The manager perspective on requirements impact on automotive systems development speed
Paper in proceedings, 2018
Context: Historically, automotive manufacturers have adopted rigid requirements engineering processes, which allowed them to meet safety-critical requirements while integrating thousands of physical and software components into a highly complex and differentiated product. Nowadays, needs of improving development speed are pushing companies in this domain towards new ways of developing software. Objectives: We aim at obtaining a manager perspective on how the goal to increase development speed impacts how software intense automotive systems are developed and their requirements managed. Methods: We used a qualitative multiple-case study, based on 20 semi-structured interviews, at two automotive manufacturers. Our sampling strategy focuses on manager roles, complemented with technical specialists. Results: We found that both a requirements style dominated by safety concerns, and decomposition of requirements over many levels of abstraction impact development speed negatively. Furthermore, the use of requirements as part of legal contracts with suppliers hiders fast collaboration. Suggestions for potential improvements include domain-specific tooling, model-based requirements, test automation, and a combination of lightweight pre-development requirements engineering with precise specifications post-development. Conclusions: We offer an empirical account of expectations and needs for new requirements engineering approaches in the automotive domain, necessary to coordinate hundreds of collaborating organizations developing software-intensive and potentially safety-critical systems.
Automotive systems engineering
Continuous software engineering