Risk Containers – A Help or Hindrance to Practitioners?

Leigh, Andrew; Wermelinger, Michel and Zisman, Andrea (2019). Risk Containers – A Help or Hindrance to Practitioners? In: IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture (ICSA 2019), 25-29 Mar 2019, Hamburg.

Abstract

Finding problems at the design stage reduces the cost to resolve them. Previous studies have indicated that error-proneness risks can be isolated into risk containers created from architectural designs, to help mitigate such risks early on. Here we describe an ongoing experiment to establish whether presenting designs as a collection of such containers helps practitioners manage the isolated risks. Participants must identify cyclic dependencies that could result in error-proneness and assess the impact of design changes. The emerging results suggest it takes participants longer to locate cyclic dependencies in collections of container diagrams than it does in a single diagram representing the whole design. Participants who reviewed collections of container diagrams tended to identify more cyclic dependencies correctly than those using a single diagram. Although, the results suggest that presenting a design as a collection of containers has no overall bearing on a participant’s ability to correctly identify impacts of design changes, in cases where changes span multiple container diagrams no errors in change impact detection were observed. Errors were observed when assessing the same change using a single diagram representing the whole design.

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