Causes of requirement change - A systematic literature review

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
IET Seminar Digest, 2012, 2012 (1), pp. 22 - 31
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Context: Research shows that one of the main reasons of project failure is changing requirements. The success or failure of software projects largely depends upon how we respond to changing requirements. The knowledge about the causes of requirements change can improve our ability to make better decisions and manage changing requirements effectively. Objective: In this paper we present findings from an empirical study that was aimed at identifying the causes of requirement change and the frequency of these causes in different software development phases. Methods: We performed a systematic literature review and went through all the stages required by the process. Although our search strings yielded a large amount of papers but after careful filtration we were left with only five papers (six studies) which reported empirical knowledge about the causes of requirement change. Results: We have identified different causes and their frequency in software development phases. We have classified the extracted causes of requirements change into two major types i.e., essential and accidental causes. Conclusions: It is surprising to find little empirical evidence on the causes of requirements change as requirements change has been widely quoted as one of the major challenges faced by requirements engineers. With this small number of evidences, it is hard to generalize the research results. There is a need for further empirical research to identify and fully understand the causes of requirement change.
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