The Software Engineering Institute is Carnegie Mellon’s Star

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Today’s article for my friends at DATAVERSITY covered the Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method (ATAM), a methodology for the necessary up front analysis of any software project’s architecture. I was inspired to write the article after attending a session at this year’s Enterprise Data World conference given by Robert Abate, Director of Enterprise Information Architecture at Walmart.

Abate is also a keyboard player, and sleep deprivation kept me from being able to join in on a late night jam session with him and other data industry majordomos. My loss and my digression.

In a previous professional life, I attended a conference and wrote a white paper about the Capability Maturity Model for a medical device company I was working for. The CMM (now CMMI) needed to implemented at my company if we were going to be able to bid on projects for the federal government. That company wasn’t willing to make the investment in the CMMI, couldn’t get a steady diet of project work, and dissolved a few years later.

Carnegie Mellon and the Software Engineering Institute

Both the ATAM and the CMMI were developed at Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute. Their mission is a worthy one:

Our mission is to advance software engineering and related disciplines to ensure the development and operation of systems with predictable and improved cost, schedule, and quality.

So much of today’s society depends on fail-safe software. The SEI needs to be commended for their tireless efforts in helping interested firms achieve predictable software quality. In my opinion, they are the jewel of Carnegie Mellon University.

The Software Engineering Institute needs to be part of the technology tree in Sid Meier’s Civilization.

Software Firms: Make the Investment in Quality

Both the CMMI and the ATAM are similar in that they require an investment in resources to be implemented. They need to be a core competency of any company developing software. On too many projects I’ve encountered or played a role on, mere lip service is paid to up front efforts in architectural analysis with the predictable result.

The CMMI and the ATAM are two programs that any serious software firm need to embrace. Peruse the SEI’s website and learn!


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