Bohnet, Johannes; Döllner, Jürgen
Proceedings of the IEEE ACM ICSE Workshop on Managing Technical Debt
Software development projects are difficult to manage, in general, due to the friction between completing system features and, at the same time, obtaining a high degree of code quality to ensure maintainability of the system in the future. A major challenge of this optimization problem is that code quality is less visible to stakeholders in the development process, particularly, to the management. In this paper, we describe an approach for automated software analysis and monitoring of both quality-related code metrics and development activities by means of software maps. A software map represents an adaptive, hierarchical representation of software implementation artifacts such as source code files being organized in a modular hierarchy. The maps can express and combine information about software development, software quality, and system dynamics, they can systematically be specified, automatically generated, and organized by templates. The maps aim at supporting decision-making processes. For example, they facilitate to decide where in the code an increase of quality would be beneficial both for speeding up current development activities and for reducing risks of future maintenance problems. Due to their high degree of expressiveness and their instantaneous generation, the maps additionally serve as up-to-date information tools, bridging an essential information gap between management and development, improve awareness, and serve as early risk detection instrument. The software map concept and its tool implementation are evaluated by means of two case studies on large industrially developed software systems.