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How to Conduct a Contextually-Driven Systems Architecture Review (SATURN 2009)

May 2009 Presentation
Michael F. Dedolph

Presentation given at SATURN 2009, which took place in Pittsburgh, PA on May 4-7, 2009.


Software Engineering Institute



When the World Trade Center collapsed, switching systems in the basement correctly diagnosed which lines were still working, and continued to connect calls using backup power for several days. One factor contributing to this remarkable product reliability was the Bell Labs practice of early architecture reviews.

The Software Engineering Institute Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method (ATAM) provides a standardized technique for evaluating software architecture. The review method presented here provides an alternative (and complementary) approach to architecture reviews that can be flexibly tailored based on the context for many kinds of systems, and used in any problem domain.

In this session, the presenter will

  • provide a simple model for defining and categorizing systems architecture that is representationally independent
  • describe how to conduct an architecture review, using methods based on Bell Labs Systems Architecture Review Board (SARB) process
  • discuss how the SARB methods can complement and supplement ATAM reviews