Software Architecture is the organizational structure of a system. Architecture can be recursively decomposed into parts that interact through interfaces, relationships that connect parts and constraints for assembling parts. Parts that interact through interfaces include classes, components and subsystems. Whether software architecture plays any role to satisfy the non-functional requirements? Justify your answer with strong arguments.
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page 120 of handouts, 8.4 Architecture attributes may helpful in this GDB
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The first part of the role is about managing the non-functional requirements. Software projects often get caught up on asking users what features they want, but rarely ask them what non-functional requirements (or system qualities) that they need. Sometimes the stakeholders will tell us that "the system must be fast", but that's far too subjective. Non-functional requirements need to be specific, measurable, achievable and testable if we are going to satisfy them, plus we need to make sure that all of the important non-functional requirements are taken into account. This includes the common runtime characteristics such performance, scalability, availability and security through to the non-runtime characteristics such as audit, extensibility, internationalisation and localisation. Somebody needs to help the stakeholders refine the non-functional requirements, define them and challenge them when appropriate. After all, how many systems have you seen that genuinely need to be operational 24x7? Since most of the non-functional requirements are technical in nature, they often have a huge influence on the software architecture and the resulting solution needs to take them into account. For this reason alone, it makes sense that the software architect takes this on as a part of their role. Ultimately, the software architect needs to understand what it is they are building.
Even with the best architecture and leadership in the world, poor delivery can cause an otherwise successful project to fail. Quality assurance is a large part of an architect's role, but it's more than just doing code reviews. For example, you need a baseline to assure against, and this means the introduction of standards and working practices. From a software development perspective, these could include coding standards, design principles and source code analysis tools through to the use of continuous integration, automated unit testing and code coverage tools. It's safe to say that most projects don't do enough quality assurance, and therefore you need to figure out what's important and make sure that it's sufficiently assured. For me, the important parts of a project are anything that is architecturally significant, business critical, complex or highly visible. You just need to be pragmatic and realise that you can't necessarily assureeverything.
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