A mapping study on method engineering
Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering - EASE '13
Context: Software processes have become inherently complex to cope with the various situations we face in industrial project environments. In response to this problem, the research area of Method Engineering arose in the 1990s aiming at the systematization of process construction. Objective: Although the research area has gained much attention and offered a plethora of contributions so far, we still have little knowledge about the feasibility of Method Engineering. To overcome this shortcoming,
... e this shortcoming, necessary is a systematic investigation of the respective publication flora. Method: We conduct a systematic mapping study and investigate, inter alia, which contributions were made over time and which research type facet they address to distill a common understanding of the state-of-the-art. Results: Based on the review of 64 publications, our results show that most of those contributions only repeat and discuss formerly introduced concepts, whereas empirically sound evidence on the feasibility of Method Engineering, is still missing. Conclusion: Although the research area constitutes many contributions, yet missing are empirically sound investigations that would allow for practical application and experience extraction. needed systematic adaptation. As there is no silver bullet in software processes that matches all possible needs of projects, a number of authors voted for a flexible adaptation approach [3, 18] . However, flexibility in software process design is, in general, a frequently discussed topic with a yet missing common agreement. During the past decades, a number of contributions on (Situational) Method Engineering (SME, we use Method Engineering in this paper as a synonym) were published. Some authors consider Method Engineering to be the "current most optimistic route" to create flexible and adaptable software processes  . Until today, however, it is still unknown which of the available approaches has which practical impact. We can observe selected studies on the application of Method Engineering approaches, or discussions on the feasibility of Method Engineering, e.g., [18, 15] . Yet, it remains unclear what the exact state-of-the-art is w.r.t. the practical application and the feasibility of Method Engineering. Problem Statement. Although many contributions on Method Engineering where proposed so far, it remains unclear which approaches are established in general and which approaches are disseminated in practice. In other domains, e.g., software process metamodels  , there is reproducible research. Comparable studies in the area of Method Engineering are not yet available. If at all, studies stay on a comparative level and do not allow for practical application nor knowledge extraction. In summary, we still have little knowledge about the finally established state-of-the-art. Research Objective. To overcome the shortcoming stated above, we aim at conducting a systematic investigation of the publication flora in Method Engineering to paint a big picture of the state-of-the-art. Contribution. We contribute a systematic mapping study and analyze which contributions were made over time and of which research type facet those contributions are. This analysis allows us to distill an initial understanding of the maturity and the state of application of SME.