An empirical study of industrial requirements engineering process assessment and improvement

Ian Sommerville, J. Ransom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


This article describes an empirical study in industry of requirements engineering process maturity assessment and improvement. Our aims were to evaluate a requirements engineering process maturity model and to assess if improvements in requirements engineering process maturity lead to business improvements. We first briefly describe the process maturity model that we used and modifications to this model to accommodate process improvement. We present initial maturity assessment results for nine companies, describe how process improvements were selected and present data on how RE process maturity changed after these improvements were introduced. We discuss how business benefits were assessed and the difficulties of relating process maturity improvements to these business benefits. All companies reported business benefits and satisfaction with their participation in the study. Our conclusions are that the RE process maturity model is useful in supporting maturity assessment and in identifying process improvements and there is some evidence to suggest that process improvement leads to business benefits. However, whether these business benefits were a consequence of the changes to the RE process or whether these benefits resulted from side-effects of the study such as greater self-awareness of business processes remains an open question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-117
Number of pages33
JournalACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • software process improvement
  • process measurement
  • requirements engineering
  • empirical software engineering


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