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The Impact of Traceability on Software Maintenance and Evolution: A Mapping Study

by   Fangchao Tian, et al.

Software traceability plays a critical role in software maintenance and evolution. We conducted a systematic mapping study with six research questions to understand the benefits, costs, and challenges of using traceability in maintenance and evolution. We systematically selected, analyzed, and synthesized 63 studies published between January 2000 and May 2020, and the results show that: traceability supports 11 maintenance and evolution activities, among which change management is the most frequently supported activity; strong empirical evidence from industry is needed to validate the impact of traceability on maintenance and evolution; easing the process of change management is the main benefit of deploying traceability practices; establishing and maintaining traceability links is the main cost of deploying traceability practices; 13 approaches and 32 tools that support traceability in maintenance and evolution were identified; improving the quality of traceability links, the performance of using traceability approaches and tools are the main traceability challenges in maintenance and evolution. The findings of this study provide a comprehensive understanding of deploying traceability practices in software maintenance and evolution phase, and can be used by researchers for future directions and practitioners for making informed decisions while using traceability in maintenance and evolution.


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