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Non-Functional Requirements Research: Survey

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  • Agbe Technolgies

Abstract and Figures

NFRs are important since the system architecture greatly depends on the NFRs [20]. Mostly NFR Literature has considered only for key challenges and issues related to NFR. In context of such a need a roadmap for important issues is required. In this paper survey has been presented on interesting ongoing work in the field of non functional requirements and tried to figure out the approaches and methods that are suggested in literature to deal with these issues.
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International Journal of Science and Engineering Applications
Volume 3 Issue 6, 2014, ISSN-2319-7560 (Online)
www.ijsea.com 172
Non-Functional Requirements Research: Survey
Harsimran Kaur,
ASU, Gurgaon
Dr. Ashish Sharma
GLA University, Mathura
Abstract NFRs are important since the system architecture greatly depends on the NFRs [20]. Mostly NFR Literature has considered only
for key challenges and issues related to NFR. In context of such a need a roadmap for important issues is required. In this paper survey has been
presented on interesting ongoing work in the field of non functional requirements and tried to figure out the approaches and methods that are
suggested in literature to deal with these issues.
Index Terms Non Functional Requirements, Modeling, Identification, Formalization, Quantification, Automation
1. INTRODUCTION
    ent (NFR) in
software system engineering, a software requirement that
describes not what the software will do, but how the software
will do it, for example, software performance requirements,
software external interface requirements, design constraints,
and software quality attributes. Nonfunctional requirements
are difficult to test; therefore, they are usually evaluated
 ]. In the past relatively little attention has

and developers have relied mostly on their own intuitions, in
an ad hoc way. In the years, the topic has attracted increasing
interest from researchers, as testified by the many specialized
events and workshops, as well as by the growing percentage
of NFR papers in software engineering conferences.
There has been a considerable increase in the quantity of NFR
research over the past few years (see Figure 1(b)). Despite the
excellent work in the surveys listed earlier, there remains, to
date, no comprehensive survey of the whole field of study
concerning trends in research. This paper provides a range of
options (Road map) for future research in area of non
functional requirements.
The paper is organized as follows: Section 2 describes the
result summary of the literature survey. Section 3 discusses
the eight categories of research, and reviews the contributions
from various research groups and the growing trend. Section 4
presents the conclusion and Future Work.
I. CLASSIFICATION SCHEME
The goal of our paper is to categorize the issues of NFR. We
used the five digital libraries to search: ACM Digital Library,
SpringerLink, ScienceDirect, Google Scholar, IEEE Xplore,
ACM Digital Library, We classify these papers into eight
categories.
1. Identification and Specification: Studies on notion(facet),
classification and types of NFR.
2. Elicitation: Studies on requirements elicitation methods to
empower requirement centered on NFRs.
3. Modeling (Informal): Studies on an approach to record
and model non-functional requirements using UML and
Relational Diagrams.
4. Modeling (formal): Studies on semantic concepts for the
specification of non functional properties.
Fig 1(a) Paper in each category
Fig 1(b) NFR Publication growth overtime
Quantification: Studies which explore number of avenues
related to specification, design which deals and effect
quantification of NFR.
5. Testing: Studies on issues, challenges while consider
NFR, resulting from quality concern of stakeholders.
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6. Automation: Studies on tools that assist the requirement
Analyst while dealing with NFRs.
7. Evaluation: Studies on the degree to which NFR
contributes to the improvement of software quality.
Assignment of category to each paper has been based on the
main objective of the paper. Thus, in our classification some
papers may be into another category by other researchers. For
example many of the papers related to elicitation are presented
by using any modeling language so we put them in the
category of Modelling. Similarly identification and elicitation
can be done by a single approach but we put them in different
categories on the basis of focused concept used in the paper
are Figure 1(a) shows the proportion of papers that fall into
each of the different NFR area subject categories while Figure
1(b) shows the histogram charting NFR publication growth
over time,
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
A. Identification and Specification
We surveyed different definitions and classification schemes
proposed by different researchers. Critical Evaluation has been
done as shown in Table 1. No Formal definition for NFR is
found in literature except this: f: I O 
int) which is defined by Chung etal [23]. NFR Framework is
one of the prominent works that has been done in this field.
