Evaluating the Applicability of Requirements Engineering Tools for Distributed Software Development

Geisser, Michael ; Hildenbrand, Tobias ; Riegel, Norman

GeHR07_Arbeitspapier_02_2007_RE_Tools.pdf - Published

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URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/1644
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-16449
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2007
The title of a journal, publication series: None
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > Sonstige - Fakultät für Betriebswirtschaftslehre
MADOC publication series: Area Information Systems and Institute for Enterprise Systems > Working Papers Lehrstuhl für ABWL und Wirtschaftsinformatik (Heinzl) (bis 2011)
Subject: 004 Computer science, internet
Subject headings (SWD): Requirements engineering , Evaluation , CASE , Softwareentwicklung
Abstract: Requirements engineering (RE) is the first part of the software engineering process. It consists of distinct phases in which certain stakeholders deal with the problem of creating and maintaining a systems requirements document. This artifact should clarify what the customer expects from the system and how the developer should design it. RE is often mentioned as the most critical phase in the software development process. Mistakes made during the requirements phase can cost up to a hundred times more than coding errors. Moreover, The Standish Group International (2003) found out, that on average only 54%, of the originally defined features of a project are delivered and 45% of those features that are delivered are never used. Misidentified requirements are the most significant source of customer dissatisfaction with delivered systems. The problem of creating the requirements document is reinforced through geographical distance between the different people involved in the RE process. Not only the distance between customers or users and the engineers constitutes a problem, often the engineers themselves are distributed all over the world, e.g. due to outsourcing decisions and offshoring projects. The number of firms participating in global software development was low, but today 203 of the US Fortune 500 engage in offshore outsourcing endeavors. Today, more than 50 nations participate in collaborative software development projects internationally. The reasons are cost advantages and a large and well-educated pool of labor—India is a famous example. Although RE is always distributed in some way due to the distance between the different stakeholders, the term distributed RE is used to emphasize the distance between them, e.g. in global RE processes. Instead of using simple text files or diagrams for communicating both requirements and possible changes to them, nowadays a lot of tools from different vendors exist to help mastering the RE process. These tools belong to the class of so-called computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools. Many tools support a multi-user environment that is needed for distributed RE. These tools are intended to help overcoming some of the problems mentioned before. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to give an overview over existing RE tools on the market and to evaluate how they support the different phases of RE - especially a distributed RE process. The paper is structured as follows: In chapter 2 the generic phases of the RE process are shortly described, followed by a short market overview of tools in chapter 3. The four market leading tools are evaluated in detail in chapter 4, supplemented by a short description of some interesting other tools, especially from smaller German providers. Finally, chapter 5 summarizes the results of the evaluation.
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