A review of software change impact analysis

Change impact analysis is required for constantly evolving systems to support the comprehension, implementation, and evaluation of changes. A lot of research effort has been spent on this subject over the last twenty years, and many approaches were published likewise. However, there has not been an extensive attempt made to summarize and review published approaches as a base for further research in the area. Therefore, we present the results of a comprehensive investigation of software change impact analysis, which is based on a literature review and a taxonomy for impact analysis. The contribution of this review is threefold. First, approaches proposed for impact analysis are explained regarding their motivation and methodology. They are further classified according to the criteria of the taxonomy to enable the comparison and evaluation of approaches proposed in literature. We perform an evaluation of our taxonomy regarding the coverage of its classification criteria in studied literature, which is the second contribution. Last, we address and discuss yet unsolved problems, research areas, and challenges of impact analysis, which were discovered by our review to illustrate possible directions for further research.


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