Architecture at all scales

Fifth SEI Architecture Technology
User Network Conference

May 4-7, 2009 | Radisson Greentree | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

SATURN 2009 Birds of a Feather Sessions

Birds of a Feather Sessions (BoFs) are informal gatherings for discussing of a topic of interest, often without a pre-planned agenda. To encourage networking and open discussion for SATURN attendees, we have allocated time in our agenda for several BoFs—some will be based on interests you express, others on pre-determined topics, such as the two described below.

System and SoS Architecture Evaluation - Early Identification of Inconsistencies in Addressing Quality Attributes
Facilitators: Mike Gagliardi & Bill Wood, SEI

Software-intensive systems often suffer from severe integration and operational/behavioral problems due to a lack of consistency in how the system and software architectures address system quality attributes. Those problems often result in re-architecting and redesign efforts and operational failures that significantly impact system cost, schedule, and mission effectiveness.

The effect is further exacerbated in a system-of-systems (SoS) context. Each of the major system and software elements being developed for the SoS may have its own architecture documentation; each might be built with diverse tools, use diverse notations, and be developed concurrently by different contractors. The development is usually done in a number of phases, with roughly 18 months to 2 years between them. That makes it difficult to evaluate whether the integrated systems comprising many of these elements will satisfy their functional and quality attribute requirements.

We have begun work to address the early identification of quality attribute inconsistencies within system and SoS architectures. One approach expands the scope of the existing SEI Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method® (ATAM®) into system architecture, making minor enhancements to the methodology as needed to address issues at the system level. A second approach works top down from the SoS level and involves performing a "first pass" identification of inconsistencies across the constituent systems, using existing mission threads that are augmented with quality attribute concerns.

During this BoF, we will encourage participants to share their own experiences and thoughts about system and SoS architecture evaluation in general.

Architecture Competence
Facilitator: John Klein, SEI

What does it mean for a software architect to be competent? What does it mean for an architecture team or a software development organization to have competence in architecture? How can competence be recognized, measured, and--most importantly--improved? If architecture is as important to the success of organizations building software-intensive systems as we believe it is, it stands to reason that an improvement in architecture competence can lead to a significant improvement in an organization's performance.

Competence is often defined as the ability of an individual or organization to consistently create valuable results without excessively costly behavior. This definition has the virtue of being measurable, provided we can find appropriate measures for the value of the results produced by architects.

In this BoF we will attempt to use that definition to produce measures and improvement strategies for competence--of individuals, of teams, and of organizations.

Discussion questions will include

  1. How can we measure the value of an architecture?
  2. In addition to architectures, do architects produce other "valuable results?" If so, how can we measure their value?
  3. If you were going to assess an organization's architecture competence, what would you ask? What would you measure?
  4. If you were going to assess an individual's architecture competence, what would you ask? What would you measure?

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Eoin Woods Keynote


Listen to Eoin Woods discuss the software architecture practices in the Barclays Global Investors environment.

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