Practitioners’ Perspectives on Change Impact Analysis for Safety-Critical Software – A Preliminary Analysis
Safety standards prescribe change impact analysis (CIA) during evolution of safety-critical software systems. Although CIA is a fundamental activity, there is a lack of empirical studies about how it is performed in practice. We present a case study on CIA in the context of an evolving automation system, based on 14 interviews in Sweden and India. Our analysis suggests that engineers on average spend 50–100 h on CIA per year, but the effort varies considerably with the phases of projects. Also, the respondents presented different connotations to CIA and perceived the importance of CIA differently. We report the most pressing CIA challenges, and several ideas on how to support future CIA. However, we show that measuring the effect of such improvement solutions is non-trivial, as CIA is intertwined with other development activities. While this paper only reports preliminary results, our work contributes empirical insights into practical CIA.
KeywordsChange impact analysis Safety-critical systems Case study research
The work is partially supported by a research grant for the ORION project (ref. number 20140218) from The Knowledge Foundation in Sweden.
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