- Issue: Describe the issue to be discussed by the rationale.
- Alternatives: List the alternatives. Include only
realistic alternatives. Do not include a "strawman" alternative.
A strawman alternative is an unrealistic alternative that is introduced
only for the sake of the rationale and is very easily dismissed.
- Criteria: These are the constraints and metrics that
allow one to distinguish the alternatives from one another. A constraint
is a criterion that must be satisfied. A metric is a quantitative
measurement that allows the alternatives to be compared. The
default and most commonly used metric is the cost.
- Arguments: The alternatives are evaluated with respect
to the criteria. This can be an elaborate argument if the
alternatives compare differently in different cases. For example,
different phases of a project.
- Decision: State the alternative that was determined
to be the best with respect to the criteria.