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Workshop: The Value of Sofware Architecture

Friday, 22nd February, 09:00 – 12:30

This workshop will discuss and propose alternatives to measure software architecture complexity based on quality attributes as non-functional requirements such as performance, reliability, and modifiability.

Popular software complexity estimates, like function-points, are focused on the functionality and do not pay enough attention to complexity imposed to fulfill the severe quality requirements of some modern projects.

The participants will be encouraged to analyse different implications of architecture and quality attributes on software development efforts and risks.

The goal of this workshop is to produce insights to encourage further research and future methods that consider quality attributes on software complexity metrics.

Call for Participation

Expected Audience: Software Architects, Software Engineers, Researches and Students

Objective: Discuss software architecture complexity aspects in terms of metrics and start organizing the requirements for building an estimation model in order to help predicting and measuring the value of software architecture

In order to start and enrich our discussions, we will have a presentation of Mr. Mohamad Kassab from Concordia University, Montreal, of his paper on "Non-Functional Requirements Size Measurement Method (NFSM) with COSMIC-FFP":

Abstract: Non-functional requirements (NFRs) of software systems are an important source of uncertainty in effort estimation. The need to deal comprehensively with the effect of NFRs on the effort of building the software project generates the need to measure their functional size, as effort is a function of size. In this presentation, the use of the COSMIC-FFP functional size measurement method is proposed to quantify the size of NFR in a software project. The NFR framework is chosen as a vehicle to apply the quantitative assessment approach. Our analysis of the applicability and the limitations of the approach and some suggestions for future work will be discussed as well.

The workshop proposal is to divide attendees in six groups of discussions, with the following subjects.

Subject 1: Cost Models

Estimates using one or more techniques:

These techniques are not adequate to measure the architectural complexity in aspects like: security, scalability, usability, changeability

Subject 2: Translating QAs into functionality

Architectural Design:

Subject 3: Architectures, Quality Attributes and ROI

Subject 4: Risks and uncertainty

Architecture Value = fplus (BP, Functionality, Architecture Benefit, Managed Risks, Handled Uncertanties) - fminus(Architecture Cost, Unhandled Risks)

Subject 5: Metrics to define mitigation actions over risks and uncertainties

PMBOK: risk response planning + risk monitoring and control

Complexity Metrics = f (management man hours) + g (ATAM scenarios) + h (Quality attributes)

Subject 6: Knowledge Database

Knowledge database should keep:

Questions to stimulate discussion:

  1. What do Function Point, COSMIC and COCOMO not measure? Can cost models help us place a value on architecture? - Quality Point/Scenario Based Point?
  2. Software systems quality attributes are realized as a result of tradeoff decisions. How do we identify Quality Attributes and Tradeoff requirements and increase the value of software architecture? (ATAM/QAW)
  3. Architectures deliver quality attributes such as performance, reliability, modifiability, etc. What is the cost or benefit of these?
  4. How do we identify uncertainty points that can reduce the value of software architecture? (Formalize risks and uncertainties)
  5. Which metrics can be used to define mitigation actions upon software architecture uncertainties?
  6. The existence of a project knowledge database is very critical to support an estimation model creation. Which information is critical to be collected from the projects? Which kinds of analysis are relevant for software architecture complexity estimation and value analysis?


Marcos Aurelio Pedroso and Sérgio Almeida Dias (Labmed - Software Architecture Measure Laboratory, Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas do IPT - Mestrado Profissional and Engenharia de Computação da Escola Politécnica da Universidade de São Paulo)

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