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A taxonomy of assets for the development of software-intensive products and services
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1729-5154
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1350-7030
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3646-235x
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1744-3118
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2023 (English)In: Journal of Systems and Software, ISSN 0164-1212, E-ISSN 1873-1228, Vol. 202, article id 111701Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Context:Developing software-intensive products or services usually involves a plethora of software artefacts. Assets are artefacts intended to be used more than once and have value for organisations; examples include test cases, code, requirements, and documentation. During the development process, assets might degrade, affecting the effectiveness and efficiency of the development process. Therefore, assets are an investment that requires continuous management.

Identifying assets is the first step for their effective management. However, there is a lack of awareness of what assets and types of assets are common in software-developing organisations. Most types of assets are understudied, and their state of quality and how they degrade over time have not been well-understood.

Methods:We performed an analysis of secondary literature and a field study at five companies to investigate and identify assets to fill the gap in research. The results were analysed qualitatively and summarised in a taxonomy.

Results:We present the first comprehensive, structured, yet extendable taxonomy of assets, containing 57 types of assets.

Conclusions:The taxonomy serves as a foundation for identifying assets that are relevant for an organisation and enables the study of asset management and asset degradation concepts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2023. Vol. 202, article id 111701
Keywords [en]
Assets in software engineering, Asset management in software engineering, Assets for software-intensive products or services, Taxonomy
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-24426DOI: 10.1016/j.jss.2023.111701ISI: 000984121100001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85152899759OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-24426DiVA, id: diva2:1749684
Part of project
SHADE- A value-oriented strategy for managing the degradation of software assets, Knowledge FoundationSERT- Software Engineering ReThought, Knowledge Foundation
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 20170176Knowledge Foundation, 20180010Available from: 2023-04-11 Created: 2023-04-11 Last updated: 2023-06-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Understanding Asset Degradation in Software Engineering
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding Asset Degradation in Software Engineering
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: As software is everywhere, and almost every company has nowadays a dependency on software, designing and developing software-intensive products or services has become significantly challenging and time-consuming. The challenges are due to the continuous growth of the size and complexity of software and the fast pace of change. It is important that software-developing organisations’ engineering practices adapt to the rising challenges by adopting well-engineered development activities. Organisations deal with many software artefacts, some of which are more relevant for the organisation. We define Software Assets as artefacts intended to be used more than once. Given softwared evelopment’s continuous and evolutionary aspect, the assets involved degrade over time. Organisations need to understand what assets are relevant and how they degrade to exercise quality control over software assets. Asset degradation is inevitable, and it may manifest in different ways. 

Objective: The main objective of this thesis is: (i) to contribute to the software engineering body of knowledge by providing an understanding of what assets are and how they degrade; and (ii) to gather empirical evidence regarding asset degradation and different factors that might impact it on industrial settings. 

Method: To achieve the thesis goals, several studies have been conducted. The collected data is from peer-reviewed literature and collaboration with five companies that included extracting archival data from over 20 million LOC and archival data from open-source repositories. 

Results: The first contribution of this thesis is defining the concept of assets and asset degradation in a position paper. We aim to provide an understanding of software assets and asset degradation and its impact on software development.  Additionally, a taxonomy of assets is created using academic and industrial input. The taxonomy includes 57 assets and their categories. To further investigate the concept of asset degradation, we have conducted in-depth analyses of multiple industrial case studies on selected assets. This thesis presents results to provide evidence on the impact of different factors on asset degradation, including: (I) how the accumulation of technical debt is affected by different development activities; (ii) how degradation ‘survives’; and (iii) how working from home or the misalignment between ownership and contribution impacts the faster accumulation of asset degradation. Additionally, we created a model to calculate the degree of the alignment between ownership and contribution to code. 

Conclusion: The results can help organisations identify and understand the relevant software assets and characterize their quality degradation. Understanding how assets degrade and which factors might impact their faster accumulation is the first step to conducting sufficient and practical asset management activities. For example, by engaging (i) proactively in preventing uncontrolled growth of degradation (e.g., aligning ownership and contribution); and (ii) reactively in prioritizing mitigation strategies and activities (focusing on recently introducing TD items).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2023
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series, ISSN 1653-2090 ; 5
Keywords
Assets in Software Engineering, Asset Management, Asset Degradation, Technical Debt
National Category
Software Engineering
Research subject
Software Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-24429 (URN)978-91-7295-455-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-05-31, J1630 och Zoom, Campus Karlskrona, Karlskrona, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-04-12 Created: 2023-04-11 Last updated: 2023-06-07Bibliographically approved

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Zabardast, EhsanGonzalez-Huerta, JavierGorschek, TonyŠmite, DarjaAlégroth, EmilFagerholm, Fabian

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