Requirement validation with enactable descriptions of use cases.

Kanyaru, J.M., 2006. Requirement validation with enactable descriptions of use cases. PhD Thesis (PhD). Bournemouth University.

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Abstract

The validation of stakeholder requirements for a software system is a pivotal activity for any nontrivial software development project. Often, differences in knowledge regarding development issues, and knowledge regarding the problem domain, impede the elaboration of requirements amongst developers and stakeholders. A description technique that provides a user perspective of the system behaviour is likely to enhance shared understanding between the developers and stakeholders. The Unified Modelling Language (UML) use case is such a notation. Use cases describe the behaviour of a system (using natural language) in terms of interactions between the external users and the system. Since the standardisation of the UML by the Object Management Group in 1997, much research has been devoted to use cases. Some researchers have focussed on the provision of writing guidelines for use case specifications whereas others have focussed on the application of formal techniques. This thesis investigates the adequacy of the use case description for the specification and validation of software behaviour. In particular, the thesis argues that whereas the user-system interaction scheme underpins the essence of the use case notation, the UML specification of the use case does not provide a mechanism by which use cases can describe dependencies amongst constituent interaction steps. Clarifying these issues is crucial for validating the adequacy of the specification against stakeholder expectations. This thesis proposes a state-based approach (the Educator approach) to use case specification where constituent events are augmented with pre and post states to express both intra-use case and inter-use case dependencies. Use case events are enacted to visualise implied behaviour, thereby enhancing shared understanding among users and developers. Moreover, enaction provides an early "feel" of the behaviour that would result from the implementation of the specification. The Educator approach and the enaction of descriptions are supported by a prototype environment, the EducatorTool, developed to demonstrate the efficacy and novelty of the approach. To validate the work presented in this thesis an industrial study, involving the specification of realtime control software, is reported. The study involves the analysis of use case specifications of the subsystems prior to the application of the proposed approach, and the analysis of the specification where the approach and tool support are applied. This way, it is possible to determine the efficacy of the Educator approach within an industrial setting.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Bournemouth University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Subjects:Generalities > Computer Science and Informatics
Group:School of Design, Engineering & Computing > Software Systems Research Centre
ID Code:10530
Deposited By:Mrs Jill Burns
Deposited On:06 Aug 2009 07:15
Last Modified:16 Oct 2012 12:45

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