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Understanding information needs of agile teams to improve requirements communication (Special issue edited by Nan Niu and Daniel Mendez)

: Hess, Anne; Diebold, Philipp; Seyff, Norbert


Journal of industrial information integration 14 (2019), S.3-15
ISSN: 2452-414X
Fraunhofer IESE ()
requirements specification

For traditional software development processes, we have detailed empirical knowledge about role-specific information needs that have to be satisfied in requirements documents. Particularly, we gained detailed knowledge about priorities of a set of traditional requirements artifacts in a series of empirical studies from the viewpoint of software architects, usability engineers, and testers. However, little is known about such information needs from the viewpoint of agile team members. Motivated by the widespread use of agile development approaches and existing challenges faced by requirements engineering in agile projects, our current research aims at investigating whether agile teams could also benefit from the empirical results regarding information needs that we gained in our previous research. We envision the development of guidelines based on empirical data in order to support the extensive collaboration and communication necessary in agile projects. In this paper, we present our research agenda as well as first results of our work. This includes a mapping analyis by the authors where the scope and content of the outcome of agile RE practices (e.g., user stories) was compared to previously investigated traditional RE artifacts. This analysis shows that artifacts resulting from agile practices cover key requirements information, but at a lower level of detail than in traditional RE artifacts. Based on these first findings, we conducted interviews and performed surveys with agile team members in order to better understand current challenges and the possible impacts of these challenges. The results reveal that, for instance, less detailed documentation leads to problems such as communication lapses, rework and product inconsistencies in agile settings. We also gained first insights regarding the relevance of agile RE practices from the viewpoint of different agile team members. Finally, we elaborated initial guidelines to be used and evaluated within the scope of industry and research projects in the near future.