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Mitigating the risk of software change in practice

Retrospective on more than 50 architecture evaluations in industry (Keynote Paper)
: Knodel, Jens

Kaiserslautern, 2015, 16 S.
IESE-Report, 019.15/E
Reportnr.: 019.15/E
Fraunhofer IESE ()
architecture evaluation; software architecture; empirical evidence; experience report; software change management; risk reduction

Architecture evaluation has become a mature instrument to mitigate the risk of software change. It enables decision-making about software systems being changed or being prepared for change. While scientific literature on architecture evaluation approaches is available, publications on practical experiences are rather limited. In this paper, we share our experiences - after having performed more than 50 architecture evaluations for industrial customers in the last decade. We compiled facts and consolidate our findings about the risk of software change and architecture evaluations as a means to mitigate change. We highlight the role of reverse engineering in these projects. In addition, we share our lessons learned and provide data on common beliefs and provide examples for frequently observed misconceptions on the power of reverse engineering. This industrial and practical perspective allows practitioners to benefit from our experience in their daily architecture work and the scientific community to focus their research work on the generalizability of our findings.