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Traceability Maintenance: Factors and Guidelines

Conference paper
Authors Salome Maro
Anthony Anjorin
Rebekka Wohlrab
Jan-Philipp Steghöfer
Published in Proceedings of the 31st IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE 2016)
ISBN 978-145033845-5
Publisher IEEE
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Computer Science and Engineering (GU)
Language en
Keywords Consistency, Traceability maintenance, Traceability quality
Subject categories Software Engineering


Traceability is an important concern for numerous software engineering activities. Establishing traceability links %that capture useful connections between software artefacts is a challenging and cost-intensive task, which is uneconomical without suitable strategies for maintaining high link quality. Current approaches to Traceability Management (TM), however, often make important assumptions and choices without ensuring that the consequences and implications for traceability maintenance are feasible and desirable in practice. In this paper, therefore, we identify a set of core factors that influence how the quality of traceability links can be maintained. For each factor, we discuss relevant challenges and provide guidelines on how best to ensure viable traceability maintenance in a practical TM approach. Our results are based on and supported by data collected from interviews conducted with: (i) 9 of our industrial and academic project partners to elicit project specific requirements, and (ii) 24 software development stakeholders from 15 industrial cases to provide a broader overview of the current state of the practice on traceability maintenance. To evaluate the feasibility of our guidelines, we investigate a set of existing TM solutions used in industry with respect to our guidelines.

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