Attribute Hierarchy-based Evaluation of Architectural Designs (AHEAD)

Q. He, E. Kielczewski, and K. Smiley (USA)


Software requirements, architectures, methodologies, technology evaluation


Technology evaluations can present significant challenges in software engineering practice. In this paper, we describe an industrial case study, in which we formulated and applied the Attribute Hierarchy-based Evaluation of Architectural Designs (AHEAD) method for selecting a software technology to form the basis for the next generation architecture of a large commercial product. AHEAD leverages the Software Engineering Institute’s Attribute-Driven Design (ADD) method and the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) for evaluating software technologies that have important architectural impact. It provides high-level guidance for software practitioners to elicit and prioritize architectural requirements, develop prototypes implementing prioritized requirements, and quantitatively evaluate the technology options based on prototype results. We found that using the AHEAD method brought greater objectivity to the prioritization of the architectural requirements and to the technical judgments of the software technology options.

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