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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Towards improved review of software designs

  • Author(s): Freeman, Peter
  • et al.

Review of designs is one aspect of the software creation process that has been neglected. Evaluation of the quality of a design, in particular, with respect to non-operational goals, is especially difficult. Design rationalization, a methodology currently under development, is proposed as a means of improving the reviewability of software designs. Primarily, it is a technique of explicitly recording design information that may be useful for reviews. In contrast to current review standards, it stresses the importance of documenting the reasoning used to arrive at a design. The technique is explained and a scenario illustrating its use is given. The paper concludes with a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of design rationalization and a set of suggestions for implementing it in practice. The suggested approach is not guaranteed, but careful adaptation of it to particular situations should provide noticeable benefits.

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