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Ph.D. Thesis
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I recently published my Ph.D. Thesis entitled 

"Requirements Engineering with Interrelated Conceptual Models and Real World Scenes"

Ph.D. Thesis, Technical University Aachen (RWTH Aachen), Department for Information Systems (Informatik V).
(Click here to go to the RWTH publication site.)

GMD Research Series 2000, No.9, GMD Forschungszentrum Informationstechnik, ISBN 3-88457-381-0, ISSN 1435-2699.
(Click here to go to the publication.)

This thesis has been supervised and reviewed by Prof. Dr. M. Jarke (Technical University Aachen, RWTH) and N.A.M. Maiden Ph.D. (City University London).

Click to download paper in PDF format. Click here to download the thesis directly in PDF file format (5 MB).

 

Abstract

Requirements Engineering (RE) is the process of creating requirements documents with the objective to establish a complete, consistent, and unambiguous description of intended changes for a given application domain (e.g. in respect to software, hardware, or business processes) on an abstract conceptual level. RE is also a cooperative learning process in which stakeholders from different backgrounds (having different experiences and objectives) and requirements analysts have to communicate with each other to gain a common understanding on the application domain as well as to elicit and validate requirements. Because in general, stakeholders are not trained to understand abstract descriptions/models the use of scenarios (i.e. concrete stories of existing or desired system usage) and real world scenes (captured or animated observations of current or future system usage system usage employing rich media like video) become more and more popular in industrial practice to improve communication about the application domain and desired changes. However, current scenario-based RE approaches and techniques utilising rich media in the analysis process (e.g., ethnographical or participatory design techniques) do not provide a tight and fine granular integration of scenarios and scenes with conceptual descriptions. 

The approach presented in my PhD thesis provides tool-supported fine-granular interrelations between parts of abstract concepts of conceptual models and parts of concrete real world scenes that have influenced the creation of the concept or have been used for validation. The established interrelations result in a special form of pre-requirements traceability which extends existing traceability approaches in RE in the way that it provides i) traceability back to concrete instance examples from the real world instead of just tracing between different representations of abstractions and ii) traceability in a fine-grained way allowing interrelations of arbitrary parts of conceptual models with arbitrary parts of real world scenes and not just interrelationships on a document level. I developed methods and a supporting process-centred modelling environment which utilises the interrelations in a reference base kind of manner to support the explanation and negotiation as well as informal and formal inspections of the conceptual models. The interrelated concepts are also used as a structuring mechanism for the (normally unstructured) real world scenes allowing, for instance, to compare different observations (e.g., two different usage situations of the same activity in different locations) in respect to the concepts they are related to or to evaluate the coverage of the current analysis. We have validated the approach in two case studies and experimental research in the industrial field of mechanical engineering.

 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Introduction

1.1    Problem Description and Goals for the Thesis
   
1.2    Real World Problems Tackled
1.3
    Research Approach
1.4
    Structure of the Thesis

Part I: Problem Analysis

Chapter 2
State-of-the-Art in Scenario-Based Requirements Engineering

2.1
    Structure of this Chapter
2.2    Definitions for RE throughout Literature
2.3
     Domains of RE: The System, the Application Domain,
         and Shared Phenomena
2.4
    Products of RE: Requirements, Current-State Descriptions,
         and Specifications
2.5  
 Participants of RE: Stakeholders and Consultants Utilising Scenarios and
         Use Cases for Requirements Engineering
2.8  
 Conclusions

Chapter 3
State-of-the-Art in Participatory Design and Requirements Traceability

3.1    Structure of this Chapter
3.2    Collecting Real World Scenes in the Field:
         Overview Ethnographic and Participatory Design Techniques
3.3    Pre-Requirements Traceability

Part II: Solution

Chapter 4
The Conceptual Solution
4.1    Structure of this Chapter
4.2    Focus and Solution Ideas of Approach
4.3    Supported Conceptual Languages and Methodical Strategies
4.4
    Elicitation and Validation of High Level Intentional Aspects:
         Interrelating Conceptual Goal Models with RWEs
 
4.5    Elicitation and Validation of Low Level Behavioural Aspects:
         Interrelating Behavioural Models with RWEs

4.6    Supporting Goal Refinement and Middle-Out Strategies:
         Integrating i* Strategic Rationale Models (SR)
4.6    Conclusions

Chapter 5
The Technical Solution PRIME-CREWS

5.1  
 Structure of this Chapter
5.2
    Analytical Models
5.3
    Technical Environment: PRIME-CREWS

Part III: Application and Validation

Chapter 6
Validation

6.1
    Validation Plan
6.2    Application Domain for Field Studies:
         A Machine Manufacturing Company
6.3    Early Case Study: The Trial Application
6.4  
 Extended Case Study: Empirical Investigations with
         Realistic Field Study Data

Chapter 7
Advanced Support for RE Activities with Real World Scenes

7.1
    Structure of this Chapter
7.2  
 Supporting Formal Reviews of Conceptual Models
         with Real World Scenes
 
7.3    Bridging the Gap between Past and Future in RE

Chapter 8
Conclusions

8.1
Summary and Contributions of this Thesis
8.2
Outlook

References

Appendix A
Process Modelling: Process Maps

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