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Software Dependencies, Work Dependencies, and Their Impact on Failures

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4 Author(s)
Cataldo, M. ; Res. & Technol. Center, Robert Bosch LLC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Mockus, A. ; Roberts, J.A. ; Herbsleb, J.D.

Prior research has shown that customer-reported software faults are often the result of violated dependencies that are not recognized by developers implementing software. Many types of dependencies and corresponding measures have been proposed to help address this problem. The objective of this research is to compare the relative performance of several of these dependency measures as they relate to customer-reported defects. Our analysis is based on data collected from two projects from two independent companies. Combined, our data set encompasses eight years of development activity involving 154 developers. The principal contribution of this study is the examination of the relative impact that syntactic, logical, and work dependencies have on the failure proneness of a software system. While all dependencies increase the fault proneness, the logical dependencies explained most of the variance in fault proneness, while workflow dependencies had more impact than syntactic dependencies. These results suggest that practices such as rearchitecting, guided by the network structure of logical dependencies, hold promise for reducing defects.

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Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:35 ,  Issue: 6 )