In the 70s scientists noted that people who had hookworms did not have allergies and asthma. Yuck – who wants hookworms? Well do you want asthma instead ? Nature is all about trade offs. The obvious symbiosis is the result of intricate trade offs at every level. This logic applies in various domains including Software Architecture. An analysis of the architecturally significant trade offs is essential to objectively understanding any complex system relative to risk themes.
Comprehensively analyzing software architectures can be simplified by working along significant attributes. ATAM (Architecture Trade off and Analysis Method) from SEI was developed by Carnegie Mellon University. Between 2006-2009 I visited Carnegie Mellon and took several courses and got myself certified as a Software Architect. The primary benefit was to gain an appreciation of trade-off analysis based on specific attributes across facets of architecture.
It is another tool in the strategic and objective thinking toolbox that every enterprise architect needs. For more information: http://www.sei.cmu.edu/architecture/tools/evaluate/atam.cfm