Comparative Study of Requirements Traceability in Facing Requirements Change: Systematic Literature Study and Survey
Abstract: Context: Requirements change commonly occurs during the software development lifecycle. Requirements traceability is one of the important techniques to support requirement change management and analysis, ensure quality and keep requirements consistent during development. We find that existing research mentioned various issues and challenges during practicing requirements traceability, and the practitioners show certain obstacles on the subject. Major existing work of the area focuses on requirements traceability processes, frameworks, and techniques to address certain issues accordingly. And we want to focus on and investigate the existing challenges to practice requirements traceability systematically. Method: We investigate the requirements traceability and its challenges through a systematic literature review (SLR) of various concepts and existing challenges of requirements traceability, and a survey of 7 Chinese small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With 7 interviews, we studied different traceability practices and situations with the surveyed companies under the possible impact of requirement change, development processes, tools, and other factors. And then we conducted conventional qualitative content analysis to identify and classify the challenges in practicing requirements traceability. Results: With the systematic literature review, we classified 14 categories of academic identified challenges. Through the collected data of the survey, we identified and discussed 6 categories of the requirement traceability challenges, involving costs, tools, awareness, documentation, etc. And we compared and discussed the connections and differences of the survey results with the literature for validation of our survey results and possible extension to the existing work. Through research, we may help the practitioners to deal with requirements change with traceability practice better by recognizing and preventing the obstacles. Our research may provide researchers with more information on practical situations. And in the future, researchers may study the traceability models more effectively aiming at addressing the existing problems.
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