Aggregating empirical evidence about the benefits and drawbacks of software reference architectures
Document typeConference report
Rights accessOpen Access
Context: Several empirical studies investigated the benefits and drawbacks of acquiring a Software Reference Architecture (SRA) to construct a family of software systems with similar architectural needs. However, these empirical results have not been synthesized by any study yet. Such synthesized evidence is essential to make informed decisions whether or not to adopt an SRA in an organization. Goal: To aggregate existing empirically- grounded evidence about the benefits and drawbacks of SRAs, aiming at supporting organizations' decision making on their adoption. Method: To identify primary studies in the technical literature through a systematic literature review, and then, use the Structured Synthesis Method (SSM) to aggregate qualitative and quantitative evidence through the use of diagrammatic models. Results: From the five identified primary studies, five SRA benefits have considerably increased their belief value after aggregation: interoperability of software systems, reduced development costs, improved communication among stakeholders, reduced risk, and reduced time- to-market. Also, one drawback of SRAs has increased its belief value: the required learning curve for developers. Conclusions: The aggregated results consolidate knowledge and confidence on some of the studied SRA effects. The commonly reported effects showed a clear increment of their belief and pointed out to broader generalization. The effects that did not show any belief increment are important to detect areas requiring further evidence to reach a higher degree of consolidation. Practitioners might benefit from these results to support the decision of adopting an SRA in practice.
CitationMartínez-Fernández, S., Medeiros dos Santos, P., Ayala, C.P., Franch, X., Travassos, G. Aggregating empirical evidence about the benefits and drawbacks of software reference architectures. A: ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement. "2015 ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM): 22-23 October 2015, Beijing, China: proceedings". IEEE: 2015, p. 154-163.