements composition, (3) implementing, (4) performance monitoring, and (5) evaluation. In this REP, the results of the previous phase are the input for the next phase. The REP is iterative. It is designed in a way that allows to go back to a previous phase if it appears that more information from that previous phase is needed to continue the REP. The proposed REP yields a new artefact, the design document, which leads the REP-practising consultant through the process phases and encourages him or her to document the requirements in a structured way. The applicability and the suitability of our proposed REP is evaluated in a real-world case. In this evaluation, The Backbone found that the proposed REP is an improvement in respect to their current REP in terms of usability, usefulness, time-efficiency, quality of written requirements, implementation quality of requirements, and professional image. recommendations The REP proposed in this thesis is directly applicable for the EUP product of The Backbone. The recommendations for the future of the REP that crystallised during this master project, concern: (1) the use of technology in support of the process, and (2) the use of artefacts. We came up with three recommendations for leveraging technological support for requirements engineering: • Build a modular software tool around the REP, make use of clickpaths to search in big EUP projects. • Link the software tool around the REP with a database. • Use artificial intelligence in the software tool to compare requirements and evaluations automatically to each other. Next, we formulated two recommendations regarding artefacts: • Treat the design document of the REP as a living document. • Use a general form of the REP for other custom software projects inside The Backbone.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
The Backbone, Hengelo
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:54 computer science
Programme:Computer Science MSc (60300)
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