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Science Park 3

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The research proposal addresses change impact analysis in development efforts of complex, safety-critical software (e.g., air traffic control systems). Such software typically exhibits a long lifecycle, involves various engineers (beyond pure software developers) across the entire development lifecycle and is subject to countless changes in the scope of maintenance and evolution activities. Under such conditions proper impact analysis needs to go beyond knowing which artifacts are affected (traditional traceability). Successfully implementing a change requires awareness which engineers to involve and why, how these engineers should be coordinated and communicate, and how these engineers should correctly propagate changes. Hence, what is an efficient and effective way to support engineers in change impact analysis and consistency maintenance? Pure top-down specified processes are insufficient to provide actionable guidance. This proposed work, therefore, investigates methods and techniques for bottom-up determining the underlying communication, coordination, and joint work relations among engineers, artifacts, and tasks. Monitoring such low-level events enables a holistic bottom-up activity view that constitutes the basis for extensive change management support: (i) Dependency Awareness and Consistency Support: provides sophisticated artifact dependencies and recommendations for maintaining artifact consistency beyond core development activities. (ii)
Coordination Know-how Learning: generalizes and extracts insight into which coordination structures prevailed, how much collaboration occurred, and which expertise was involved, thus enabling to deduct how these properties affect the duration, quality outcome, and resource utilization of various development activities required for change implementation; and (iii) Coordination Guidance: provides actionable recommendations for a given change management instance based on previously learned best practices. Key research questions address the challenges of dealing with incomplete, incorrect, and uncertain information in detail.