Requirements Engineering is one of the most important subjects to take into account in order to reduce possible cost overruns in software projects, derived from a lack of definition in the final user expectations. TCP has developed a methodological framework, named Meta-IRqA,that describes a set of engineering activities, complemented with guidelines, to help the analysts to correctly specify a system. Special emphasis is done on the application of this framework, and its supporting tool, to embedded systems, due to the lack of efficient mechanisms to carry out the specification work. A gap exists between formal methods, specially indicated for critical systems, and natural language description. Two European companies, that construct embedded systems, shaltrial Meta-IRqA, to obtain conclusions about the benefits to apply a repeatable, traceable, measurable and systematic process to the development of real projects.
The main objective of this project is to test the methods and tools included in the existing framework process named Meta-IRqA. This reference process has been developed by TCP with the aim to improve the activities and results obtained during the requirements specification phase of sw system projects. The framework fits specially well while defining embedded systems, because no other alternative exists for those except formal methods, in the case of highly constrained, or almost plain text, in the rest systems. This approach emphasises the idea of systematic engineering process, with the clear description of activities to be developed in an iterative way, with the main goal to obtain a useful, complete and coherent specification. Meta-IRqA shall be applied in two different real projects developed by companies in the fields of defence and robotics.
DESCRIPTION OF WORK
Attending to the objective of testing an existing and promising methodology, the work has been structured to minimise the possible risks derived from the establishment of a new methodology in a working and mature organisation. A first training stage is needed to communicate the basis of the methodology and the way to apply it with the supporting tool. After that, a preparation phase assures the correct development of the application phase. One key point of this trial is to visualise real projects as a whole productive process, and not only from the requirements specification viewpoint. The thesis is that specification has a wide impact on the productive process of building software systems. This is the reason why we are going to develop the requirements specification phase with Meta-IRqA (trial application), and then wait until the running projects reach their final stages to get information about the constructed systems in terms of global savings, re-use benefits, analysis benefits, specification complexity reduction, etc. Once all this information would be compiled, the selected ""specification quality"" parameters shall be used to extract conclusions from the global process and the influence of Meta-IRqA application. During the project, several dissemination activities shall be developed, both internal and external, in order to achieve a wide spread of the methodology and the practical experience gained, especially in terms of the new technology adoption and the associated problems of interaction with the company culture and other factors. In addition, an existing exploitation plan shall be developed in the European and international market.
Funding SchemeACM - Preparatory, accompanying and support measures