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Risk Themes Discovered through Architecture Evaluations

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Final rept.

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The Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method trademark ATAM trademark is a method for evaluating software architectures relative to quality attribute goals. The ATAM, which was developed by the Carnegie Mellon trademark Software Engineering Institute SEI, exposes architectural risks that potentially inhibit the achievement of an organizations business and mission goals. The SEI has been doing ATAM evaluations since 1998 and distilling the risks into risk themes since 2000. Risk themes are a summarization and consolidation of the collection of risks found during an evaluation. These themes cover continuously emerging risks that appear repeatedly in the total collection of risks, sensitivities, and tradeoffs, and they have a direct impact on the business drivers and the software architecture. Most evaluations produce an Architecture Evaluation Report as part of their output. SEI analyzed 18 final reports dated between 2000 and 2005, and this paper presents the results of that analysis. These ATAM evaluations produced 99 risk themes. Twelve of the systems are for the U.S. Department of Defense, two are for another government agency, and the other four are for commercial organizations, including Boeing. The domains involved range from information systems to embedded systems. The goal of the analysis was to find patterns in the risk themes identified during those evaluations. The major results are as follows 1 a categorization of risk themes, 2 the observation that twice as many risk themes are risks of omission as are risks of commission, 3 a failure to find a relationship between the businessmission goals of a system and the risk themes revealed during an ATAM evaluation of that system, and 4 a failure to find a relationship between the domain of a system being evaluated and the risk themes associated with the development of that system.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Computer Programming and Software

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