Rationale-based Unified Software
Dissertation, Fakultät für Informatik, TU
Abstract: This dissertation addresses two problems of distributed software development
projects: Inconsistencies between related artifacts such as documents and models
and the inefficient collaboration of distributed project participants. In particular
informal communication is reduced and project knowledge gets lost. The
interaction and integration of existing methods and modeling tools are currently
insufficient to address these problems.
We claim that a single consistent representation, supporting a unified data
model for all documents and models including collaboration artifacts, helps to
overcome these problems. In existing methods, collaboration artifacts are usually
treated separately and maintained apart from the system model artifacts. As all
artifacts are represented in one unified model, it is possible to implicitly capture
and maintain artifact relationships as dependency traces. The dependency traces
are used to support consistency of related artifacts. Informal collaboration artifacts,
such as comments, and formal discussions for representing rationale, are
externalized and also part of the unified data model.
This dissertation describes an extendable meta-model as a single consistent
representation. Based on the meta-model we introduce the RUSE model, which
integrates system models, collaboration models and organizational models. The
meta-model and the RUSE model are realized in a tool called Sysiphus. Sysiphus
was used in several academic and industrial software development projects as
well as for teaching software engineering. Selected projects are used to evaluate
the proposed concepts.