Diploma and Master Theses (authored and supervised):
"A systematic literature review on requirements tracing approaches";
Supervisor: S. Biffl, M. Heindl;
Institut für Softwaretechnik und interaktive Systeme,
Requirements management (RM) is one of the most important parts in software engineering. A subtopic
of RM is requirements traceability. Requirements traceability means to be able to tell in which part of the
software a specific requirement has been implemented and vice versa. This ability offers many benefits,
such as the possibility to estimate which effect a change will have or to track completion status. Therefore
several different approaches exist for it. In the last 15 years much research has been conducted in the
field of requirements tracing. But results are very numerous and often unordered as well. Researchers
publish very valuable work, but it often lacks the context to a general procedural concept. There are some
literature surveys. However existing reviews are rather focused and do not provide a procedural
overview, but just give a disambiguation on traceability.
The goal of this work is to clear the view on the latest developments in the field of requirements
traceability by carrying out a systematic literature review on the recent scientific contributions about
Concerning the study methodology I will apply the concept of the systematic literature review. Coming
from the domain of medical sciences it provides a more structured and repeatable process than
traditional literature surveys. My work also provides researchers with a generic lightweight-guideline to
conduct systematic literature reviews in the field of software engineering. With the following survey the
reader also gets a tangible example how our process is applied.
As a starting point for our work I take a procedural model called the Tracing Activity Model . It
suggests several explicit tracing activities and the order in which they are executed, a concept that is
missing so far in the domain of requirements traceability.
Next I map the results of our systematic review to the Tracing Activity Model. The main interest is tracing
approaches, where I show by which means the tracing activities can be conducted. However another goal
is to generally validate whether the proposed Tracing Activity Model really reflects the activities, which
are explicitly or implicitly reported by researchers in the field. This will also include variations in the order
of tracing activities. Furthermore I will investigate the parameters (such as precision, recall, completeness
etc.) which influence requirements traceability.
So my work should serve as a good starting point for researchers in this field, as this work can show in
which aspects of requirements tracing further research is necessary. But it can also provide practitioners
with a sound overview and ideas to improve their requirements tracing process. Practitioners might be
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more interested in the well-covered topics of requirements tracing, where they can find ready-to-use
concepts for their work. I therefore also try to offer such an overview.
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