Date of Original Version
Abstract or Description
Quality attribute workshops (QAWs) provide a method for analyzing a systems architecture against a number of critical quality attributes, such as availability, performance, security, interoperability, and modifiability, that are derived from mission or business goals. The QAW does not assume the existence of a software architecture. It was developed to complement the Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method (ATAM) in response to customer requests for a method to identify important quality attributes and clarify system requirements before there is a software architecture to which the ATAM could be applied. The analysis is based on applying a set of test cases to a system architecture. These test cases include questions and concerns elicited from stakeholders associated with the system. The process of building the test cases allows stakeholders to communicate among themselves, thereby exposing assumptions that may not have surfaced during requirements elicitation. Our experience to date includes multiple QAWs that were held with four different U.S. government acquisition programs.
This is the second edition of a technical report describing QAWs. This report clarifies the context in which a QAW is applicable, provides a rationale for developing the process and describes it in detail, and concludes with a list of lessons learned and a discussion of how these lessons have helped evolve the process to its current state.