Effects of defects in UML models : an experimental investigation

C.F.J. Lange, M.R.V. Chaudron

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is the de facto standard for designing and architecting software systems. UML offers a large number of diagram types that can be used with varying degree of rigour. As a result UML models may contain consistency defects. Previous research has shown that industrial UML models that are used as basis for implementation and maintenance contain large numbers of defects. This study investigates to what extent implementers detect defects and to what extent defects cause different interpretations by different readers. We performed two controlled experiments with a large group of students (111) and a group of industrial practitioners (48). The experiment’s results show that defects often remain undetected and cause misinterpretations. We present a classification of defect types based on a ranking of detection rate and risk for misinterpretation. Additionally we observed effects of using domain knowledge to compensate defects. The results are generalizable to industrial UML users and can be used for improving quality assurance techniques for UML-based development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 28th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE'06, Shanghai, China, May 20-28, 2006)
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Print)1-59593-375-1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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