New paper “Automating user-feedback driven requirements prioritization” in Elsevier Information and Software Technology
Authors: Fitsum Meshesha Kifetew, Anna Perini, Angelo Susi, Aberto Siena, Denisse Muñante and Itzel Morales-Ramirez
Information and Software Technology, Elsevier, 2021, 138, https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03277970
Context: Feedback from end users of software applications is a valuable resource in understanding what users request, what they value, and what they dislike. Information derived from user-feedback can support software evolution activities, such as requirements prioritization. User-feedback analysis is still mostly performed manually by practitioners, despite growing research in automated analysis. Objective: We address two issues in automated user-feedback analysis: (i) most of the existing automated analysis approaches that exploit linguistic analysis assume that the vocabulary adopted by users (when expressing feedback) and developers (when formulating requirements) are the same; and (ii) user-feedback analysis techniques are usually experimentally evaluated only on some user-feedback dataset, not involving assessment by potential software developers. Method: We propose an approach, ReFeed, that computes, for each requirement, the set of related user-feedback, and from such user-feedback extracts quantifiable properties which are relevant for prioritizing the requirement. The extracted properties are propagated to the related requirements, based on which ranks are computed for each requirement. ReFeed relies on domain knowledge, in the form of an ontology, helping mitigate the gap in the vocabulary of end users and developers. The effectiveness of ReFeed is evaluated on a realistic requirements prioritization scenario in two experiments involving graduate students from two different universities. Results: ReFeed is able to synthesize reasonable priorities for a given set of requirements based on properties derived from user-feedback. The implementation of ReFeed and related resources are publicly available. Conclusion: The results from our studies are encouraging in that using only three properties of user-feedback, ReFeed is able to prioritize requirements with reasonable accuracy. Such automatically determined prioritization could serve as a good starting point for requirements experts involved in the task of prioritizing requirements Future studies could explore additional user-feedback properties to improve the effectiveness of computed priorities.