Traceability – A key to software success

It has been 25 years since Fredrick Brooks wrote his famous book ‘The mythical man-month’ but still the software industry struggle with most of the problems he brought up in his book. In 1986 he wrote an article called ‘No Silver Bullet’ in which he claimed that -“There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order-of-magnitude improvement within a decade in productivity,in reliability, in simplicity.” [5]. Sadly this prophecy of woe came true, but is this true for the next decade as well?We agree with Brooks that there are some very hard problems to solve, we just have to look at the software industry today to confirm that.


From one year to another an intuitive feeling has grown stronger. That feeling tells us that poor traceability is the underlying reason for many of the problems that the software industry struggles with today. This thesis was carried out to see if this was true and if so investigate how traceability was related to the problems in today’s software industry.In order to do this we have taken two different approaches. The first approach has been to try to establish if there exist support for this claim in existing literature. In the second approach we have tried to do the same thing by performing our own empirical….


1.1 Background
1.2 Common ground
2.1 Required previous knowledge
2.2 How this thesis is structured
2.3 The essence of this thesis
2.4 Outline
4.1 Introduction
4.2 The software industry today
4.3 Summary ‘
5.1 Summary
6.1 An increased need for communication
6.2 Communication a key factor for success
6.3 Problems in communication
6.3.1 The message does not get through
6.3.2 The message is rejected
6.3.3 The message changes
6.4 Summary
7.1 Introduction
7.2 What is it?
7.3 Our definition
7.4 How does traceability relate to communication?
7.4.1 The message end up in the wrong place
7.4.2 The message is not noticed
7.4.3 The message is delayed on its way
7.4.4 You get too many messages
7.4.5 The message is not understood
7.4.6 The message does not appear in the proper context
7.4.7 The message is misunderstood
7.5 What makes us loose it?
7.5.1 Poor modelling
7.5.2 Document fixation
7.6 Summary
8.1 Qualitative interviews vs. quantitative
8.2 Selection
8.3 Pitfalls
8.3.1 The interviewed persons tries to embellish their company
8.3.2 Lack of objectivity
8.3.3 We get what the person being interviewed thinks we want
8.4 The company
8.5 About the interviews
8.6 Problem areas
8.6.1 The propagation problem
8.6.2 The overview problem
8.6.3 The problem of incompleteness
8.6.4 The coverage problem
8.6.5 The responsibility problem
8.6.6 The planning/estimation problem
8.6.7 The lack of project focus problem
8.6.8 The progress reporting problem
8.7 Summary
9.1 Project Manager (P1)
9.2 Project Manager (P2)
9.3 Project Manager (P3)
9.4 Developer (D1)
9.5 Developer (D2)
9.6 Developer (D3)
9.7 Summary
10.1 Project Managers
10.2 Developers
10.3 The problem areas vs. traceability
10.3.1 The propagation problem
10.3.2 The overview problem
10.3.3 The problem of incompleteness
10.3.4 The coverage problem
10.3.5 The responsibility problem
10.3.6 The planning/estimation problem
10.3.7 The lack of project focus problem
10.3.8 The progress reporting problem
10.4 Summary
11.1 Introduction
11.2 Availability
11.3 The building blocks
11.4 The connections
11.5 Folders
11.6 Operations
11.7 Modifications
11.8 Responsibility and authority
11.9 Object oriented approach on information
11.10 How the work could progress
11.10.1 Project launch meeting
11.10.2 Project launch
11.11 The Common Ground approach
11.11.1 Problems from empirical study
11.12 Basic communication problems
11.12.1 The message end up in the wrong place
11.12.2 The message is not noticed
11.12.3 The message is delayed on its way
11.12.4 You get to many messages
11.12.5 The message is not understood
11.12.6 The message does not appear in the proper context
11.12.7 The message is misunderstood
11.13 Summary
14.1 Empirical study
14.1.1 Questions

Author: David Olsson

Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology

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