Shamin Ahmed

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Computer Science


Dr. Nazim Madhavji


This study is intended to determine the characteristics, impact and state of the practice of feed-forward in software engineering; in particular, in the fields of Requirements Engineering (RE) and Software Architecting (SA). Feed-forward is used in many domains such as systems engineering, neural networks, management and psychotherapy. However, in software engineering, especially in RE and SA, the concept of feed-forward is not well researched. For example, what are the characteristics of feed-forward information? What effect does feed-forward information have on architectural artefacts and software project aspects such as cost, quality, time, etc.? What is the current state of practice of feed-forward? A knowledge seeking empirical investigation including an industrial survey and an embedded case study with four projects as four units of analysis were carried out based on these questions. The overall findings ofthis study show that the most common types of information that are fed-forward consistently are requirements and architectural information. This information affects a multitude of aspects of a software project (such as time, cost and quality) and influences several architectural artefacts (such as tactics, patterns and decisions). The results also show that approximately 20% of software professionals have never, or rarely, practiced feed­ forward in their organizations. On the other hand, approximately 66% of software professionals practice feed-forward in their organization in varying levels (“sometimes”, “most of the time”, “always”). 64% of software professionals find feed-forward to be useful for their organization and 4% thought that feed-forward would not be useful, citing

reasons such as information overload and lack of motivation. From a researcher’s perspective, determining the properties of feed-forward could provide ground work for doing further research on feed-forward such as: the practice of feed-forward in the other areas of software engineering and the comparison of feedback and feed-forward in software engineering



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