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
Awarding Institution
  • University of South Wales
SupervisorJennifer Law (Supervisor) & Catherine Farrell (Supervisor)

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