Framing Sustainability as a Property of Software Quality

P. Lago, S. Aklini Kocak, I. Crnkovic, B. Penzensradler

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The sustainability analysis framework enables software developers to specifically consider environmental and social dimensions relative to technical and economic dimensions. The framework helps draw a more comprehensive picture of the relevant quality dimensions and, as a result, improve decision making. Sustainability is achievable only when accounting for all dimensions. Connections among the four dimensions involve different dependencies and stakeholders. The framework aims to capture the relevant qualities that characterize sustainability concerns of software systems, helping identify how these qualities influence each other with respect to the different aspects of sustainability. Moreover, interdependent quality requirements may influence one another, as in association/association-class influences among sustainability quality requirements. Integrating our four-dimensional sustainability analysis framework into the engineering processes of long-lived industrial systems provides valuable support to managers and engineers trying to satisfy not only economic and technical but also environmental and social sustainability requirements. The influences among the sustainability quality requirements must be determined by developers and/or stakeholders, as the framework can provide only the means for linking them but not the analysis itself. Constraints and parameters must be chosen by the developers, as it is not possible to list them in a way that is generic enough to be applicable in all circumstances and at the same time specific enough to be useful.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-78
Number of pages9
JournalCommunications of the ACM
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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