Evolution support for architectural artefacts

The complexity of modern embedded software in domains such as vehicular systems, calls for high quality software architectures in order to reach the required quality. Architectural artefacts, including informal textual and graphical descriptions as well as models conforming to well-defined formalisms, evolves both during the development of the system and as a result of system evolution and maintenance. In development processes based on one-way deliverables or transformations from architectural descriptions to lower level artefacts, such as design specifications and eventually code, evolution is often handled by means of change requests to be considered in the next development cycle.

At the same time, the increasing amount of software in these systems means that the trend in other domains of software development, towards shorter development cycles and more continuous integration of new functionality, affects also these systems. Such a change towards more agile software development is hindered by heavyweight processes for architectural evolution.

The long-term goal of this project is to enhance the support for evolution of architectural and design artefacts, in order to shorten the time due to round-trip steps in the development process. In particular, we want to focus on the use of model-based and model-driven development, and how these approaches can be combined with more agile software development processes.

Initial Results

Interviews at the partner companies highlighted three challenges related to evolution of artefacts:

  • Heterogeneity of tools and language in the toolchain
  • Diff/merge at appropriate abstraction levels
  • Explicit traceability between related artefacts


Software Evolution Management: Industrial Practices, Antonio Cicchetti, Federico Ciccozzi, and Jan Carlson, the 10th Workshop on Models and Evolution, October 2016.

Participating companies

  • Volvo Car Corporation
  • Volvo Truck Corporation
  • Saab AB
  • Tetra Pak

Participating researchers