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Quantifying the costs and benefits of architectural decisions

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3 Author(s)
Kazman, R. ; Software Eng. Inst., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Asundi, J. ; Klein, M.

The benefits of a software system are assessable only relative to the business goals the system has been developed to serve. In turn, these benefits result from interactions between the system's functionality and its quality attributes (such as performance, reliability and security). Its quality attributes are, in most cases, dictated by its architectural design decisions. Therefore, we argue that the software architecture is the crucial artifact to study in making design tradeoffs and in performing cost-benefit analyses. A substantial part of such an analysis is in determining the level of uncertainty with which we estimate both costs and benefits. We offer an architecture-centric approach to the economic modeling of software design decision making called CBAM (Cost Benefit Analysis Method), in which costs and benefits are traded off with system quality attributes. We present the CBAM, the early results from applying this method in a large-scale case study, and discuss the application of more sophisticated economic models to software decision making.

Published in:

Software Engineering, 2001. ICSE 2001. Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on

Date of Conference:

12-19 May 2001

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