On interfaces to support agile architecting in automotive: An exploratory case study
Paper in proceeding, 2019

Practitioners struggle with creating and evolving an architecture when developing complex and safety-critical systems in large-scale agile contexts. A key issue is the trade-off between upfront planning and flexibility to embrace change. In particular, the coordination of interfaces is an important challenge, as interfaces determine and regulate the exchange of information between components, subsystems, and systems, which are often developed by multiple teams. In a fast-changing environment, boundary objects between teams can provide the sufficient stability to align software or systems, while maintaining a sufficient degree of autonomy. However, a better understanding of interfaces as boundary objects is needed to give practical guidance. This paper presents an exploratory case study with an automotive OEM to identify characteristics of different interfaces, from non-critical interfaces that can be changed frequently and quickly, to those that are critical and require more stability and a rigorous change process. We identify what dimensions impact how interfaces are changed, what categories of interfaces exist along these dimensions, and how categories of interfaces change over time. We conclude with suggestions for practices to manage the different categories of interfaces in large-scale agile development.

Agile architecture

Case study

Large-scale agile development

Boundary objects



Empirical software engineering

Architectural change


Rebekka Wohlrab

Systemite AB

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

Patrizio Pelliccione

University of Gothenburg

University of L'Aquila

Eric Knauss

University of Gothenburg

Rogardt Heldal

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), CSE Verksamhetsstöd

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Proceedings - 2019 IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture, ICSA 2019

161-170 8703906
978-172810528-4 (ISBN)

2019 IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture, ICSA 2019
Hamburg, Germany,

Subject Categories

Software Engineering

Embedded Systems

Information Systemes, Social aspects



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