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The Impact of Conducting ATAM Evaluations on Army Programs (SATURN 2009)

April 2009 Presentation
John K. Bergey, Stephen Blanchette, Jr., Mark H. Klein, Robert Nord

This presentation describes the results of a study of the impact of software architecture practices conducted with Army programs.

Publisher:

Software Engineering Institute

Abstract

The Army Strategic Software Improvement Program (ASSIP) is a multiyear effort targeted at dramatically improving the way in which the Army acquires software-intensive systems.  It is predicated on the idea that better acquisition practices will lead to better systems and overall results. During the past five years, the Army has funded a number of programs, in conjunction with the Software Engineering Institute, to conduct software architecture evaluations using the Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method® (ATAM®).  During the same period, several other programs funded their own ATAM evaluations.  With the Army taking a leadership role among the U.S. armed services in applying architecture practices to its programs, it seemed natural to inquire about the value received.

This presentation describes the results of a study of the impact of software architecture practices conducted with Army programs.  All twelve programs that employed the ATAM responded to a questionnaire that addressed the impact of conducting the ATAM, follow-on ATAM activities, adoption of the ATAM as part of program practices, and the overall value of the engagement.

The majority of respondents to the survey indicated they received some measure of value from the ATAM evaluation conducted for their programs. Exact quantification of that value in terms of dollars is difficult because the focus of the ATAM is risk reduction, which is a cost avoidance. However, by gauging respondents' views and actions throughout the ATAM engagement, a picture of overall estimated value begins to emerge. The presenters will show how the findings benefit the broader software
architecture community and will provide their recommendations for collecting data and assessing impact for future ATAMs conducted in any context.