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A Life-Cycle View of Architecture Analysis and Design Methods

September 2003 Technical Note
Rick Kazman, Robert Nord, Mark H. Klein

This report examines the architecture-centric analysis and design methods that were created at the SEI between 1993 and 2003.


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number


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Many architecture-centric analysis and design methods have been created in the past 10 years at the Software Engineering Institute, beginning with the Software Architecture Analysis Method (SAAM). The SAAM inspired the creation of other methods, namely the Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method, the Quality Attribute Workshop, the Cost-Benefit Analysis Method, Active Reviews for Intermediate Designs, and the Attribute-Driven Design method.

As these methods become more widespread, more widely adopted, and integrated into the software development life cycle, organizations inevitably will want to tailor them. Consequently, organizations that wish to include quality-attribute-based requirements, explicit architecture design, and architecture analysis in their software development life cycles will be best served if they can do so "organically." The steps and artifacts of the five methods listed above, therefore, may require tailoring, blending, and, in some cases, removal when integrated into an existing life cycle.  

This report examines these methods and activities to understand their commonalities and relationships to life-cycle changes, and proposes a means of tailoring the activities so that they can fit more easily into existing life-cycle models.