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Reference Architectures and Scrum: Friends or Foes?

: Galster, Matthias; Angelov, Samuil; Martínez-Fernández, Silverio; Tofan, Dan


Bodden, Eric (Ed.); Schäfer, Wilhelm (Ed.); Deursen, Arie van (Ed.); Zisman, Andrea (Ed.):
11th Joint Meeting of the European Software Engineering Conference and the ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE 2017). Proceedings : Paderborn, Germany, September 04 - 08, 2017
New York: ACM Press, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4503-5105-8
Joint Meeting of the European Software Engineering Conference (ESEC) <11, 2017, Paderborn>
Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE) <2017, Paderborn>
Fraunhofer IESE ()
reference architecture; scrum; experience report; lessons learned

Software reference architectures provide templates and guidelines for designing systems in a particular domain. Companies use them to achieve interoperability of (parts of) their software, standardization, and faster development. In contrast to system-specific software architectures that "emerge" during development, reference architectures dictate significant parts of the software design early on. Agile software development frameworks (such as Scrum) acknowledge changing software requirements and the need to adapt the software design accordingly. In this paper, we present lessons learned about how reference architectures interact with Scrum (the most frequently used agile process framework). These lessons are based on observing software development projects in five companies. We found that reference architectures can support good practice in Scrum: They provide enough design upfront without too much effort, reduce documentation activities, facilitate knowledge sharing, and contribute to "architectural thinking" of developers. However, reference architectures can impose risks or even threats to the success of Scrum (e.g., to self-organizing and motivated teams).