Watts S. Humphrey
Software Process Achievement Award

Nominate an Individual or Group

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 Watts S. Humphrey Software Process Achievement Award (SPA 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.

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).

To be measured, the work must include the collection of data used to guide the work and clearly demonstrate its impact. Concrete software engineering process improvement goals, factors, and metrics must be defined. The work must involve assessing the cause-and-effect relationship between changes (e.g., to the organization’s processes, training, and tools) and their impact (to reduce defect density, reduce cycle time, or increase productivity).

To be sustained, the work must lead to a continuing impact on the target organizations' software engineering activities. In particular, the work should result in well-documented support (e.g., in the form of coaching, training, tools, measures, and obtaining feedback on changes) for effective process performance and continuous software engineering process improvement.

To be shared, the insights, experiences, and proven practices stemming from the work must have been made available beyond the target organizations. This could, for example, be to other parts of larger organizations within which the target organizations are subunits. It could, additionally or alternatively, be throughout software engineering process improvement communities in which the nominee and target organizations participate.

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). Recipients will receive an engraved, commemorative plaque at a conference in which they present their accomplishments. Recipients will also be required to produce an SEI technical report describing their accomplishments.

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.

Humphrey Award Selection Subcommittee Members

Julia Mullaney, Software Engineering Institute

Vice Chair
Gerd Hoefner, Siemens Technology India

Voting Members
Jens Heidrich, Fraunhofer IESE
Gerd Hoefner, Siemens Technology India
Neal Mackertich, Raytheon Company
Ramakrishnan Muthuraman, Retired from Infosys Limited Bangalore
Clas Neumann, SAP Labs Network
Ed Weller, Integrated Productivity Solutions, LLC

Non-Voting Members
Mike Konrad, Software Engineering Institute
Dieter Rombach, Fraunhofer IESE

Humphrey Award Coordinator
Michele Falce, Software Engineering Institute


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