Evaluating the Architecture Centric Traceability for Stakeholders (ACTS) Holistically from the Economic, Social, and Technical Perspectives
MetadataShow full item record
Software traceability has the capability of relating various artifacts produced throughout the development to assist with understanding the system from different viewpoints and abstraction levels. The Architecture Centric Traceability for Stakeholders (ACTS) technique was created to holistically address challenges from different perspectives that are associated with various stakeholders and artifacts. The challenges include time spent on, cost associated with, decreasing user's motivation, and the complexity in searching for related artifacts. ACTS is a stakeholder-centric technique, which is based on integration of hypermedia adapters of third-party software tools into a traceability framework. It uses rules to intelligently assign relationships and to filter noise in the captured traceability links. The purpose of this thesis is to evaluate ACTS from the economic, social, and technical perspectives with an emphasis on specific properties, which are capturability, accessibility, utilizability, affordability, and customizability. Furthermore, the research is focused on two specific stakeholders. The approach to evaluate ACTS is to design and implement two embedded single-case studies, where each case study focuses on one of the stakeholders. The first stakeholders are the users, who are divided into two groups based on their experience. The second stakeholders are the developers and are grouped as one set, but each developer focused on the development and integration of different third-part hypermedia adapter. A comprehensive research methodology to design, administer, and analyze these case studies was developed. The users pointed out that ACTS facilitates the capturability, accessibility, and utilizabiliy of traceability links as well as it is time and cost efficient in finding related artifacts. It also enables interaction between users; however it needs improvements on the user friendliness and to reduce the noise in captured links when interactive rules are enabled. A conclusion based on paired sampled t-test statistical analysis found that there is no statistically significant difference between the feedback provided by users regardless of their traceability experience or the lack of it. It was also found that changing filtering rules functionality in ACTS yield no statistically significant difference in the users' perception of ACTS technique. From the other case study, a summative evaluation through comparing data between each developer was done. They reported that third-party tools APIs were easy to learn, enjoyed learning new technologies, and gained experience. Nevertheless, the developers indicated that integration of adapters in ACTS required significant time as well as better documentations is needed for ACTS. Based on the outcomes of the two case studies, it was found that ACTS positively affects the software development cycle from economic, social and technical perspectives with emphasis on affordability and customizability.