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An Evaluation Theory Perspective of the Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method (ATAM)

September 2000 Technical Report
Marta Lopez

This report analyzes and identifies the Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method (ATAM)'s evaluation process and criteria, as well as its data-gathering and synthesis techniques, and more.


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number



Evaluation is a key analytical process in all disciplines and intellectual and practical endeavors. Also it is a key process in the software engineering field in which it is possible to apply different types of evaluation methods. The study of diverse evaluation methods performed in software and non-software disciplines and theoretical concepts could provide knowledge of the complexity and ubiquity of this important process. This study was the basis to obtain a set of basic evaluation components. They constitute a framework which can be used to developed a new evaluation method or review an existing one with the purpose of improving the development of the method being analyzed. In particular, this framework had been applied to review the Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method (ATAM) by means of the identification of the evaluation components and the analysis of their development or elicitation. In this paper, the target, evaluation criteria, yardstick, data-gathering techniques, synthesis techniques and evaluation process of ATAM have been identified and analyzed. The most relevant conclusions are the role of stakeholders and the significance of attribute-based architectural styles (ABASs) in an ATAM evaluation.