Chapter 6Architecture Description

6.1 Why Spending Effort to Describe the Architecture?

The only purpose of an architecture description is to explain the architecture of a system to its stakeholders. An architecture description shall document how a certain design satisfies stakeholder requirements or even stakeholder needs. The architecture description supports an architect in communication with stakeholders about the system of interest. It documents both, rationales and architecture decisions. Both may result from the architecture assessments (see Chapter 18). Therefore, an architecture description needs at least to address stakeholders that are relevant for the success of the system.

The architecture starts to exist with the initial design hypothesis while analyzing and validating stakeholder requirements. As mentioned in Chapter 4, the base architecture may be imposed by the concept of operation (ConOps)1 of the company, describing how the company intends to make money. Such imposed architecture is often not explicitly described. Often such architecture appears to the involved parties as obvious as it is not worth to spend effort for a more explicit description of the architecture or decisions that lead to that design. This is not necessarily wrong and may be economically justified. Though, with no tangible description of the architecture, the related rationales and principles that lead to the solution are probably not clear to each relevant stakeholder. The absence of an ...

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