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Requirements are slipping through the gaps — A case study on causes & effects of communication gaps in large-scale software development

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3 Author(s)
Bjarnason, E. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Lund Univ., Lund, Sweden ; Wnuk, K. ; Regnell, B.

Communication is essential for software development as its efficiency throughout the entire project life-cycle is a key factor in developing and releasing successful software products to the market. This paper reports on findings from an explanatory case study aiming at a deeper understanding of the causes and effects of communication gaps in a large-scale industrial set up. Based on an assumption of what causes gaps in communication of requirements and what effects such gaps have, a semi-structured interview study was performed with nine practitioners at a large market-driven software company. We found four main factors that affect the requirements communication, namely scale, temporal aspects, common views and decision structures. The results also show that communication gaps lead to failure to meet the customers' expectations, quality issues and wasted effort. An increased awareness of these factors is a help in identifying what to address to achieve a more efficient requirements management, and ultimately more efficient and successful software development. By closing the communication gaps the requirements may continue all the way through the project life-cycle and be more likely to result in software that meets the customers' expectations.

Published in:

Requirements Engineering Conference (RE), 2011 19th IEEE International

Date of Conference:

Aug. 29 2011-Sept. 2 2011