Co-located and distributed natural-language requirements specification: Traditional versus reuse-based techniques

Juan M. Carrillo De Gea, Joaquín Nicolás, José L. Fernández Alemán, Ambrosio Toval, Sofia Ouhbi, Ali Idri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Requirements Engineering (RE) includes processes intended to elicit, analyse, specify and validate systems and software requirements throughout the software life cycle. Mastering the principles of RE is key to achieving the goals of better, cheaper and quicker systems and software development projects. It is also important to be prepared to work with remote teammates, as distributed and global projects are becoming more common. This paper presents an experiment with a total of 31 students from two universities in Spain and Morocco who were assigned to either a co-located or a distributed team. Both traditional and reuse-based requirements specification techniques were applied by the participants to produce requirements documents. Their outcomes were then analysed, and the approaches were compared from the point of view of their effect on a set of performance-based and perception-based variables in co-located and distributed settings. We found significant differences in only productivity (Z = -2.320, p = 0.020) and difficulty (Z = -2.124, p = 0.034) as regards the scores attained for non-reuse and reuse conditions, both in the co-located modality. Our findings show that, in general, the participants attained similar results for requirements specification when using the two strategies in both distributed and non-distributed environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-227
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of software: Evolution and Process
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • experiment
  • global software development
  • internationalisation
  • requirements reuse
  • requirements specification
  • software engineering education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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