Focused Requirements Engineering Method for Web Application Development

Focused Requirements Engineering Method for Web Application Development

Ala M. Abu-Samaha (Amman University, Jordan) and Lana S. Al-Salem (SpecTec Ltd & MEP, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch244
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Abstract

The requirements phase of the system/application development process typically involves the activities of requirements elicitation, analysis, validation, and specification. The main goal of such a process is “to develop a requirements speci- fication document which defines the system to be procured and which can act as a basis for the system design” (Sawyer, Sommerville, & Viller, 1996). Hence the underpinning assumption of the requirements engineering (RE) process is to transform the operational needs of an organisation into complete, consistent, and unambiguous system/application specifications through an iterative process of definition and validation (Pohl ,1994). The Web engineering (WE) literature provides a limited number of methods and techniques that can be used to manage the RE process in a Web development context [e3-value framework (Gordijn, Akkermans, & van Vliet, 2000), SOARE approach (Bleistein, Aurum, Cox, & Ray, 2004), e-prototyping (Bleek, Jeenicke, & Klischewski, 2002), AWARE (Bolchini & Paolini, 2004), and SSM/ICDT (Meldrum & Rose, 2004)]. Despite the availability of such a limited number of Web requirements engineering (WRE) methods, many researchers criticised such methods for their failure to address the necessity to align the Web application’ requirements to the organisation’s business strategy. Hence, the recommendation of many researchers (Al-Salem & Abu- Samaha, 2005a; Bleistein 2005; Bleistein, Cox, & Verner, 2004; Vidgen, Avison, Wood, & Wood-Harper, 2002) is to utilise a general WRE framework for the development of Web applications that can align the application’s requirements to the organisation’s business needs and its future vision. The objective of such a WRE framework is to incorporate the elicitation/analysis of business strategy as part of the application’s RE process. This chapter presents a WRE method that extends Sommerville and Kotonya’s viewpoint-oriented requirements definition (VORD) and Kaplan and Norton’s balanced scorecard (BSC) to elicit the Web application’ requirements and to plan/analyze the business strategy, respectively. In addition, eWARE (extended Web application requirements engineering) deploys the concept of “requirements alignment” to attain business objectives during the requirements discovery, elicitation, and formalisation process to identify the services of the Web application that will achieve the business objectives in order to improve the organisation’s profitability and competitiveness. The chapter is organised into a number of sections. The second section of this chapter provides a background to Web applications in terms of defi- nition and differentiating characteristics. The third section provides a discussion of eWARE method in terms of phases and activities. This section is divided into two subsections to cover the activities of the two prominent phases of the eWARE process in more detail. The fourth and fifth sections provide a discussion of possible future trends in WRE and a number of concluding remarks.
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Background

Web applications provide organisations an unprecedented chance to stretch their existence beyond the typical boundaries of an organisation to include customers, trading partners, and suppliers.Little attention has been paid to the process of RE for Web application development, in comparison to other areas of the development process [modelling, design, and coding] (Ginige & Murugesan, 2001). Hence, Web applications can be defined as “applications that tend to be used to integrate and streamline an organisation’s business processes beyond organisational (customers, agents, suppliers, others) and geographical borders; provide an organisation with competitive products and services that give it a strategic advantage over its competitors in the marketplace; promote business innovation; and/or improve operational efficiency” (Al-Salem & Abu-Samaha, 2005a).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Viewpoint Oriented Requirements Definition (VORD): “A software requirements engineering approach used to organise both the elicitation process and the requirements themselves into viewpoints” (Sommerville, 1995).

A Requirement: “A condition or capability that must be met or fulfilled by a system to satisfy a contract, standard, specification, or other formally imposed documents.” (IEEE Standard, 610,12-1990).

eWARE (extended Web application requirements engineering): “A strategy-focused requirements engineering method used to align Web application requirements to business strategy and to elicit legal, technological, business, marketing and content requirements”.

Web Business Application (WebApp): “An application that tends to be used to integrate and streamline an organisation’s business processes beyond organisational (customers, agents, suppliers, others) and geographical borders, to provide an organisation with competitive products and services that give it a strategic advantage over its competitors in the marketplace; to promote business innovation and/or to improve operational efficiency” (Al-Salem & Abu-Samaha, 2005a).

Stakeholder: “Anyone who can share information about the system, its implementation constraints or the problem domain, including end users, indirect users, other customer representatives and developers” (Potts et al., 1994).

Viewpoint (VP): “Any one who may have some direct or indirect influence on the system requirements” (Kotonya & Sommerville, 1996).

Requirements Engineering (RE): “The process of discovering that ‘purpose’ by identifying stakeholders and their needs, and documenting them in a form that is amenable to analysis, communication, and subsequent implementation” (Nuseibeh & Easterbrook, 2000).

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