Adoption of Software Engineering Innovations in Organizations
April 1989 • Technical Report
This 1989 paper examines the adoption of five software engineering innovations of varying degrees of maturity, abstractness, and target users.
Software Engineering Institute
CMU/SEI Report Number
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):10.1184/R1/6571835.v1
Designing effective strategies to facilitate the adoption of new software engineering technologies is a complex endeavor. This document describes the experiences of organizations in the defense industry that have considered and in many cases adopted any one of five software engineering technologies: structured programming, program design languages, software cost models, complexity metrics, and ADA. In all, 296 respondents participated in the entire study. These respondents represented approximately 120 business units within approximately 75 defense contractor organizations. Data were collected using a structured survey instrument administered over the telephone.
This report examines the motivations behind technology acquisition and adoption decisions, the use of various technology transfer mechanisms during the stages of the adoption process, and the relationship between technology transfer mechanisms and the timing, pass through, and smoothness of adoption process stages. Adoption is assumed to be a multi-stage process that may proceed in a linear or non-linear fashion. Also explored is the relationship between managerial level of the advocate (i.e., top management, middle management, technical management, and broad-based support) and the speed and smoothness of technology acquisition and adoption.
Analysis of data supports the notion that organizations and change agents (e.g., the Department of Defense) should carefully tailor transition mechanisms and the choice of technology advocate to the specific stage of the adoption process, rather than adopt a single strategy for the entire process. Moreover, a single adoption strategy is not applicable to all technologies. These strategies must also be tailored depending on the subtleties of the particular technology.