Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science


Prof. Nazim H. Madhavji


Large-scale contractual systems engineering projects often need to comply with a myriad of government regulations and standards as part of contractual fulfillment. A key activity in the requirements engineering (RE) process for such a project is to elicit appropriate requirements from the regulations and standards that apply to the target system. However, there are impediments in achieving compliance due to such factors as: the voluminous contract and its high-level specifications, large number of regulatory documents, and multiple domains of the system. Little empirical research has been conducted on developing a shared understanding of the compliance-oriented complexities involved in such projects, and identifying and developing RE support (such as processes, tools, metrics, and methods) to improve overall performance for compliance projects. Through three studies on an industrial RE project, we investigated a number of issues in RE concerning compliance, leading to the following novel results:(i) a meta-model that captures artefacts-types and their compliance-oriented inter-relationships that exist in RE for contractual systems engineering projects; (ii) discovery of key impediments to requirements-compliance due to: (a) contractual complexities (e.g., regulatory requirements specified non-contiguously with non-regulatory requirements in the contract at the ratio of 1:19), (b) complexities in regulatory documents (e.g., over 300 regulatory documents being relevant to the subject system), and (c) large and complex system (e.g., 40% of the contractual regulatory requirements are cross-cutting); (iii) a method for deriving base metrics for estimating the effort needed to do compliance work during RE and demonstrate how a set of derived metrics can be used to create an effort estimation model for such work; (iv) a framework for structuring diverse regulatory documents and requirements for global product developments. These results lay a foundation in RE research on compliance issues with anticipation for its impact in real-world projects and in RE research.