Decision-Centric Architecture Reviews

van Heesch, Uwe; Eloranta, Veli-Pekka; Avgeriou, Paris; Koskimies, Kai; Harrison, Neil
January 2014
IEEE Software;Jan2014, Vol. 31 Issue 1, p69
Academic Journal
Architecture evaluation is an important activity in the software engineering life cycle that ensures that the architecture satisfies stakeholders' expectations. Additionally, risks and issues can be uncovered before they cause tremendous costs later in the life cycle. Unfortunately, architecture evaluation isn't regularly practiced in industry. This article presents DCAR (decision-centric architecture review), an architecture evaluation method that uses architecture decisions as first-class entities. DCAR uncovers and evaluates the rationale behind the most important architecture decisions, considering the entire context in which the decisions were made. Furthermore, it's lightweight and can be performed during or after the design is finalized. Experiences in large industrial projects have shown that full-scale DCAR evaluations, including reporting, can be conducted in fewer than five person-days, while producing satisfying results for the stakeholders.


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