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Rapid ArchiTecture Evaluation (RATE)

: Knodel, Jens

Kaiserslautern, 2011, 90 pp.
IESE-Report, 105.11/E
Reportnr.: 105.11/E
Fraunhofer IESE ()
assessment; software architecture; software evolution; architecture evaluation; architecture compliance checking; SAVE

Rapid Architecture Evaluation (RATE) - Taking the right decisions is integral part of any successful software development and evolution. Decision making requires to efficiently and effectively evaluate risks and their potential impacts on the software system. Such evaluations have to consider qualitative characteristics and the internal structure of the software - information the architecture provides even for very large, heterogeneous and complex software systems. Hence, critical questions occurring in all lifecycle phases (e.g., appropriate technologies, subcontractor selection, whether to restructuring or not, or quality assurance activities) and sound decision making are mostly architecture-centric.
This tutorial presents RATE (Rapid ArchiTecture Evaluation) - an architecture-centric evaluation method delivering valuable input to decision making. Examples, experiences and lessons learned from more than 20 architecture evaluation projects illustrate the principles underlying the method. Critical stakeholder concerns serve as input and drive the goal-oriented evaluation of the architectural solutions relevant to the concerns. The architecture-centric evaluation manages fast delivery of confidence and trust into the solutions and delivers results rapidly. The evaluation results provide input to decision making, serve to mitigate risks, and, of course, improve the architecture of the software system.
The tutorial shows that architecture evaluation results can be achieved rapidly with limited effort, provide fast feedback to stakeholder concerns, and are crucial for decision-making in Software development and evolution. Examples from industrial projects world-wide give evidence how architecture-centric evaluation establishes a sound basis for decision making.