Ontology Guided Evolution of Complex Embedded Systems Projects in the Direction of MDA

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Implementation of MDA in large, product developing organizations involves changing processes, practices, tools, and communication infrastructures. The paper presents a case study, in which modeling related needs of a unit within Ericsson were compared to features of current and envisioned MDA tools, using qualitative methods. The paper’s main contribution is an ontology defining areas and sub-areas of improvement associated with the introduction of MDA in complex embedded systems projects. The ontology is grounded in interviews with senior modellers at Ericsson and in survey publications from within the field of MDA. It identifies 26 improvement areas concerned with model content, modeling activities, and the management of modeling projects. The ontology has been presented to stakeholders within the unit studied, with positive feedback: appreciated were its groundedness, traceability, holistic scope, and potential as platform and checklist for several recurrent analysis and communication tasks related to software process improvement within Ericsson.