Why and how to balance alignment and diversity of requirements engineering practices in automotive
Journal article, 2020
In large-scale automotive companies, various requirements engineering (RE) practices are used across teams. RE practices manifest in Requirements Information Models (RIM) that define what concepts and information should be captured for requirements. Collaboration of practitioners from different parts of an organization is required to define a suitable RIM that balances support for diverse practices in individual teams with the alignment needed for a shared view and team support on system level. There exists no guidance for this challenging task. This paper presents a mixed methods study to examine the role of RIMs in balancing alignment and diversity of RE practices in four automotive companies. Our analysis is based on data from systems engineering tools, 11 semi-structured interviews, and a survey to validate findings and suggestions. We found that balancing alignment and diversity of RE practices is important to consider when defining RIMs. We further investigated enablers for this balance and actions that practitioners take to achieve it. From these factors, we derived and evaluated recommendations for managing RIMs in practice that take into account the lifecycle of requirements and allow for diverse practices across sub-disciplines in early development, while enforcing alignment of requirements that are close to release.
Requirements information models
Aligning software engineering practices
Large-scale software development
Mixed methods research
Automotive software engineering