University of Oulu

Woubshet Behutiye, Pilar Rodríguez, Markku Oivo, Sanja Aaramaa, Jari Partanen, Antonin Abhervé, Towards optimal quality requirement documentation in agile software development: A multiple case study, Journal of Systems and Software, Volume 183, 2022, 111112, ISSN 0164-1212,

Towards optimal quality requirement documentation in agile software development : a multiple case study

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Author: Behutiye, Woubshet1; Rodríguez, Pilar2; Oivo, Markku1;
Organizations: 1M3S Empirical Software Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
3Nokia, Oulu, Finland
4Bittium Wireless Ltd., Oulu, Finland
5Softeam, Paris, France
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2022
Publish Date: 2021-12-13


Context: Agile software development (ASD) promotes minimal documentation and often prioritizes functional requirements over quality requirements (QRs). The minimal documentation emphasis may be beneficial in reducing time-to-market for software. However, it can also be a concern, especially with QRs, since they are challenging to specify and document and are crucial for software success. Therefore, understanding how practitioners perceive the importance of QR documentation is valuable because it can provide insight into how they approach this task. It also helps in developing models and guidelines that support the documentation of QRs in ASD, which is a research gap.

Objective: We aim to understand practitioners’ perceptions of QR documentation and factors influencing this task to derive a model that supports optimal QR documentation in ASD.

Method: We conducted a multiple case study involving 12 participants from three cases that apply ASD.

Results: Practitioners identify QR documentation as important and perceive it as contributing to ensuring quality, clarifying QRs, and facilitating decision-making. Time constraints, QR awareness, and communication gaps affect QR documentation. Missing and outdated QR documentation may lead to technical debt and a lack of common understanding regarding QRs. We introduce a model to support optimal QR documentation in ASD by focusing on the factors: time constraints, QR awareness, and communication gaps. The model provides a representation and explanation of the factors affecting QR documentation in ASD and identifies mitigation strategies to overcome issues that may occur due to these factors.

Conclusion: The study reveals the importance of documenting QRs in ASD. It introduces a model that is based on empirical knowledge of QR documentation practices in ASD. Both practitioners and researchers can potentially benefit from the model. For instance, practitioners can analyze how time constraints or QR awareness affect documentation, see potential issues that may arise from them, and utilize strategies suggested by the model to address these issues. Researchers can learn about QR documentation in ASD and utilize the model to understand the topic. They can also use the study as a baseline to investigate the topic with other cases.

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Series: Journal of systems and software
ISSN: 0164-1212
ISSN-E: 1873-1228
ISSN-L: 0164-1212
Volume: 183
Article number: 111112
DOI: 10.1016/j.jss.2021.111112
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This study is partially funded by the Q-Rapids project, European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation funded program under grant agreement No 732253.
EU Grant Number: (732253) Q-RAPIDS - Quality-Aware Rapid Software Development
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (