AuthorsE. Arisholm, L. Briand, S. E. Hove and Y. Labiche
TitleThe Impact of UML Documentation on Software Maintenance: an Experimental Evaluation
AfilliationSoftware Engineering, Software Engineering
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
JournalIEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
Date PublishedJune

The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is becoming the de-facto standard for software analysis and design modeling. However, there is still a significant resistance to model-driven development in many software organizations as it is perceived to be expensive and not necessarily cost-effective. It is therefore important to investigate the benefits obtained through modeling. As a first step in this direction, this paper reports on controlled experiments, spanning across two locations, which investigate the impact of UML documentation on software maintenance. Results show that, for complex tasks and past a certain learning curve, the availability of UML documentation may result in significant improvements of the functional correctness of changes as well as their design quality. On the other hand, there does not seem to be any resulting time saving. For simpler tasks, the time needed to update the UML documentation may be substantial compared with the potential benefits, thus motivating the need for UML tools with better support for software maintenance.

Citation KeyArisholm.2006.3