Personalized architectural documentation based on stakeholders’ information needs

Abstract

Background

The stakeholders of a software system are, to a greater or lesser extent, concerned about its software architecture, as an essential artifact for capturing the key design decisions of the system. The architecture is normally documented in the Software Architecture Document (SAD), which tends to be a large and complex technical description, and does not always address the information needs of every stakeholder. Individual stakeholders are interested in different, sometimes overlapping, subsets of the SAD and they also require varying levels of detail. As a consequence, stakeholders are affected by an information overload problem, which in practice discourages the usage of the architectural knowledge and diminishes its value for the organization.

Methods

This work presents a semi-automated approach to recommend relevant contents of a given SAD to specific stakeholder profiles. Our approach assumes that SADs are hosted in Wikis, which not only favor communication and interactions among stakeholders, but also enable us to apply User Profiling techniques to infer stakeholders� interests with respect to particular documents.

Results

We have built a recommendation tool implementing our approach, which was tested in two experiments with Wiki-based SADs. The experiments aimed at assessing the performance reached by our tool when inferring stakeholders� interests. To this end, precision and recall metrics were used.

Conclusions

Although preliminary, the results have shown that the recommendations of the tool help to find the architectural documents that best match the stakeholders� interests.

Publication
Journal of Software Engineering Research and Development, (2), pp. 1–26