For the specification of NFR there are three categories of
approaches available in literature as shown in table 2. NFR
Framework is the one of the important work which later on
extended by number of researchers in order to solve the
problem in their application domain [70]. Beside NFR
Framework KAOS [103] and work with the help of UML has
been found in literature which we are going to discussed in
modelling. Formal language for NFR becomes a necessity but
a familiar problem with formal methods in specifying such
requirements is the high cost and difficulty of using them.
Some of the work on formalization is shown in Table 2. There
are few papers on the formal specification languages. Methods
of supervised learning have been proposed in the literature to
address the problem of identification and classification of
NFR. Within the ECSS, ISO, and IEEE standards, a number of
views and concepts are provided to describe various types of
candidate portability requirements at the system, software, and
hardware level [2].
B. Elicitation
There are only very few approaches and tools to elicit NFR.
Many of the techniques and tools available are for functional
requirements. Classification for the approaches used in
elicitation of NFR as shown in Table 3 is based on different
categories of approaches [108][116]. Ullah etal. has identified
several key issues like conflicts of requirements, integration of
NFR with FR and ambiguous specification of system features.
They have found some of the solutions of these stated
problems based on the available literature.
C. Modelling (informal)
A survey of the different works shows that most of them
use UML with some extensions to add NFRs with the
functional requirements models as shown in Table 4. UML
proven to be successful modelling language to bring the
revolution in NFR specification and modelling. Number of
tools like Rational Rose, Smart Draw and Enterprise architect
are available for UML.There are other approaches like
Relational Model, Petrinets, Multimodel, NFR Framework,
NFR Framework + that can be used to specify NFRs as
mentioned in Table 4.
D. Formal Modelling
Formal methods offer a mathematical way to specify and
analyze the behavior of NFR in a system together with a
related tool support. Some relevant work done in this field by
different researchers is discussed below. UML-B has been
used for a real-time control system security concerns using an
action systems approach [98]. There is requirement of tool
support for UML-B. RoZ tool is used for modelling the airport
security. It uses Z notation [63]. Another approach called
KAMI is implemented as a distributed framework with a
plugin architecture, which allows new tools to be incorporated
to support other modeling notations and analysis procedures
[34]. The approach is based on formal (probabilistic) models
that are used at design time to reason about dependability of
the application in quantitative terms. Another approach based
on semantic concepts which form the basis of a semantic
framework for the specification non-functional properties of
component-based software [126][127]. Probabilistic way of
characterizing the implementation of software non-functional
requirements is proposed in [114]. SysML has been adopted as
the modeling language by [107], since it enables requirement
definition and can be formally extended. [90] has presented a
semiformal approach for reasoning and refining functional
requirements. Non Functional properties has expressed as NF-
actions, NF-statements and NF-attribute. An another approach
[83] aimed at lessen the risk of such misuses of quality
models. It is centered on the definition of a language called
NoFun which is to be used as a formal language for the
exhaustive description of software quality. Borges and Mota
[16] integrate UML class diagrams and OhCircus by written
UML elements in terms of OhCircus constructs. OhCircus is a
formal specification language which uses Z, CSP, calculus of
Morgan and object-oriented theories. Casamayor [19, 20]
propose a semi-supervised text categorization approach for the
automatic identification and classification of non-functional
requirements. Detection and classification of NFRs is
performed using semi-supervised learning techniques. One
more interesting work is shown in [26] which discuss an
algebraic formalization of model based on graph theory which
they use to prove safe termination in systems compliant with
Ravenscar Computation Model ( RCM), and show how to use
the MAST+ static analyzer to verify the timing aspects. But
till lot of work need to be done in this direction as mentioned
in [19][21][23].
