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The aim of this document is to enable architecture evaluations that are used to:
a) validate that architectures address the concerns of stakeholders;
b) assess the quality of architectures with respect to their intended purpose;
c) assess the value of architectures to their stakeholders;
d) determine whether architecture entities address their intended purpose;
e) provide knowledge and information about architecture entities;
f) assess progress towards achieving architecture objectives;
g) clarify understanding of problem space and of stakeholder needs and expectations;
h) identify risks and opportunities associated with architectures; and
i) support decision making where architectures are involved.
NOTE This document addresses the evaluation of an architecture and not an evaluation of the architecture description's suitability. Matters concerning the evaluation of the architecture description fall within the scope of the architecture conceptualization and architecture elaboration processes as defined in ISO/IEC/IEEE 42020. However, it is sometimes the case that the architecture description is evaluated concurrently with the evaluation of the architecture itself.
The entity being evaluated can be of several kinds, as illustrated in the following examples: enterprise, organization, solution, system, subsystem, business, data (as a data element or data structure), application, information technology (as a collection), mission, product, service, software item, hardware item, etc. The kind of entity can also be a product line, family of systems, system of systems, etc. It also spans the variety of applications that utilize digital technology such as mobile, cloud, big data, robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), web, desktop, embedded systems, and so on.
The generic Architecture Evaluation (AE) framework specified in this document can be used in support of the Architecture Evaluation process defined in ISO/IEC/IEEE 42020. Specific frameworks can be derived from this generic framework, which can provide a mapping to the system life cycle processes in ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 or to the software life cycle processes in ISO/IEC/IEEE 12207.