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Visualizing and Measuring Software Portfolio Architecture: A Power Utility Case

Robert Lagerström, Carliss Baldwin, Alan MacCormack


In this paper, we test a Design Structure Matrix (DSM) based method for visualizing and measuring software portfolio architectures. Our data is drawn from a power utility company, comprising 192 software applications with 614 dependencies between them.  We show that the architecture of this system can be classified as a “core-periphery” system, meaning it contains a single large dominant cluster of interconnected components (the “Core”) representing 40% of the system. The system has a propagation cost of 44% and architecture flow through of 93%. This case and these findings add another piece of the puzzle suggesting that the method could be effective in uncovering the hidden structure in software portfolio architectures.


Design structure matrices, Software architecture, and Software application portfolio


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