Defect Prevention in Requirements using Human Error Information: An Empirical Study

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Conference Proceeding

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Context and Motivation: The correctness of software requirements is of critical importance to the success of a software project. Problems that occur during requirements collection and specification, if not fixed early, are costly to fix later. Therefore, it is important to develop approaches that help requirement engineers not only detect, but also prevent requirements problems. Because requirements engineering is a human-centric activity, we can build upon developments from the field of human cognition. Question/Problem: Human Errors are the failings of human cognition during the process of solving, planning, or executing a task. We have employed research about Human Errors to describe the types of problems that occur during requirements engineering. The goal of this paper is to determine whether knowledge of Human Errors can serve as a fault prevention mechanism during requirements engineering. Principal ideas/results: The results of our study show that a better understanding of human errors does lead developers to insert fewer problems into their own requirements documents. Our results also indicate that different types of Human Error information have different impacts on fault prevention. Contribution: In this paper, we show that the use of Human Error information from Cognitive Psychology is useful for fault prevention during requirements engineering.



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