Traceability Maintenance: Factors and Guidelines
Paper in proceeding, 2016

Traceability is an important concern for numerous software engineering activities. Establishing traceability links %that capture useful connections between software artefacts is a challenging and cost-intensive task, which is uneconomical without suitable strategies for maintaining high link quality. Current approaches to Traceability Management (TM), however, often make important assumptions and choices without ensuring that the consequences and implications for traceability maintenance are feasible and desirable in practice. In this paper, therefore, we identify a set of core factors that influence how the quality of traceability links can be maintained. For each factor, we discuss relevant challenges and provide guidelines on how best to ensure viable traceability maintenance in a practical TM approach. Our results are based on and supported by data collected from interviews conducted with: (i) 9 of our industrial and academic project partners to elicit project specific requirements, and (ii) 24 software development stakeholders from 15 industrial cases to provide a broader overview of the current state of the practice on traceability maintenance. To evaluate the feasibility of our guidelines, we investigate a set of existing TM solutions used in industry with respect to our guidelines.


Traceability quality

Traceability maintenance


Salome Maro

University of Gothenburg

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

Anthony Anjorin

Padernborn University

Rebekka Wohlrab

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

Jan-Philipp Steghöfer

University of Gothenburg

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

Proceedings of the 31st IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE 2016)

1527-1366 (ISSN)


Subject Categories

Software Engineering



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