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Introduction

Welcome to the Solution Architecture Review Method (SARM).  SARM is a formal method for conducting architecture analysis. Whilst the method has its origins in systems architecture trade-off analysis methods, SARM was developed with analysis of system and service architectures in mind. In fact its first use was to analyse alternative designs of a key element of the service for refugees seeking asylum in the UK for the UK Border Agency.

It can be used to analyse an existing architecture, with a view to identify strengths and weaknesses and developing a plan to strengthen the architecture, or to compare side-by-side competing architectural approaches to addressing a system or service need. It uses the well-understood language of risk to highlight the trade-offs inherent in any practical solution to a business need, and provides insights into the differing perspectives a project’s stakeholders might have on the solution or a set of competing candidate architectures.

IIts application prior to the implementation of a new or changed solution will help ensure that the new design best meets the complex needs of all interested parties. It gives project leaders and architects confidence in their decisions, providing clear evidence of strengths and weaknesses of different options without undermining their accountability for ultimate decisions. It also supports cost benefit analysis, and is well suited for use in the evaluation of bids for systems or services in a procurement situation. It is a great tool for supporting analysis and decisions made collectively by project teams composed of different stakeholders, it can also be used for light-weight analyses that need only take an hour or two from start to finish.

It has been used to evaluate IT architectures and service designs, and can be adapted to suit different kinds of review with the incorporation of a range of different quality models.  It has been adopted by a number of major organisations in Europe and the Gulf for conducting architecture and design reviews of both IT architectures and service designs.

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