Alignment of requirements engineering and software testing : a systematic mapping study
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201611103000
|Publish Date:|| 2016-11-14
|Thesis type:||Master's thesis
Context: As a result of the separation of concerns of a software development project into different phases, the requirements engineering (RE) and software testing (ST) activities have drifted far apart. RE and ST are two activities of a software development process that supplement each other. The requirements dictate how the software to be developed should operate and testing should verify that the software operates exactly as required. Thus the development process could benefit from linking the RE and ST activities for closer collaboration. This is highly important in industry today where systems are oftentimes very complex with thousands of requirements and in particularly in safety critical domains.
Objective: The objective of this thesis is to identify, aggregate, classify and structure all existing research regarding alignment of RE and ST published by the end of 2015 through a systematic mapping study. The contributions are analysed in terms of publication venues, publication year, contribution and research types, benefits and challenges, and how alignment is supported in the studies both from an academic and practitioner viewpoint.
Method: The method applied in this thesis is systematic mapping study that is very similar to a systematic literature review. The research question can be much less specific and more open in a systematic mapping study compared to one of a systematic literature review, since the aim is not to find an applicable solution to a certain problem, but to structure research in a certain area.
Results: The intensity of research show that there has been an increased interest towards the topic in the previous decade and the number of journal or magazine publications has increased during the recent years. Most of the studies contribute with evaluation of frameworks, methods and techniques in case studies together with a few studies presenting practices to support alignment. Tool support encompassing the whole development process and metrics of alignment are concerns requiring more research. The arguments of the benefits of alignment are very convincing, but evidence of these benefits are scarce.
Conclusion: The importance of aligning RE and ST for an optimized development process have been recognized by both researchers and industrial practitioners. RE is as important as ever in the development process to be able to meet the needs of the users, however RE alone cannot guarantee success of a development project, but testing have to be taken into account early on. The main benefits of aligning RE and ST, together with the right tool support for automation, are the decreased burden of engineers, shorter time to market, reduced cost of the development process, and more satisfied customers. This thesis provides an inventory of studies relevant to the topic that are otherwise scattered around in many different journals, workshops and conferences.
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