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Making Architectural Knowledge Sustainable‹Industrial Practice Report and Outlook

May 2012 Presentation
Olaf Zimmermann (ABB Corporate Research)

Olaf Zimmermann's IEEE Software talk from SATURN 2012, May 7-11, 2012, St. Petersburg, FL.


Software Engineering Institute



Industrial software solutions such as SCADA systems for power grids are complex systems with advanced quality requirements. Domain-specific design challenges include multi-decade life cycles of managed devices, advanced security regulations, and real-time requirements. Moreover, domain-specific software solutions have to be integrated with general-purpose ones, such as asset-management packages and web portals.

ABB Corporate Research supports product development units in applying novel software technologies and software engineering methods effectively, striving for products that are attractive to customers and efficient to operate. This presentation shares lessons learned from such initiatives.

For instance, we introduce a software-sustainability guide that profiles and packages a set of proven practices, including requirements elicitation with multilevel use cases and quality attribute workshops, lightweight approaches to architecture documentation and evaluation, and  state-of-the-art testing methods. Finally, we discuss how architectural knowledge management, such as sharing design-decision rationale, can be combined with existing practices to further improve project collaboration.

Olaf Zimmermann is a senior principal scientist at ABB Corporate Research in Switzerland. His areas of interest include web-based application and integration architectures, SOA design, and architectural knowledge management. Until January 2012, Zimmerman was a research staff member and executive IT architect at IBM Research, investigating the role of architectural decisions in the design process. Before  that, he worked as a solution architect and consultant, helping international clients in multiple industries build enterprise-scale SOA/web services and Java Enterprise Edition solutions on professional services projects.

In the beginning of his career, Zimmerman was a scientific consultant and developer in the IBM European Networking Center (ENC) in Heidelberg, Germany, focusing on industry-specific middleware frameworks for systems and network management. He is a certified Open Group Distinguished (Chief/Lead) IT Architect and a member of the advisory board of IEEE Software magazine. He is an author of Perspectives on Web Services (Springer, 2003) and contributed to IBM Redbooks including the first one on Eclipse and web services (2001). Zimmerman received a PhD in computer science from the University of Stuttgart in 2009 and a ,Diplom-InformatikerŠ (MS) degree in computer science from the Technical University in Braunschweig (1993).