The Concept of Order of Conflict in Requirements Engineering

Alejandro Salado, Roshanak Nilchiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Conventional approaches to system design use requirements as boundary conditions against which the design activity occurs. Decisions at a given level of the architecture decomposition can result in the flowing down of conflicting requirements, which are easy to fulfill in isolation but extremely difficult when dealt with simultaneously. Designing against such sets of requirements considerably limits system affordability. Existing research on the evaluation of such conflicts primarily seek to determine the level of conflicts between pairs of requirements. We assert in this paper that these methods are incomplete and using traditional methodologies can result in missing significant conflicts between groups of requirements. We provide a mathematical proof for this assertion and present two case studies that support the mathematical proof. We present the concept of "order of conflict." The objective of this paper is to prove why pairwise-based conflicting requirements identification and analysis methods based on pairwise comparisons are flawed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6807513
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Systems Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Conflict identification
  • conflicting requirements
  • satellite communication
  • system architecture
  • system theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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