SWE.2 – Software Architectural Design

Involved in the challenges of Automotive SPICE, particularly the architectural design of your software related parts? Read on for a quick overview of key information on SWE.2, a key process from VDA Scope, including a video and our free white paper.

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Process ID
Process group
Software Engineering

Automotive SPICE® is a trademark of VDA QMC.

The Software Architectural Design process in Automotive SPICE® (also known as SWE.2) helps your organization structure and document the internal logic of the software product.

What is the goal of the Software architecture? The expectation is that you already have Software requirements, which describe what the software shall do. The purpose of the software architecture is to define how the functionality documented in the software requirements is going to be implemented. In short, the requirements describe the “what”, the architecture the “how”.

A lot of organizations and projects have problems understanding how to document the architecture and which elements are required.

Three aspects of the Software Architecture

  • the appropriate view
  • interfaces
  • traceability


Image   The SWE.2 process under VDA Scope
Your free white paper

Interested in finding out more about Software Architectural Design (SWE.2), the Automotive SPICE® process from VDA Scope? Our free white paper provides you with a summary of all key information, including an extract from our book on Automotive SPICE® Essentials – ideal reading for anyone new to the topic of process improvements.

Architectural views

Often, the architecture comprises of a physical view, a block diagram, of the software only. Especially in complex projects which applies to most projects nowadays, this is not enough. Surely you want a hierarchical breakdown of the software which demonstrates and explains how the functionality and non-functional requirements are going to be implemented in the different components and sub-components.

Other views are

  • dynamic views,
  • specific functional views which show a break-down of a specific feature,
  • state-flow diagrams,
  • interfaces and so on.

Typically, the more complex a system, the more different views are required.

As the different views have to be kept consistent an appropriate UML- or SysML-tool should be used. The tool will support consistency checks.

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A pitfall often encountered in assessments is the lack of detailed description of the interfaces.

Expected content of interface documentation is

  • Name
  • Type
  • Unit
  • Resolution
  • Range
  • Default-value
  • Etc.

Without this information a proper testing of the interfaces in the integration test is impossible. Again, describing these interfaces in an appropriate UML- or SysML-tool will support consistency between the different views.

Supplementing the definition in the System Requirements Analysis SYS.2, software-specific interfaces between the SW components are considered here in terms of interprocess communication mechanisms and bus communication mechanisms.


This process also requires that you ensure traceability between your Software architecture and the Software requirements.

Normally, there is a tool break between the requirements and the architecture which makes the traceability difficult.

The purpose of traceability is that it

  • supports consistency checks, i.e. checking the completeness and accuracy of the coverage of Software requirements.
  • supports the impact assessment in case of change requests or bugs.
  • supports the report of stakeholder expectations and identifies whether the requirements have been implemented in the architecture.
Nothing works without

As part of our strategy to systematically improve development processes in the automotive electronics sector, we are also an official licensee of Automotive SPICE® – a trademark of the Association of the German Automotive Industry (VDA QMC).


  • Using Automotive SPICE® to achieve the required maturity levels within your key processes in development
  • Systematically improving existing workflows and methods
  • Evaluating the status of your process improvements through formal assessments and gap analysis
  • Fulfilling the requirements of Automotive SPICE® in harmony with SECURITY,FUNCTIONAL SAFETY and AGILE METHODS
  • Training your staff and assessors

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