Context: Currently, development efforts in embedded systems development
lead to a large number of interconnected artifacts. Traceability enables understanding
and managing these artifacts as they evolve. However, establishing
traceability is not a trivial task, it requires the development organization to
plan how traceability will fit into its processes and provide tools to support
traceability establishment. In practice, guidelines for how traceability should
be established are lacking. Therefore, companies struggle with establishing
traceability and making the most of traceability once it is established.
Objective: The overall objective of this research is to improve traceability
processes and tools for embedded systems development. In this thesis, we
started with first understanding the domain and practical traceability challenges
and also investigated how traceability tools can be improved.
Method: Since establishing traceability is a practical problem, our research
is conducted in close collaboration with industry partners. We conducted
qualitative empirical studies to understand which traceability challenges exist
in reality and designed solutions for some of these challenges. Concretely, we
used action research, case study and design science methods for the different
Results: Our studies show that establishing traceability in practice still
has several challenges, the most prominent ones being: the manual work of
establishing traceability is high; the engineers responsible for creating the links
perceive it as an overhead; lack of tools to enable using traceability; lack of
methods and tools to measure its quality; no universal standards for traceability
to be shared and exchanged and it is difficult to measure the return on
investment of establishing traceability.
To reduce the amount of manual work needed to maintain traceability links,
we designed guidelines that can be followed by tool developers. We also show
the feasibility of a configurable and extendable traceability management tool
through a prototype implementation.
Contributions: As part of this thesis, we have elicited persistent traceability
challenges in development of embedded systems development. This list
of challenges can also be used by other researchers who are interested in the
topic of traceability for embedded systems development. As a first initiative
towards solving these challenges, we propose important factors and guidelines
for traceability tool developers and organizations that need to acquire traceability
tools. Lastly, we have demonstrated the feasibility of these factors and
guidelines through a prototype implementation. This implementation is open
source and available for industry to use in their development and for other
researchers to use for studies and extend the tool.
09 May, 2017, 13:30
09 May, 2017, 14:30