Do architectural design decisions improve the understanding of software architecture? two controlled experiments

Mojtaba Shahin, Peng Liang, Zengyang Li

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Architectural design decision (ADD) and its design rationale, as a paradigm shift on documenting and enriching architecture design description, is supposed to facilitate the understanding of architecture and the reasoning behind the design rationale, which consequently improves the architecting process and gets better architecture design results. But the lack of empirical evaluation that supports this statement is one of the major reasons that prevent industrial practitioners from using ADDs in their daily architecting activities. In this paper, we conducted two controlled experiments, as a family of experiments, to investigate how presence of ADDs can improve the understanding of architecture. The main results of our experiments are: (i) using ADDs and their rationale in architecture documentation does not affect the time needed for completing architecture design tasks; (ii) one experiment and the family of experiments achieved a significantly better understanding of architecture design when using ADDs; and (iii) with regard to the correctness of architecture understanding, more experienced participants benefited more from ADDs in comparison with less experienced ones.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication22nd International Conference on Program Comprehension (ICPC 2014) - Proceedings
EditorsChanchal K. Roy, Andrew Begel, Leon Moonen
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages3-13
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450328791
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Program Comprehension 2014 - Hyderabad, India
Duration: 2 Jun 20143 Jun 2014
Conference number: 22nd
https://web.archive.org/web/20180708093124/http://icpc2014.usask.ca/

Conference

ConferenceInternational Conference on Program Comprehension 2014
Abbreviated titleICPC 2014
CountryIndia
CityHyderabad
Period2/06/143/06/14
Internet address

Keywords

  • Architectural design decision
  • Controlled experiment
  • Design rationale
  • Meta-analysis
  • Software architecture

Cite this

Shahin, M., Liang, P., & Li, Z. (2014). Do architectural design decisions improve the understanding of software architecture? two controlled experiments. In C. K. Roy, A. Begel, & L. Moonen (Eds.), 22nd International Conference on Program Comprehension (ICPC 2014) - Proceedings (pp. 3-13). Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). https://doi.org/10.1145/2597008.2597139