Value-Based Requirements Traceability: Lessons Learned

  • Alexander Egyed
  • Paul Grünbacher
  • Matthias Heindl
  • Stefan Biffl
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 14)


Traceability from requirements to code is mandated by numerous software development standards. These standards, however, are not explicit about the appropriate level of quality of trace links. From a technical perspective, trace quality should meet the needs of the intended trace utilizations. Unfortunately, long-term trace utilizations are typically unknown at the time of trace acquisition which represents a dilemma for many companies. This chapter suggests ways to balance the cost and benefits of requirements traceability. We present data from three case studies demonstrating that trace acquisition requires broad coverage but can tolerate imprecision. With this trade-off our lessons learned suggest a traceability strategy that (1) provides trace links more quickly, (2) refines trace links according to user-defined value considerations, and (3) supports the later refinement of trace links in case the initial value consideration has changed over time. The scope of our work considers the entire life cycle of traceability instead of just the creation of trace links.


Requirements engineering software traceability value-based software engineering 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Abbattista, F., Lanubile, F., Mastelloni, G., Visaggio, G.: An experiment on the effect of design recording on impact analysis. In: Int. Conf. on Software Maintenance, pp. 253–259 (1994)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bianchi, A., Visaggio, G., Fasolino, A.R.: An Exploratory Case Study of the Maintenance Effectiveness of Traceability Models. In: Proc. of the 8th Int. Workshop on Program Comprehension, p. 149 (2000)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Biffl, S., Aurum, A., Boehm, B.W., Erdogmus, H., Grünbacher, P.: Value-based Software Engineering. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Biffl, S., Heindl, M., Egyed, A., Grünbacher, P.: A Value-Based Approach for Understanding Cost-Benefit Trade-Offs During Automated Software Traceability. In: Proc. of the 3rd Int. Workshop on Traceability in Software Engineering, Long Beach, CA (2005)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Boehm, B.W., et al.: Software Cost Estimation with COCOMO II. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs (2000)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Boehm, B.W., Huang, L.: How Much Software Quality Investment Is Enough: A Value-Based Approach. IEEE Software 23(5), 88–95 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cleland-Huang, J., Zemont, G., Lukasik, W.: A Heterogeneous Solution for Improving the Return on Investment of Requirements Traceability. In: Proc. of the Int. Conf. on Requirements Engineering (RE), Kyoto, Japan, pp. 230–239 (2004)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dohyung, K.: Java MPEG Player (1999),
  9. 9.
    Egyed, A.: A Scenario-Driven Approach to Trace Dependency Analysis. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (TSE) 29(2), 116–132 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Egyed, A., Grünbacher, P.: Identifying Requirements Conflicts and Cooperation. IEEE Software 21(6), 50–58 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Egyed, A., Heindl, M., Biffl, S., Grünbacher, P.: Determining the Cost-Quality Trade-off for Automated Software Traceability. In: Proc. 20th IEEE/ACM Int. Conf. on Automated Software Engineering (ASE), Long Beach, CA (2005)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gotel, O.C.Z., Finkelstein, A.C.W.: An Analysis of the Requirements Traceability Problem. In: Proc. of the 1st Int. Conf. on Rqts Eng., pp. 94–101 (1994)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Heindl, M., Biffl, S.: A Process for Value-based Requirements Tracing – A Case Study on the Impact on Cost and Benefit. In: Proc. of the European Software Engineering Conf. and Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE), Lisboa, Portugal (September 2005)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Huffman Hayes, J., Dekhtyar, A., Osborne, J.: Improving requirements tracing via information retrieval. In: Int. Conf. on Requirements Engineering (2003)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lindvall, M., Sandahl, K.: Practical Implications of Traceability. Journal on Software – Practice and Experience (SPE) 26(10), 1161–1180 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Murphy, G.C., Notkin, D., Sullivan, K.J.: Software reflexion models: bridging the gap between design and implementation. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 27(4), 364–380 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Neumüller, C., Grünbacher, P.: Automating Software Traceability in Very Small Companies: A Case Study and Lessons Learned. In: 21st Int. Conference on Automated Software Engineering, Tokyo (September 2006)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Robins, J., et al.: ArgoUML,
  19. 19.
    Ramesh, B., Stubbs, L.C., Edwards, M.: Lessons learned from implementing requirements traceability. Crosstalk – Journal of Defense Software Engineering 8(4), 11–15 (1995)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Egyed
    • 1
  • Paul Grünbacher
    • 1
  • Matthias Heindl
    • 2
  • Stefan Biffl
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Systems Engineering and AutomationJohannes Kepler UniversityLinzAustria
  2. 2.Siemens IT Solutions and ServicesSiemens AustriaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Institute for Software Technology and Interactive SystemsVienna Univ. of Techn.ViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations