University of Oulu

Karhapää, P., Behutiye, W., Rodríguez, P. et al. Strategies to manage quality requirements in agile software development: a multiple case study. Empir Software Eng 26, 28 (2021).

Strategies to manage quality requirements in agile software development : a multiple case study

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Author: Karhapää, Pertti1; Behutiye, Woubshet1; Rodríguez, Pilar2;
Organizations: 1M3S, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE), University of Oulu, 90014, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Languages, Computer Systems and Software Engineering, Faculty of Computer Science, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
3Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, UPC-BarcelonaTech, 08034, Barcelona, Spain
4Department of Service and Information System Engineering, UPC-BarcelonaTech, 08034, Barcelona, Spain
5Nokia Oy, 90620, Oulu, Finland
6ITTI Sp. z o.o, 61-612, Poznan, Poland
7University of Science and Technology, UTP Univerisy of Science and Technology, 5-796, Bydgoszcz, Poland
8Bittium Wireless Ltd., 90590, Oulu, Finland
9Softeam, 75016, Paris, France
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 11.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-04-20


Agile methods can deliver software that fulfills customer needs rapidly and continuously. Quality requirements (QRs) are important in this regard; however, detailed studies on how companies applying agile methods to manage QRs are limited, as are studies on the rationale for choosing specific QR management practices and related challenges. The aim of this study was to address why practitioners manage QRs as they do and what challenges they face. We also analyzed how existing practices mitigate some of the found challenges. Lastly, we connect the contextual elements of the companies with their practices and challenges. We conducted 36 interviews with practitioners from four companies of varying sizes. Since each company operates in different domains, comparing QR management strategies and related challenges in different contexts was possible. We found that the companies apply proactive, reactive, and interactive strategies to manage QRs. Additionally, our study revealed 40 challenges in six categories that companies applying agile methods may face in QR management. We also identified nine contextual elements that affect QR management practice choices and which, importantly, can explain many related challenges. Based on these findings, we constructed a theoretical model about the connection between context, QR management practices, and challenges. Practitioners in similar contexts can learn from the practices identified in this study. Our preliminary theoretical model can help other practitioners identify what challenges they can expect to face in QR management in different developmental contexts as well as which practices to apply to mitigate these challenges.

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Series: Empirical software engineering
ISSN: 1382-3256
ISSN-E: 1573-7616
ISSN-L: 1382-3256
Volume: 26
Issue: 2
Article number: 28
DOI: 10.1007/s10664-020-09903-x
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: We would like to thank all the practitioners who participated in the interviews during this study. This work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement 732253.
EU Grant Number: (732253) Q-RAPIDS - Quality-Aware Rapid Software Development
Copyright information: © The Authors 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit