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What do software architects expect from requirements specifications?

Results of initial explorative studies
: Groß, Anne; Doerr, Joerg


IEEE Computer Society:
First IEEE International Workshop on the Twin Peaks of Requirements and Architecture, TwinPeaks 2012. Proceedings : 25-25 September 2012, Chicago, Illinois, USA
New York, NY: IEEE, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4673-4486-9 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-4673-4485-2 (Online)
International Workshop on the Twin Peaks of Requirements and Architecture (TwinPeaks) <1, 2012, Chicago/Ill.>
Fraunhofer IESE ()
requirements specification; information need; empirical study; view-based requirements specification; software architecture

Software requirements specifications (SRS) serve as an important source of information for software architects with regard to deriving suitable architectural design decisions. However, from a software architect's viewpoint, using these documents efficiently and effectively is often difficult. One could attribute these observations to the fact that SRS also have to address and satisfy the information needs of other document consumers involved in downstream activities like interaction design, user interface design or testing - which is, indeed, very challenging for requirements engineers. In this position paper, we present goals and initial results of explorative studies aimed at investigating information needs that should be fulfilled in SRS from the viewpoint of software architects. In these studies, we gained first insights into the relevance of certain artifact types (like descriptions of interactions or system functionalities) and their suitable representation in terms of notations. Furthermore, the analysis of these initial results revealed variances within the group of software architects regarding information needs. This has motivated the planning and conduction of further studies in the near future that will investigate factors such as expertise or individual motivation, which might influence the information needs from software architects' viewpoints.