Requirements Engineering Supporting Technical Product Management

Document type: Dissertations
Full text:
Author(s): Tony Gorschek
Title: Requirements Engineering Supporting Technical Product Management
Series: Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series
Year: 2006
Issue: 1
Pagination: 343
ISBN: 91-7295-081-1
ISSN: 1653-2090
Publisher: Blekinge Institute of Technology
City: Karlskrona
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Engineering - Dept. of Systems and Software Engineering (Sektionen för teknik – avd. för programvarusystem)
School of Engineering S- 372 25 Ronneby
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail:
Language: English
Abstract: Market-Driven Requirements Engineering (MDRE) handles the continuous flow of requirements in an engineering effort, and is not limited to a development instance but part of technical product management as a whole. The market-driven environment generates large amounts of requirements from multiple sources, internal and external, threatening to overload the technical management of products. MDRE involves requirements analysis, resource estimation, prioritization, and ultimately release planning. These activities allow for effectively deciding which customers get what features and quality at what point in time, making the accuracy and efficiency of MDRE a major determinant of the success of a product.
This thesis presents research aimed at supporting technical product management in MDRE, based on needs identified in industry. One contribution of the thesis is the development and validation of a process assessment and improvement planning framework, making the identification of process improvement issues possible. The major characteristics of the framework can be described as resource efficiency and relative accuracy by utilizing multiple perspectives and data point triangulation. As a complement to the assessment, the improvement planning enables industry professionals to focus their efforts on one improvement package at a time, supporting step-by-step evolution with less time to return on investment.
Challenges identified during process assessment using the framework resulted in the development of the Requirements Abstraction Model (RAM), which is the central contribution of the thesis. RAM employs multiple levels of abstraction for requirements elicitation, analysis, refinement and management. The model offers the possibility for early requirements triage using product strategies/roadmaps, as well as supporting a structured and repeatable way to perform continuous requirements engineering. This enables product managers to specify requirements that can be traced across abstraction levels, from abstract requirements that can be used by managers, to refined requirements specific enough to be used for estimation and input to development efforts.
RAM was engineered based on industry needs, validated and refined through several empirical evaluations, utilizing both academia and industry as laboratory. This involved close collaboration with industrial partners, Danaher Motion Särö AB and ABB Robotics, where the model was introduced. Monitoring the process improvement (introduction of RAM) indicated substantial improvements, both in accuracy of the work performed using RAM, and in the quality of the requirements produced, with only moderate increase in effort.
Another contribution in the thesis is a compilation of lessons learned from practical handson experience of technology and knowledge transfer from academia to industry, with focus of producing industry relevant usable and useful results.
The main contribution of the thesis is improving the practice of product management by providing and evaluating frameworks for software process improvement and market-driven requirements engineering. The results of the research presented in the thesis are aimed at supporting technical product management taking the unique challenges of market-driven development into account.
Subject: Software Engineering\General
Keywords: Software engineering, Software Process Assessment and Improvement, SPI, Requirements Engineering, RE, Product Management, Market-driven requirements engineering, MDRE, Requirements abstraction model, RAM, Industry relevant research
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-00324