On the Notion of Determining System Adequacy by Analyzing the Traceability of Quality

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1 On the Notion of Determining System Adequacy by Analyzing the Traceability of Quality Sebastian Adam, Joerg Doerr Fraunhofer IESE Fraunhofer-Platz Kaiserslautern, Germany {sebastian.adam, Abstract. Current research and practice in business process modeling corroborate the belief that quality issues are still not addressed with the necessary diligence here as, for instance, in the area of requirements engineering. Our position to be discussed is that the continuous traceability of quality issues could lead to more adequate processes and systems. To underpin this position, we develop an initial meta-model that shows how quality goals, business processes, and quality requirements for the involved systems are intertwined, and how they influence each other. Based on this meta-model, we present a hypothesis on what adequacy means and how the adequacy of business processes and software can be determined. 1 Introduction As experience [1] [2] has shown that quality requirements are essential factors influencing the success of systems, we are convinced that quality issues are an important factor that influences the adequacy of business processes as well as that of the supporting software systems. Our opinion that research in this area is required is based on the observation that in present approaches, quality alignment is still not addressed sufficiently. For instance, to this day, no established business process notation covers the explicit definition of quality requirements, neither do present models describing relationships between different elements of business or between business and IT such as [5], [10], [12], or [13] cope with the importance of quality issues. Even if the goals a process should achieve are considered, these goals and their resulting impact on system qualities are not clearly communicated in most of the present software development methodologies [7]. However, knowing which qualities are needed to support the achievement of a goal is essential to developing correct and adequate systems. In the requirements engineering area, this awareness has led to several methodologies addressing quality requirements, e.g., [1] [2]. Unfortunately, these methods are only concerned with issues on a software level and do not provide clear contributions to the business process or strategy level.

2 2 Sebastian Adam, Joerg Doerr Approaches considering quality issues on the level of business processes are still evolving. [11], for instance, point out the importance of soft-goals at the business process level but handle them in a very generic manner. [3] presents the idea of defining measurable quality requirements like those on the software level already at the business process level. In their opinion, precise requirements for any resource involved should exist in order to provide the required quality for achieving the intended process goal. However, they do not give any information on how to assure adequacy with regard to the underlying goals. In this context, goal-oriented requirements engineering approaches (see [8]) have proven useful to support the usage of goals as a basis and rationale for systematically deriving quality requirements on the business process level, and, finally, on the software level. Besides this traceability, goal orientation allows resolving conflicts early on as well as assuring the adequacy of system requirements by checking their contribution to strategic achievements [7]. As goals are the core of any business strategy anyway, the idea of goal orientation has already been discussed in the area of business process modeling as well, e.g., in [4]. Nevertheless, an efficient and integrated approach that suggests systematic derivation and alignment, especially of quality requirements on the business process and software level with regard to strategic goals, is still missing. In this position paper, we describe an idea of how goals, process qualities, and quality software requirements are related and how the consideration of these dependencies could help to determine the adequacy of business processes and software systems. The remainder of this position paper is structured as follows: In the next section, we describe a meta-model that illustrates the relationship between quality aspects and other drivers during business process modeling. In Section 3, we state some hypotheses regarding the questions of what adequacy means and how it can be determined. Finally, we conclude. 2 Tracing Quality from Strategy to Implementation To express the adequacy of business processes and software systems, we developed an initial meta-model (see Fig. 1) describing the relationship between goals, processes, and requirements for the resources involved. The aim is not to provide a comprehensive business description but to understand the factors regarding process and software design. This meta-model has been inspired by [10], [12], [13], and our own experience using approaches such as [9] and [6]. An organization consists of many different resources, e.g., employees and information systems. The task of any resource is to perform or to support business processes, respectively a set of certain business activities, in order to produce any kind of outcome. Business processes as well as business activities are motivated by the functional goals they achieve. Functional goals, in our definition, are things an organization wants to do (e.g., We want to provide automobile insurance ). Besides functional goals, organizations typically also strive for quality goals that define how well functional goals should be achieved (e.g., Adjustments should be done in less than 1 week ). The main goals of an organization are also mostly of a

3 On the Notion of Determining System Adequacy by Analyzing the Traceability of Quality 3 qualitative nature (e.g., Our customer satisfaction should be more than 95 % ) and underpin the notion of this paper to increase the awareness of its importance. Fig. 1 Meta-model to illustrate the influence of quality issues Based on these high-level organizational goals, functional and quality goals are derived in a hierarchical manner. During this refinement, functional goals can also be refined by quality goals and vice versa. The quality goal of higher customer satisfaction might, for instance, lead to functional sub-goals with regard to the products to be built. On the other hand, functional goals are often assigned to quality goals that restrict the effort or time frame, for instance. Independent of the type, goals in organizations are often influenced by constraints of the environment, such as legal rules or market situations (e.g., Data protection has to be assured, ISO compliance required ), but resources may also define constraints that affect goals. To achieve any kind of goals, the responsible resources have to get clear requirements on how they have to perform certain things [3]. Following [8], fine-grained goals under the sole responsibility of a single resource (we do not distinguish between system and environment resources) automatically become requirements. Therefore, we consider business activities as functional requirements, as they can be assigned to a single resource performing them and as they clearly describe what has to be done in order to meet a leaf-level goal. Besides these functional requirements, quality requirements are also important on the level of business processes [3]. As quality goals are usually assigned to functional goals, the derived business activities are influenced by the corresponding quality requirements. If, for instance, the quality goal Adjustments should be done in less than 1 week is assigned to the functional goal We want to provide automobile insurance, suitable quality requirements have to be defined for each business activity within a corresponding business process in order to restrict the performance of the latter with regard to its quality goal achievement. In addition, resources might be restricted by quality requirements that cannot be directly assigned to business activities, as they restrict systems as a whole and not certain activities supported by them. If, for instance, an organization has the quality goal of being flexible, then a quality requirement could be only to use information systems that can be modified within less than 1 month.

