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Software Engineers' Information Seeking Behavior in Change Impact Analysis -- An Interview Study

Borg, Markus LU ; Alégroth, Emil and Runeson, Per LU (2017)
Abstract (Swedish)
Software engineers working in large projects must navigate complex information landscapes. Change Impact Analysis (CIA) is a task that relies on engineers' successful information seeking in databases storing, e.g., source code, requirements, design descriptions, and test case specifications. Several previous approaches to support information seeking are task-specific, thus understanding engineers' seeking behavior in specific tasks is fundamental. We present an industrial case study on how engineers seek information in CIA, with a particular focus on traceability and development artifacts that are not source code. We show that engineers have different information seeking behavior, and that some do not consider traceability particularly... (More)
Software engineers working in large projects must navigate complex information landscapes. Change Impact Analysis (CIA) is a task that relies on engineers' successful information seeking in databases storing, e.g., source code, requirements, design descriptions, and test case specifications. Several previous approaches to support information seeking are task-specific, thus understanding engineers' seeking behavior in specific tasks is fundamental. We present an industrial case study on how engineers seek information in CIA, with a particular focus on traceability and development artifacts that are not source code. We show that engineers have different information seeking behavior, and that some do not consider traceability particularly useful when conducting CIA. Furthermore, we observe a tendency for engineers to prefer less rigid types of support rather than formal approaches, i.e., engineers value support that allows flexibility in how to practically conduct CIA. Finally, due to diverse information seeking behavior, we argue that future CIA support should embrace individual preferences to identify change impact by empowering several seeking alternatives, including searching, browsing, and tracing. (Less)
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Contribution to conference
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English
LU publication?
yes
id
647ad3ca-5eb3-4bbe-bc57-a9dd0bd3f6fb
alternative location
https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.01897
date added to LUP
2017-06-21 15:03:59
date last changed
2018-11-21 21:32:55
@misc{647ad3ca-5eb3-4bbe-bc57-a9dd0bd3f6fb,
  abstract     = {Software engineers working in large projects must navigate complex information landscapes. Change Impact Analysis (CIA) is a task that relies on engineers' successful information seeking in databases storing, e.g., source code, requirements, design descriptions, and test case specifications. Several previous approaches to support information seeking are task-specific, thus understanding engineers' seeking behavior in specific tasks is fundamental. We present an industrial case study on how engineers seek information in CIA, with a particular focus on traceability and development artifacts that are not source code. We show that engineers have different information seeking behavior, and that some do not consider traceability particularly useful when conducting CIA. Furthermore, we observe a tendency for engineers to prefer less rigid types of support rather than formal approaches, i.e., engineers value support that allows flexibility in how to practically conduct CIA. Finally, due to diverse information seeking behavior, we argue that future CIA support should embrace individual preferences to identify change impact by empowering several seeking alternatives, including searching, browsing, and tracing. },
  author       = {Borg, Markus and Alégroth, Emil and Runeson, Per},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  title        = {Software Engineers' Information Seeking Behavior in Change Impact Analysis -- An Interview Study},
  year         = {2017},
}