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174
Table 1. Different Classification Schemes Proposed in Literature
Source
Research proposal
Critical Evaluation
Boehm(1976)[14]
Paper provides for the first time a clear, well-defined
framework for assessing the often slippery issues
associated with software quality, via the consistent and
mutually supportive sets of definitions, distinctions and
guidelines [14].
No emphasis has been found
attributes of those NFRs.
McCall(1980)[72]
A Software Quality Measurement Manual was
produced which contained procedures and guidelines
for assisting software system developers in setting
quality goals, applying metrics and making quality
assessments.
It was assumed to be efficient
model. Later it modified in 2000
where requirements are classified on
the basis of product revision and
transition.
Roman IEEE
Computer (1985)
[88]
It classifies requirements into interface, performance,
operating, lifecycle, economic and political
requirements.
It is complex classification.
Sommerville
(1992) [100]
It considers organization, product and external aspects
of requirement.
This model is accepted by many
organizations but it could not sort
the Non Functional Requirement
specification issues.
Grady(1992)[42]
FURPS and FURPS+ is an acronym that represents the
model. It introduces dimensions of quality.
Architectural integrity is not covered
in the model
ISO/IEC 9126
(2001) [52]
Distinguishes four types of quality levels
Quality in use, external quality, internal quality and
process quality which helps to provide process oriented
classification.
It sets standard for software
practitioner to make the meaning of
NFR and important NFR like
performance clear to developers and
users. But it is only limited to few
NFRs.
Martin Glinz
(2005) [39]
Presents New Classification of Requirements
Kind
Representation
Satisfaction
Role
Provides new notion to the NFRs but
classification has no practical
usefulness in daily life. It can be
simplified further.
Jureta etal.(2006)
[57]
This classification provides four categories: functional
hardgoal, non functional hardgoal, functional softgoal
and nonfunctional softgoal.
It is driven by nonfunctional
perspective.
Martin Glinz
(2007) [40]
Proposed New Definition to requirements and Specify
classification rules based on Aspect-Oriented
Representation.
Definition and Classification is less
ambiguous than traditional
definitions. Its Practical aspect needs
to be find out.
Dewi Mairiza
etal.(2010) [70]
It offers a novel classification of NFRs types based on
types of systems and application domains.
It presents comprehensive lists of
NFR types which helps developer to
identify NFR for their particular
system. But the Terminology present
does not improve the notion of
NFRs.
Chi-Lun Liu
(2010) [66]
Proposes top level NFR ontology helpful in conflict
detection between NFRs which is extended from

Nothing has been done for
improving NFR facet in it.
Table 2: Categorization of Approaches used in Identification
[2]
[18]
[19]
{20]
[22]
{
[23]
[25]
[28]
[29]
[34]
[35]
[37]
[39]
[40]
[42]
[48]
[65]
[66]
[70]
[80]
[125]
[126]
Informal Approach(I)
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
Semi-Formal Approach(S)
S
S
S
S
Formal Approach(F)
F
F
F
F
F
F
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Table 3: Classification of approaches used in elicitation of NFRs
References
Description
[4][27][48][84][101]
Process-oriented and qualitative method for
handling NFRs
[6][9][52][58][104]
NFR method consists of quality attributes,
based on quality model
[52][56][58][121]
i* framework and meta-model are presented in
these approach.
[51][111]
Approaches set the and focused on gathering
only the minimum set of information on quality
goals.
Table 4: Informal Modelling of NFR
Approach(Model)
Purposed
Use Case and Goal Driven
(2005)[103]
Integrates FR with NFR at design level by using use case elements.
Extended Use Case (2006)[11]
To separate(cross-cut) the concerns at the requirements level(on tha basis of
application domain) that can be achieved by checking concerns that produce
spread and tangled representation that are difficult to understand and maintain.
Extended elements helps to express and integrate NFR and challenges to
requirement analyst with the FR.
