Making Architectural Knowledge Sustainable

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 08:30
University of Lugano, room SI-006, Informatics building (Via G. Buffi 13)

Industrial software solutions such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems for power grids are complex systems with advanced quality requirements. Domain-specific design challenges include multi-decade life cycles of managed devices, advanced security regulations, and real-time requirements. Moreover, domain-specific software solutions have to be integrated with general-purpose ones, e.g., asset-management packages and web portals. ABB Corporate Research supports product development units in applying novel software technologies and software engineering methods effectively, striving for products that are attractive to customers and efficient to operate; this presentation shares lessons learned from such initiatives. For instance, we introduce a software sustainability guide that profiles and packages a set of proven practices, including requirements elicitation with multi-level use cases and quality attribute workshops, lightweight approaches to architecture documentation and evaluation, and state-of-the-art testing methods. Finally, we discuss how architectural knowledge management, e.g., sharing design-decision rationale, can be combined with existing practices to further improve project collaboration.

Olaf Zimmermann is a senior principal scientist at ABB Corporate Research in Switzerland. His areas of interest include Web-based application and integration architectures, SOA design, and architectural knowledge management. Until January 2012, Olaf was a research staff member and executive IT architect at IBM Research, investigating the role of architectural decisions in the design process. Prior to that, Olaf worked as a solution architect and consultant, helping international clients in multiple industries build enterprise-scale SOA/Web services and Java Enterprise Edition solutions on professional services projects. In the beginning of his career, Olaf was a scientific consultant and developer in the IBM European Networking Center (ENC) in Heidelberg, Germany, focusing on industry-specific middleware frameworks for systems and network management. Olaf is a certified Open Group Distinguished (Chief/Lead) IT Architect and a member of the Advisory Board of IEEE Software. He is an author of Perspectives on Web Services (Springer, 2003) and contributed to IBM Redbooks including the first one on Eclipse and Web services (2001). Olaf received a PhD in computer science from the University of Stuttgart in 2009 and a “Diplom-Informatiker” (=MS) degree in Computer Science from the Technical University in Braunschweig (1993).