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SEI Virtual Event Showcases Value of System Quality Attributes


January 30, 2013—On January 16, 2013, senior researchers from the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) hosted "Architecting in a Complex World." The live, three-hour virtual event attracted more than 1,000 registered participants from 60 countries. The SEI researchers explored ways to overcome challenging aspects of complexity, such as distributed development and extended system life, that affect system and system-of-systems development. Their presentations drew from several years of SEI experience that confirm the importance of quality attributes to system success. The SEI has made the event's keynote talk and three webinars available for on-demand viewing at

"Quality attributes are first-class citizens in understanding how we're going to meet the business and mission goals for a particular system," Linda Northrop, SEI Fellow and director of the Research, Technology, and System Solutions Program, told event attendees in an opening keynote talk. "Our work is explicitly focused on quality attributes because we understand how important . . . their characterization, their fulfillment, is to success with a software development effort," Northrop said.

Early Life-cycle, Scenario-based Approach

While software development organizations typically do a good job in eliciting functional requirements, they do a "bad job" eliciting quality attribute requirements, Rob Wojcik said in his webinar. As a remedy, he introduced the Quality Attribute Workshop (QAW), which leads stakeholders to agree on scenarios that represent the system's quality attribute requirements.