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the component interactions and interfaces

The user requirements’ specification should be a joint product of the user and designer: the user brings his needs and wish list, the architect brings knowledge of what is likely to prove doable within cost, time and other constraints. When the user needs are translated into a set of high level requirements is also the best time to write the first version of the acceptance test, which should, thereafter, be religiously kept up to date with the requirements. That way, the user will be absolutely clear about what s/he is getting. It is also a safeguard against untestable requirements, misunderstandings, and requirements creep.

The development of the first level of engineering requirements is not a purely analytical exercise and should also involve both the architect and engineer. If any compromises are to be made— to meet constraints- the architect must ensure that the final product and overall look and feel do not stray very far from the user’s intent. The engineer should focus on developing a design that optimizes the constraints but ensures a workable and reliable product. The provision of needed services to the user is the true function of an engineered system. However, as systems become ever larger and more complex, and as their emphases move away from simple hardware and software components, the narrow application of traditional systems development principles has been found to be insufficient— the application of more general principles of systems, hardware, and software architecture to the design of (sub)systems is seen to be needed. An architecture may also be seen as a simplified model of the finished end product— its primary function is to define the parts and their relationships to each other so that the whole can be seen to be a consistent, complete, and correct representation of what the user had in mind— especially for the computer-human-interface. It is also used to ensure that the parts fit together and relate in the desired way.