OONFR(2001) [26][27]
UML Class Diagram is proposed which use LEL of UofD as input and class
diagram has signals of what elements (classes, attributes, operations and
relationship) are responsible for NFR.
Extended UML(2007)[123]
Dependency notation is introduced in UML to model design decisions.
Extending UML with NFR
Framework(2005)[22][23]
Meta-Model to represent concepts in NFR Framework and made extension in
UML and NFR Framework to integrate the notations of two modeling languages.
Novel Framework with
UML(2005)[106]
UML design is integrated to NFRs for the purpose of reengineering process of
legacy systems.
Layered Model(Conceptual
ArchitecturalModel)(2005)[117]
Additional layer is added to traditional architectural model for satisfying NFR
Role.
UMLsec (2002) [53]
UML extension mechanism based on formal semantics to evaluate security
aspects of system design
SecureUML (2002) [68]
UMl extension mechanism to specify information for access control in the design
of application.
Abuse Case Model(2002)[68]
Extended Use Case Model to capture and analyze security requirements by
specifying check on interaction between system and actors.
Architectural pattern(2005) [61]
Improving system dependability and trustworthiness by improving the modeling
of NFR(operationalizable NFRs, and checkable NFRs)
NFR Framework with Role
Activity Model (2007)[3]
Remodelling business process to better representation and realization of NFR
aspects of processes by linking RAD with NFR graphic facility.
Use Case extended to Control
Case(2006)[114][124]
Focus is made on operating conditions by adding control cases to 4+2 view of
architecture(UML Process view)
DERAF(2007) [69]
Combines the use of aspects with RT-UML, aiming to separate the handling of
non-functional from functional requirements in the Model Driven Design of
DERTS.
Integrated Model(2007) [113]
Approach is based on building a base quality model that relies on an explicit
meta-model. Purpose models are also needed to support the planning and
realization of quality assurance are derived from the base model by quantifying
the relations modeled in the base model.
XML-NFR(2007) [117]
It is also step to integrate with functional requirements design model based on
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simple language XML but not solved many issues of NFR.
Pluggable Framework (Wireless
Sensor networks)(2008) [15]
It allows WSN applications in TinyDDS(Data Distributed Services) to have fine-
grained control over non-functional properties and specialize in their own
requirements.
RASF(2008) [45]
A Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) approach in Reactive Autonomic Systems (RAS)
whose specifications are mentioned in single formal framework.
XML with Petri-Nets(2008)[31]
The intermediate model is based on XML and indicates the relationship between
the entities of design models and analysis models by minimizing the gaps
Extended PLUS (UML Based
Model) (2009) [79]
It provide a unified and systematic framework for analysis modeling of NFRs in
Software Product Lines by integrating it with Lines PLUS.
SysML(2009)[107]
It represents NFR as how non-functional requirements are related between them
and to system components forming the overall system architecture.
KAMI(2009) [38][103]
Approach relies on run-time monitoring and uses the data collected by the
probes to detect if the behavior of the open environment in which the application
is situated can lead to a failure of the application
NFR with AORE(2010)[114]
It map non-functional requirements into function and architectures through non-
functional scenario template which improves traceability from requirement
analysis level to implement level.
Configuration Models(2012)
[33]
Mapping nonfunctional aspects to given commercial-off-the-shelf modules
which makes possible the integration of commercial software modules into
product
families
Relational Model (2011) [59]
It introduce change management mechanism that trace the the impact of NFRs
on the other constructs in the ontology such as FR or NFR operationalization and
vice versa.
Multimodel Approach(2012)
[41]
Besides the refinement of NFR it allows the validation of its fulfillment through
the application of metrics that are associated to each NFR.
Design Patterns
Approach(2001) [44]
It provides guidance and reasoning support when applying patterns
during the design of a software system.
UML with OCL [83]
Non functionality is described by means of a notation called NoFun, which
allows us to introduce non-functional attributes of software
UML Based on EAST-ADL
(2011) [91]
Provides solution for telecommunication systems for modeling product families,
targeting cost sensitivity non-functional requirements and performing cost
analysis.
