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Carnegie Mellon University | Software Engineering Institute


Watts S. Humphrey

Software Quality Award

Nomination Deadline: September 1, 2022

The IEEE Computer Society and the Software Engineering Institute recognize outstanding achievements in improving the ability of a target organization to create and evolve software-dependent systems.

The IEEE CS/SEI Watts S. Humphrey Software Quality Award is named for Watts S. Humphrey, known as the "Father of Software Quality." Humphrey, following a long career with IBM, served at the SEI from 1986 until his death in 2010. He dedicated the majority of his career to addressing problems in software development including software quality, programmer motivation and commitment, team process discipline, and how organizations can best support these. During Humphrey's tenure at the SEI, characteristics of best practices at the individual, team, and organizational levels were identified that laid the groundwork for the Personal Software Process, the Team Software Process, the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) for Software and, eventually, CMM Integration (CMMI). In 2005, Humphrey received the National Medal of Technology for his work in software engineering.

Award Nominations

Nominations are now closed for the 2023 IEEE Computer Society / Software Engineering Institute Watts S. Humphrey Software Quality Award. Since 1994, the SEI and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society have cosponsored the award, which recognizes outstanding achievements in improving an organization's ability to create and evolve high-quality software-dependent systems.

Questions should be directed to the Humphrey Award Coordinator.


The Humphrey Award nominee's productivity improvement must, to an exceptional degree, be significant, measured, sustained, and shared.

To be significant, the work must have a demonstrated impact on the target organizations' software engineering results (e.g., productivity increases, defect density for software reaching integration and test decreases, or rework percentage decreases, and by how much). It should also consider, as pertinent, the impact on the target organizations' management, workforce, and system development and maintenance processes (e.g., cycle time to address emergency tickets decreases and percentage of tickets correctly fixed on first try increases, and by how much).

Recognition by the IEEE Computer Society and the SEI

The award will be announced and recognized by both the IEEE Computer Society and the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), and recipients will receive an engraved, commemorative plaque. Recipients will also be required to produce an SEI technical report describing their accomplishments, which will be published on the SEI's website.

The award may be presented to an individual or a group.

Recipients are most often employees of the target organization. If not, recipients may work for an organization that provided software engineering process improvement benefits to the target organization. For example, the recipient organization may be an organization that provides services related to software engineering process improvement to the target organization, or it may be an association that supports activities related to software engineering process improvement that benefit one or more target organizations. The target organization may be for-profit, not-for-profit, or non-profit; may be an industrial, academic, or government organization or foundation; and need not be based in the United States.

The achievements being recognized can be the result of any type of process improvement activity.

In particular, they need not be based on a specific framework, model, or body of software engineering principles, practices, techniques, or methods.

The award nomination may be submitted by a group, or nominees may nominate themselves.

Award nominations must be seconded by a senior executive of the organization in which the nominated individual or group works and supported by a 12-page nomination package.

Congratulations to Our 2020 Winner

Congratulations to our 2020 recipient, Rajendra Prasad of Accenture!

Learn more about RP’s work at Accenture and see his biography and profile video on the IEEE Computer Society site.

Read the SEI Technical Report Accenture: An Automation Maturity Journey. This paper describes work in the area of automation that netted RP and Accenture the 2020 Watts Humphrey Software Process Achievement Award.

Listen to the podcast A Discussion on Automation with Watts Humphrey Award Winner Rajendra Prasad.