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12 September 2013

Mind the Gaps- A Case Study of Distances between Requirements and Testing

Location: Meeting Room 10, 2nd Floor, JLB
Time: 12:30pm - 13:45pm

Coordination and alignment between development activities enables projects to effectively develop the right software on time. However, when there are gaps, or distances, between project members and between related artefacts vital information may be lost or distorted. This misalignment can then result in issues which require additional cost and effort to fix at a later stage in the project. Gap Finder is a method for assessing potentially troublesome gaps between requirements and testing. This method is based on previous research into requirements-testing alignment and distances within software development. The basic assumption is that distances between people and between artefacts can explain the alignment challenges experienced in industry. Furthermore, that the practices found to improve alignment between requirements and testing affect these distances. The distances include geographical, cognitive and psychological distance between people, semantic distance between requirements and test artefacts, and adherence distance between specified requirements and the behaviour of the produced software. The Gap Finder method has been evaluated and the approach explored by applying the method to a live development project. Various distances have been assessed and improvement practices identified for decreasing or bridging these gaps. As part of the method, the measured distances and improvement practices were presented to and discussed with the development team. This case study and its outcome will be described during the talk including an overview of the Gap Finder method. BIO: Elizabeth Bjarnason is currently a doctoral candidate at Lund University, Sweden. For the past six months she has been working with Prof. Helen Sharp as a visiting PhD student at the Open University. She has previous experience of software development for mobile phones from 15 years at Sony Mobile’s software development unit in Lund, Sweden. She was there jointly responsible for the processes for developing software for Sony’s Xperia phones as part of the process team. In particular, she was responsible for the requirements aspects of those processes. Through her experience of requirements as an integrated part of large-scale software development she has become interested in empirical research within the area of requirements engineering. Her main research interest is the role of requirements in the development process, including integrated and agile requirements engineering, requirements communication and collaboration, and alignment between requirements and later development activities.

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Contact: mailto:h.c.sharp@open.ac.uk