Domain Specific Modelling
Approach(NFR+ Framework)
[119]
The solution enables a full bi-directional traceability from the requirements to
models to the implementation.
UML for intrusion
specification(2006) [49]
UML notations extended to suit the context of intrusion scenarios that allows
developers to specify intrusions
E. Quanitification
There are very few languages to state non-functionality in
form so that it can be quantified. One of the language [35][83]
is NoFun which provides a common framework in which
people can formulate, analyse and compare their proposals
about non-functionality. A measure for reusability is refined
by this language.The combination of both NoFun and the
implementation selection algorithm can be an aid to software
specification, design, reusability and maintenance. Stephan
Jacobs [54] of Ericsson presented a case study on improving
requirement engineering. From the concepts offered in
Planguage Jacobs proposed that Gist, Scale, Meter, Past,
Record, Must, Plan and Wish should be made visible in our
requirements specifications by using keywords in bold letters.
GIST is a rough summary of the requirement. According to
Jacobs SCALE defines the unit in which the requirements has
to be measured. METER defines the way how the
measurement will be performed. PAST and RECORD are
benchmarks. Past is a value which is typical for (own)
products developed in the past. MUST, PLAN and WISH
envisage the future. Must, Plan and Wish characterize the
system that is to be built. Affleck [5] extends the previous
quantitative reasoning extension into a single objective
optimization model that aims to selectively choose
operationalizations in order to increase the overall satisfaction
of non-functional requirements. One metric is proposed in [1]
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that can be used in the early stages of software development
projects to estimate effort of new projects. Affleck [4] presents
a process-orientated, lightweight, quantitative extension to the
NFR Framework; focusing on providing quantitative support
to the decision process and how decisions affect the system.
Some key issues related to NFR quantification are discussed
in [85][90].They discussed issues related to sharing of
information between customer and supplier as it is must for
optimal quantification. Requirements Convergence Plan can
be used to create better NFR quantification circumstances for
customers and suppliers. Another evaluation model of NFR is
proposed in [94] which mainly focusing on the user
maintenance and operation issues. This model consists of NFR
categories, NFR metrics, description level grading and weight
to each NFR. Another contribution to quantification of NFR is
made by Bin [119] by proposing three methods for calculating
non-functional properties. The cumulative method is applied
to calculation of energy cost, memory cost, and number of
defects and so on. The multiplicative method is applied to
calculation of non-functional properties which can be
described by probability, such as reliability, confidentiality.
The graphic method is applied to calculation of consumed
time. Paper also proposes a 0-1 programming method for
selecting the best non-functional requirement implementation
strategies. Bhatti etal.[13] tries to quality metrics on the basis
of UML diagrams.
F. Testing
[97] has mentioned prevalent testing issues in the light of
NFR. There is a great need to work on specification for
testability, design for testability and code for testability as
mentioned in previous sections of paper. They also mention
certain research direction for future exploration in their paper.
One of the solutions is to have aspect-oriented techniques. It
offers a promising approach for capturing such issues under
verification. In the Literature we found very few testing
techniques (NFR) proposed that too are application based as
mentioned in Table [5].
G. Automation
Automation of process is necessary for speed up the
development process. Not only requirements have to be
carefully considered but they also have to be implemented.
But there need to validate the implementation which can be
easily done with the help of tool. Tool can potentially help
agile software development teams in reasoning about and
visually modeling NFRs as first-class artifacts early on during
requirements gathering and analysis phases. It is better to
create a simple and open toolkit that in turn can be adapted to
a variety of projects and architectures [30]. Since there is need
to handle NFRs automatically various tools have been
proposed by researchers as enlisted in Table 6.
H. Evaluation
Evaluation means NFR importance degree assessment given
         . Some
important evaluation has been done in [12][81][105] [123]
3. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE SCOPE
NFR needs to look after starting from the early stages of
software development. There is a need to chance the facet of
NFRs while specifying it in SRS. Most of the literature is
based on NFR elicitation and NFR Framework (informal
approach). Some formal approach needs to be work out.
