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This chapter is from the book

2.3 Who's Involved?

There are two groups of people involved in an architecture evaluation.

  1. Evaluation team. These are the people who will conduct the evaluation and perform the analysis. The team members and their precise roles will be defined later, but for now simply realize that they represent one of the classes of participants.

  2. Stakeholders. Stakeholders are people who have a vested interest in the architecture and the system that will be built from it. The three evaluation methods in this book all use stakeholders to articulate the specific requirements that are levied on the architecture, above and beyond the requirements that state what functionality the system is supposed to exhibit. Some, but not all, of the stakeholders will be members of the development team: coders, integrators, testers, maintainers, and so forth.

    A special kind of stakeholder is a project decision maker. These are people who are interested in the outcome of the evaluation and have the power to make decisions that affect the future of the project. They include the architect, the designers of components, and the project's management. Management will have to make decisions about how to respond to the issues raised by the evaluation. In some settings (particularly government acquisitions), the customer or sponsor may be a project decision maker as well.

    Whereas an arbitrary stakeholder says what he or she wants to be true about the architecture, a decision maker has the power to expend resources to make it true. So a project manager might say (as a stakeholder), "I would like the architecture to be reusable on a related project that I'm managing," but as a decision maker he or she might say, "I see that the changes you've identified as necessary to reuse this architecture on my other project are too expensive, and I won't pay for them." Another difference is that a project decision maker has the power to speak authoritatively for the project, and some of the steps of the ATAM method, for example, ask them to do precisely that. A garden-variety stakeholder, on the other hand, can only hope to influence (but not control) the project. For more on stakeholders, see the sidebar Stakeholders on page 63 in Chapter 3.

The client for an architecture evaluation will usually be a project decision maker, with a vested interest in the outcome of the evaluation and holding some power over the project.

Sometimes the evaluation team is drawn from the project staff, in which case they are also stakeholders. This is not recommended because they will lack the objectivity to view the architecture in a dispassionate way.

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