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Model-Based System Architecture by Markus Walker, Stephan Roth, Jesko G. Lamm, Tim Weilkiens

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Chapter 18Architecture Assessment

Experienced architects have a certain kind of a gut feeling if a design is good or bad. Many of the architects' decisions must be made early in the development phase on the basis of assumptions and can, if they have been bad, bring the project to failure. It is often difficult to roll back or revise architecture decisions and their consequences. To put the important architecture decisions on a profound basis you should do an assessment of your architecture.

Architecture assessment methods assess the quality of an architecture. It is not an analysis of the architecture that could be automated and leads to a set of objective performance indicators. We recommend an architecture assessment method that is based on a structured communication process to incorporate all relevant stakeholders and viewpoints. The assessment method cannot replace the architects' decisions. It focuses on the main important aspects, incorporates stakeholders to strengthen the decisions and provides a replicable documentation of the arguments for and against the decisions.

The Architecture Tradeoff Analysis MethodSM (ATAMSM)1 developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at the Carnegie Mellon University is a common architecture assessment method in software engineering [72]. Since it does not focus on specific software technologies, it could also be applied to the systems engineering discipline (e.g., Ref. [39]). The SEI has also developed a special variant of ATAM ...

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