4 4 Sebastian Adam, Joerg Doerr 3 Hypotheses on Adequacy Based on the meta-model presented above, we formulate hypotheses regarding the questions of what adequacy means and how it can be determined. The rationale behind each sub-hypothesis should emanate from the meta-model. Let FG be a complete set of functional goals, QG a complete set of quality goals, G the set union of FG and QG, BP a complete set of business processes, BA a complete set of business activities and QR a complete set of quality requirements. Let BA s be the set of system supported business activities, QR s the set of software related quality requirements, F software functions, H human steps and P software properties. Furthermore, let be Refine: a, b G : a p b M G, M b, a M Achieve: b BA BP, g FG : b f g b( x) = g x Fulfill: b BA BP, q QG : b ff q C( b( x), q) = 1 x Assign: fg FG, qg QG : qg > fg g FG QG : g = ( fg, qg) Important precondition: Complete decomposition of all goals fg FG : ( g g p fg ba BA ba f fg) qg QG :( g g p qg qr QR qr qg) Hypothesis 1: A business process design is adequate if the included processes are complete and minimal with regard to the (intended) achievement of all organizational goals. bp BP : fg FG bp f fg ba BA : fg FG ba f fg bp BP, fg FG, qg QG : bp f fg qg > fg bp ff qg ba BA, fg FG, qg QG : ba f fg qg > fg ba ff qg bp BP, ba BA, gp FG : bp f gp ba bp ga ba f ga ga p gp Hypothesis 2: A business software design is adequate if each supported business activity is equivalent to a sequence of software functions or steps keeping certain quality requirements motivated by quality goals, and, if the design is itself compliant with quality goals. b BAs f1... f n F H : f1 o... o f n ( x) = b( x) x ( q QG : b ff q f o... o f ff q) qr QRs p P : p qr 1 n At this point, the necessity of explicit quality requirements at the business level derived from quality goals became obvious, as they form the only way to define and check how software (or any other resource) has to perform its activities in order to support the organizational strategy.

5 On the Notion of Determining System Adequacy by Analyzing the Traceability of Quality 5 4 Conclusion The current state of the art (and practice) motivates research on quality issues in business processes. Proven methods used in the requirements engineering area can serve as a first inspiration for suitable approaches in the business process context. In this paper, we developed an initial meta-model that allows continuous traceability from business activities to the central organizational goals. Based on this meta-model, we formulated hypotheses on what adequacy means and how adequacy can be determined. Systematic goal orientation and quality requirements for the involved resources have been identified as being important for an adequacy definition. All concepts presented in this position paper are still on the level of an idea. It has to be discussed in research and evaluated in practice if these hypotheses and dependencies will really lead to more adequate processes and software. However, as experience showed that the early consideration of quality issues and goals affects the success of systems in general [6] [7], we are convinced that we are on the right track with our idea. References 1. Chung, L., Nixon, B., You, E., Mylopoulos, J.: Non Functional Requirements in Software Engineering, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, Doerr, J., Kerkow, D., Koenig, T., Olsson, T. Suzuki, T: Non-Functional Requirements in Industry Three Case Studies Adopting an Experience-based NFR Method. In: Proceedings of the 13 th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference, Adam, S., Doerr, J.: Towards an Early Consideration of Non-functional Requirements at the Business Process Level. In: Proceedings of IRMA Conference 2007, to appear 4. 3rd BPMDS workshop on Goal-Oriented Business Process Modeling attached to HCI 2002, September, 2002, London 5. Etien, A., Rolland, C.: Measuring the fitness Relationship. In: Requirements Engineering Journal, Vol. 10, No. 3, Kerkow, D., Doerr, J., Paech, B., Olsson, T., Koenig, T.: Elicitation and Documentation of Non-Functional Requirements for Sociotechnical Systems, In: Requirements Engineering for Sociotechical Systems, Information Science Publishing, Hershey, Lamsweerde, A.: Goal-Oriented Requirements Engineering: A Guided Tour. In: Proceedings of the 9 th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference, Lamsweerde, A.: Goal-Oriented Requirements Engineering: A Roundtrip from Research to Practice, in: Proceedings of the 12 th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference, Paech, B., Kohler, K.: Task-driven Requirements in object-oriented development. In: Perspectives on Requirements Engineering, Kluwer Academics Publisher, Soffer, P., Wand, Y.: Goal-driven analysis of process model validity. In: Proceedings of CaiSE 04, Soffer, P., Wand, Y.: On the notion of soft-goals in business process modeling. In: Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 11, No. 6, Scheer, A.-W.: ARIS Vom Geschäftsprozeß zum Anwendungssystem. Springer, Berlin, OMG: Business Motivation Model, Version 1, 2006

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