Publications in Scientific Journals:
S. Wagner, D. Méndez Fernández, M. Felderer, A. Vetrò, M. Kalinowski, R. Wieringa, D. Pfahl, T. Conte, M. Christiansson, D. Greer, C. Lassenius, T. Männistö, M. Nayebi, O. Markku, B. Penzenstadler, R. Prikladnicki, G. Ruhe, S. Sen, R. Spinola, A. Tuzcu, J. De La Vara, D. Winkler:
"Status Quo in Requirements Engineering: A Theory and Global Family of Surveys";
ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology,
Context: Requirements Engineering (RE) has established itself as a software engineering discipline over the
past decades. While researchers have been investigating the RE discipline with a plethora of empirical studies,
attempts to systematically derive an empirical theory in context of the RE discipline have just recently been
started. However, such a theory is needed if we are to defne and motivate guidance in performing high quality
RE research and practice.
Objective: We aim at providing an empirical and externally valid foundation for a theory of RE practice,
which helps software engineers establish eﬀective and efcient RE processes in a problem-driven manner.
Method: We designed a survey instrument and an engineer-focused theory that was frst piloted in Germany
and, after making substantial modifcations, has now been replicated in 10 countries world-wide. We have a
theory in the form of a set of propositions inferred from our experiences and available studies, as well as the
results from our pilot study in Germany. We evaluate the propositions with bootstrapped confdence intervals
and derive potential explanations for the propositions.
Results: In this article, we report on the design of the family of surveys, its underlying theory, and the full
results obtained from the replication studies conducted in 10 countries with participants from 228 organisations.
Our results represent a substantial step forward towards developing an empirical theory of RE practice. The
results reveal, for example, that there are no strong diﬀerences between organisations in diﬀerent countries
and regions, that interviews, facilitated meetings and prototyping are the most used elicitation techniques,
that requirements are often documented textually, that traces between requirements and code or design
documents are common, that requirements specifcations themselves are rarely changed and that requirements
engineering (process) improvement endeavours are mostly internally driven.
Conclusion: Our study establishes a theory that can be used as starting point for many further studies
for more detailed investigations. Practitioners can use the results as theory-supported guidance on selecting
suitable RE methods and techniques.
Requirements Engineering, Theory, Survey Research, Replication
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