An Exploration of the Application of Software Architecture Evaluation Techniques to the domain of Service Design

  • Simon Field

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis presents an exploration of the potential application of software
    architecture evaluation techniques to the domain of service design. The domain
    of software architecture and the evolution of software architecture evaluation
    techniques are explored, and compared with the emerging domain of service
    design. Similarities between the two domains lead to the notion of 'Service
    Architecture', and a novel method for conducting ex-ante evaluations of
    competing service designs, the Service Architecture Review Method is
    presented. It is derived from Architecture Trade-off Analysis Method from the
    Software Engineering Institute, with a quality model that has been adapted to
    describe service quality, and incorporating a stakeholder model to cater for the
    varied stakeholder perspectives often involved in services. A software tool to
    support the participants in the method's evaluation workshops is described.

    A case study, representing the first use of this proposed method in a service
    design project at the UK Border Agency, is presented. Participants in the
    method's workshops were subsequently interviewed, and learnings from the
    case study are presented and discussed. The experience of the case study led
    to some improvements to the method, which is described in the form of a 'User
    Guide' in this thesis, as one of this research project's significant contributions to
    practice. The thesis presents a number of contributions to theory in addition to
    the above-mentioned concept of 'Service Architecture'. These include the use
    of a service quality model and a stakeholder model in the evaluation method,
    and the use of this resulting method for evaluation in a service design project,
    and as an enhanced method for evaluating competing software architectures.

    Future research avenues are proposed, addressing some of the limitations of
    the research presented in this thesis related to the wider applicability of the
    method beyond the case study presented here, and possible further refinement
    of the method itself. Potential to transfer other learnings from the domain of
    software architecture to service design is also discussed and the thesis
    concludes with a discussion of the significance of these contributions to the
    maturing domain of service design.
    Date of Award17 Oct 2017
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJennifer Law (Supervisor) & Catherine Farrell (Supervisor)

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