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

Borg, Markus; Alegroth, Emil and Runeson, Per LU (2017) 25th IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC 2017 p.12-22
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... (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.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
case study, change impact analysis, information seeking, safety-critical systems, traceability
host publication
Proceedings - 2017 IEEE 25th International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC 2017
pages
11 pages
publisher
IEEE Computer Society
conference name
25th IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC 2017
conference location
Buenos Aires, Argentina
conference dates
2017-05-22 - 2017-05-23
external identifiers
  • scopus:85025149120
  • wos:000414246900002
ISBN
9781538605356
DOI
10.1109/ICPC.2017.20
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
94b468d3-3b32-4ca6-944b-efae540975e6
date added to LUP
2017-07-31 12:32:21
date last changed
2018-11-21 21:33:40
@inproceedings{94b468d3-3b32-4ca6-944b-efae540975e6,
  abstract     = {<p>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.</p>},
  author       = {Borg, Markus and Alegroth, Emil and Runeson, Per},
  isbn         = {9781538605356},
  keyword      = {case study,change impact analysis,information seeking,safety-critical systems,traceability},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Buenos Aires, Argentina},
  month        = {06},
  pages        = {12--22},
  publisher    = {IEEE Computer Society},
  title        = {Software Engineers' Information Seeking Behavior in Change Impact Analysis - An Interview Study},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ICPC.2017.20},
  year         = {2017},
}