The Army Strategic Software Improvement Program (ASSIP) is a multiyear effort targeted at improving the way in which the Army acquires software-intensive systems. The ASSIP has funded a number of programs, in conjunction with the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI), to conduct software architecture evaluations using the Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method (ATAM). Additionally, in cases when a system's architecture did not exist or was not ready to evaluate, the ASSIP sponsored Quality Attribute Workshops (QAWs). During the period of this effort, several other programs funded their own ATAM evaluations and QAWs. The goal of this study was to determine the benefits associated with using the ATAM and QAW.
This special report describes the results of a study of the impact that the ATAM evaluations and QAWs had on Army programs. All 12 programs that used the ATAM and/or QAW responded to a questionnaire whose objective was to determine the impact of the experience in terms of the quality of the system, the practices of the involved program office, stakeholders, and suppliers, and the overall value of the engagement.
The data gathered confirms that the use of ATAM-based architecture evaluations and QAWs are generally beneficial to system acquisitions and suggests that maximal benefit is achievable only if architecture-centric practices are built into the acquisition process.