According to Singh et al. number of models are available for
Functional Requirements like Four Variable Model,
COCOMO. Model and Reference Model etc. but no
standardized model has been found opted for NFR [21][97]. It
is due to informal presentation, NFR still a challenge in the
field of requirement engineering.
To complete the specification for NFRs besides the four
variables (NAT, REQ, IN, OUT) of four variable model new
variable can be introduced or new model can be introduced
from scratch for dealing with NFRs. Extensions to this model
is also suggested in [77]. Similarly Reference Model can be
extended for NFR as mentioned by Chung.[21].
As proposed in [97] NFR can be handled more concretely by
MBT, some approach needs to be work out for handling real
life situations.
Aspects help to achieve modularity in software development
process. The use of AO to deal with NFR has already been
proposed in [69].
In this paper we surveyed different aspects of NFR. We are
likely to focus on formal modeling of NFR in future work. As
it is the foremost challenge that need to be overcome if we
want NFR to be quantified. Some of the issues related to NFR
are mentioned in Table 7 found from the literature survey.
Table 5. Testing issues based on application
Application
Issues
Solution Proposed
Web Based application[89]
Verification during testing
Metrics for the navigability
Load and Performance Testing
Quality verification of mobile phones
[76]
Lack of Tool Support
Classify types of NFR
Aspect-oriented techniques
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TABLE 6: TOOLS
Source
Tool or Approach Name
Purpose
Jan Ladiges etal.(2013) [62]
Presented a set of non-functional
requirements on automated
production facilities.
Approach used detects unintentional changes
in its behavior after performing modifications.
Farid and
Mitropoulos(2012)[33]
NORMATIC
Modeling for Agile Processes (NORMAP)
Methodology.
Cesare etal.(2012) [84]
Q4BPMN
Non-Functional requirements can be directly
expressed within the BPMN model.
Janne Merilinna etal.(2012)[75]
Supported by a tool enables to
do that in the context of
Domain-Specific Modeling
(DSM).
Bi-directional traceability link between
requirements and implementation is
maintained by NFR+ Framework.
Kristoffer Dyrkorn(2008)[30]
Present an open-source toolkit
that enables automated
testing of non-functional
requirements.
Provides developers and project managers
with reports about the system under
development.
Jane Cleland etal.(2007)[24]
Technique for automating the
detection and classification of
non-functional Requirements.
Approach is used to detect and classify

requirements specifications containing
scattered and non-categorized
requirements
Lawrence Chung etal.(1996)
[22]
Address tool support for the
change process
Approach is based on existing NFR
Framework
Al Balushi etal.(2007)[6]
ELICITO
Quality ontology-guided NFR elicitation tool
TABLE 7: NFR ISSUES
S.No
Categories
Issues
1
Identification and Specification
Need to change the notion while specifying
NFR in RFP [39][40]
Formal Techniques [20][21]
2
Elicitation
Aspect oriented documentation of attributes
and constraints [69][108]
3
Formal Modeling
Need to develop formal models like
Four Variable Model[21][77]
Reference model[21]
4
Quantification
Formal models helps in quantification of
NFR [77][81][93]
5
Testing
Clear Identification and
Specification(Formal techniques)
AOP[69][97]
MBT[41][97]
6.
Automated Tool
Tool for empowering analyst by providing
knowledge repository, detecting NFR
conflict and to assess impact of NFRs in
early stages [5][30].
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4. REFERENCES
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... There is a lack of tools or methodologies to automatically classify and cluster the collected SRs. On the one hand, some works are found in the literature with the goal of non-functional SR classification [16][17][18]. On the other hand, functional SR clustering has never been considered in the literature. ...
... Their technique used linguistic relations among requirement statements to extract thematic roles. Recently, Kaur et al. surveyed a wide range of techniques interested in NFRs[16]. ...
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