FWF C4S: Coordination-centric Change and Consistency Support.

FWF P 29415-NBL
C4S: Coordination-centric Change and Consistency Support


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.