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26 - 28 February 2019 // Nuremberg, Germany

Conferences and supporting programme

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Session 06 - Software Engineering II - Software & System Development Process

Automating the Maintenance of Bi-Directional Requirements Traceability Vortragssprache Englisch

Depending on the criticality of the application, requirements traceability is obligatory for certifiable applications to ensure that all requirements are implemented, and that all development artifacts can be traced back to one or more requirements. When requirements are managed well, traceability can be established between each development phase. For example, bi-directional traceability helps determine that all system level requirements have been completely addressed by high level requirements, and that all high level requirements can be traced to a valid system level requirement. Requirements traceability can also cover the relationships to between entities such as intermediate and final work products, changes in design documentation, and test plans. While this is a laudable principle, last minute changes of requirements or code made to correct problems identified during test put such ideals into disarray. Despite good intentions, many projects fall into a pattern of disjointed software development in which requirements, design, implementation, and testing artefacts are produced from isolated development phases. Such isolation results in tenuous links between requirements, the development stages, and/or the development teams. The traditional view of software development typified by the “V” model shows each phase flowing into the next, perhaps with feedback to earlier phases, and a surrounding framework of configuration management and process. Traceability is assumed to be part of the relationships between phases. However, the reality is that while each individual phase may be conducted efficiently, the links between development tiers frequently become increasingly poorly maintained over the duration of projects. It is not difficult to see how such challenges are likely to escalate in a scenario where there are multiple new Test, Evaluation, Verification, and Validation (TEVV) methods to embrace, software re-use is the norm, and that software is to be incrementally developed and verified by means of sequential, progressive testing. The answer to this conundrum lies in the “trace data” between development processes which sits at the heart of any project. Whether or not the links are physically recorded and managed, they still exist. For example, a developer creates a link simply by reading a design specification and using that to drive the implementation. The collective relationships between these processes and their associated data artifacts can be viewed as a Requirements Traceability Matrix, or RTM. When the RTM becomes the center of the development process, it impacts on all stages from high-level requirements through to target-based testing. This presentation will discuss how maintaining that relationship by means of traditional spreadsheets and databases has always led to a situation where the RTM at best reflects the situation as was recently the case, rather than being a reflection of the present situation.

--- Date: 27.02.2018 Time: 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM Location: Conference Counter NCC Ost



Mark Pitchford

LDRA Limited


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