The impact of requirements on software quality across three product generations

  • Terzakis J
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Abstract

In a previous case study, we presented data demonstrating the impact that a well-written and well-reviewed set of requirements had on software defects and other quality indicators between two generations of an Intel product. The first generation was coded from an unorganized collection of requirements that were reviewed infrequently and informally. In contrast, the second was developed based on a set of requirements stored in a Requirements Management database and formally reviewed at each revision. Quality indicators for the second software product all improved dramatically even with the increased complexity of the newer product. This paper will recap that study and then present data from a subsequent Intel case study revealing that quality enhancements continued on the third generation of the product. The third generation software was designed and coded using the final set of requirements from the second version as a starting point. Key product differentiators included changes to operate with a new Intel processor, the introduction of new hardware platforms and the addition of approximately fifty new features. Software development methodologies were nearly identical, with only the change to a continuous build process for source code check-in added. Despite the enhanced functionality and complexity in the third generation software, requirements defects, software defects, software sightings, feature commit vs. delivery (feature variance), defect closure efficiency rates, and number of days from project commit to customer release all improved from the second to the third generation of the software.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Multi-generational software products
  • Requirements defects
  • Requirements specification
  • Reviews
  • Software defects
  • Software quality

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Authors

  • John Terzakis

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