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Architectural Decisions: The State of Affairs and the Way Forward

May 2013 Presentation
Olaf Zimmermann

Notes from a Birds of a Feather session from SATURN 2013, held April 29 - May 3, 2013, in Minneapolis, MN.


Software Engineering Institute



Architectural decisions have been on the radar of practitioners and researchers since the early days of software architecture. The inability to capture and share architectural decisions often results in wasted effort and ineffective use of development resources. In recent years, a number of decision-capturing templates have been proposed and model-driven tools have been released. The 2011 edition of ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010 advises us to provide evidence of consideration of alternatives and the rationale for the choices made. However, this is easier said than done. In practice, busy schedules and project dynamics often cause decision capturing to be sidelined; documentation artifacts become obsolete quickly. There is hope, though. Lightweight decision-capturing approaches have been presented at previous SATURN Conferences, and success with knowledge reuse has been reported.