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Using Stakeholder Preferences to Make Better Architecture Decisions

Conference Paper
This paper describes a method to collect stakeholder preferences about architecture options and uses automated optimization to identify important architecture decisions.

Software Engineering Institute


This paper was presented at the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture Workshops at Gothenburg, Sweden, in April 2017. It appears in the Proceedings of the International Workshop on Decision Making in Software ARCHitecture (MARCH'17).

A roadmap to modernize the architecture of an existing system must satisfy many strongly positioned stakeholders and satisfy the constraints of continuing business operations as the plan is implemented. Our previous work reported on a method to engage with stakeholders to model architecture options for a modernization roadmap. These models have proven to be too large to analyze all options manually: Ad hoc approaches must be employed to prune the space of possible solutions, which risks dropping optimal solutions. We report here on a method that efficiently collects stakeholder preferences about architecture options and uses an automated, search-based optimization approach over the full solution space to identify the most important architecture decisions, that is, the decisions that have the most influence on stakeholder satisfaction.