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

Borg, Markus and Alégroth, Emil and Runeson, Per (2017) Software Engineers' Information Seeking Behavior in Change Impact Analysis: An Interview Study. In: 25th International Conference on Program Comprehension, 2017, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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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.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords:information seeking; change impact analysis; traceability; safety-critical systems; case study
ID Code:6147
Deposited By:Markus Borg
Deposited On:07 Jun 2017 14:58
Last Modified:07 Jun 2017 14:58

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