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Efficient architecture work involves balancing the degree of architectural documentation with attention to needs, costs, agility and other factors. This paper presents a method for prioritizing architectural concerns in the presence of heterogeneous stakeholder groups in large organizations that need to evolve existing architecture. The method involves enquiry, analysis, and deliberation using collaborative and analytical techniques. Method outcomes are action principles directed to managers and improvement advice directed to architects along with evidence for recommendations made. The method results from 3 years of action research at Ericsson AB with the purpose of adding missing views to architectural documentation and removing superfluous ones. It is illustrated on a case where 29 senior engineers and managers within Ericsson prioritized 37 architectural concerns areas to arrive at 8 action principles, 5 prioritized improvement areas, and 24 improvement suggestions. Feedback from the organization is that the method has been effective in prioritizing architectural concerns, that data collection and analysis is more extensive compared to traditional prioritization practices, but that extensive analysis seems inevitable in architecture improvement work.
Date of Conference: 20-24 June 2011