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Conflict Resolution Strategies during Product Configuration

By Alexander Nöhrer and Alexander Egyed


Abstract—During product configuration, users are prone to make errors because of complexity and lack of system knowledge. Such errors cause conflicts (i.e., incompatible choices selected) and current state-of-the-art configurators require users to undo earlier decisions made or restart the decision process altogether. This paper discusses these and other conflict resolution strategies; even ones that allow users to introduce conflicts and solve them at a later time of their choosing. This is analogous to the notion of living with inconsistencies which is not only tolerated but deemed necessary in modeling. We will discuss that allowing conflicts to exist during the configuration process (living with conflicts) is likewise beneficial during the configuration process because it is easier to resolve conflicts at a later time when the user’s intention is better understood (i.e., more input was provided). However, the dilemma with living with conflicts is that traditional reasoning mechanisms become inadequate. For example, it is common during configuration to eliminate choices of future decisions (unanswered questions) based on decisions that have already been provided and we will discuss how to continue doing so in the presence of conflicts. Furthermore, we will discuss that understanding the order (history) of decisions made is beneficial for better resolving conflicts later. Keywords-Product Line Engineering; Formal reasoning; User Guidanc

Year: 2010
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