03
Mar
09

Architecture Evaluation using ATAM

Those who work as a Software Architect have already been tasked with something like:

“We need to develop an Web application with a huge aptitude to scale horizontally and also able to conform with tight response times”

If you are really an architect, you’ll start to make up the architecture either in your mind, on an UML tool or even on a simple paper. It is as easy as it was coded on you, by heart you start to scratch how the solution would look like and in the end it’ll probably meet all the functional and non-functional requirements you had been told.
This works in this scenario but imagine if now, instead of coming up with a proposal of an architecture you are tasked to evaluate someone else architecture.
This is the scenario where ATAM is the way to go. It was designed as a sucessor of Software Architecture Analysis Method (SAAM). ATAM is also already a very accepted methodology.

ATAM authors define it as:

“The purpose of the ATAM is to assess the on sequences of architectural decisions in light of quality attribute requirements.”

ATAM is based on meetings with key stakeholders from diferent areas. During these meetings key quality attributes (QA) are formalized for the architecture and are later detailed, they are also further prioritized in relation to the importance of each QA and also the risk of not having this QA complete.

The last step is the generation of a report containing (mainly):

  • Risks and Non-risks
  • Sensitivity and Tradeoff Points

If you have alredy this need, give a look on ATAM. I’ll try to post some insights on how to apply it on the next few weeks.

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