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Integrating the Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method (ATAM) with the Cost Benefit Analysis Method (CBAM)

December 2003 Technical Note
Robert Nord, Mario R. Barbacci, Paul C. Clements, Rick Kazman, Mark H. Klein, Liam O'Brien, James E. Tomayko

This technical note reports on a proposal to integrate the SEI ATAM (Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method) and the CBAM (Cost Benefit Analysis Method).


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The Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Initiative at the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI) has developed a number of architecture-centric methods currently in use including the SEI Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method (ATAM), the SEI Quality Attribute Workshop (QAW), the SEI Cost Benefit Analysis Method (CBAM), SEI Active Reviews for Intermediate Designs (ARID), and the SEI Attribute-Driven Design (ADD) method. Building on our success in developing and piloting a collection of software architecture methods, we're now focusing on integrating them, and building the bridges between them and the processes and architecture efforts outside the SEI, all the while continuing to refine existing methods and models. 

This technical note reports on a proposal to integrate the SEI ATAM and SEI CBAM. The ATAM provides software architects with a framework for understanding the technical tradeoffs and risks they face as they make design decisions, but it does not provide any guidance for understanding economic tradeoffs. The CBAM helps software architects consider the return on investment of any architectural decision and provides guidance on the economic tradeoffs involved. The CBAM takes the architectural decision analysis done during the ATAM and helps make it part of a strategic roadmap for software design and evolution by associating priorities, costs, and benefits with architectural decisions.