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Carnegie Mellon University | Software Engineering Institute


Watts S. Humphrey

Software Quality Award

Nomination Period Begins: January 1, 2024

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.

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.

Award Nominations

Nominations for the 2024 IEEE Computer Society / Software Engineering Institute Watts S. Humphrey Software Quality Award closed without a winner being named. This decision was made by the 2024 award subcommittee and was approved by both the SEI and IEEE CS.

The 2025 nomination period opened on January 1, 2024 and its deadline is September 1, 2024.

Questions should be directed to the Humphrey Award Coordinator.

Congratulations to Our 2023 Winner

Congratulations to our 2023 recipient, Advanced Information Services (AIS) Division of Ishpi Information Technologies, Inc. (ISHPI)!

"The first of Deming’s 14 key points for management is constancy of purpose, and I don’t know an organization that embodies that principle better than ISHPI,” said Julia Mullaney, chair of the award selection committee. “They began their software quality improvement effort in the early 1990s, working directly with Watts Humphrey. It’s one thing to set a goal, and it’s another to achieve that goal and then maintain that level of excellence over decades. We are so excited to acknowledge these decades of dedication with this award.”

2023 IEEE Computer Society/SEI Watts S. Humphrey Software Quality Award Winner; James L. Diggs, Stephen Shook, and Barti Perini of ISHPI. Photo: ISHPI

James L. Diggs, Stephen Shook, and Barti Perini of ISHPI. Photo: ISHPI

Learn more about the 2023 IEEE Computer Society/SEI Watts S. Humphrey Software Quality Award winner.

Read the technical report Software Excellence Through the Agile High Velocity DevelopmentSM Process or watch the video on YouTube.


The Humphrey Award nominee's quality 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 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 usually employees of the target organization. Recipients may also work for an organization that provided software engineering quality improvement benefits to the target organization. For example, the recipient organization may be an organization that provides services related to software engineering quality improvement to the target organization, or it may be an association that supports activities related to software engineering quality 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 quality 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 must be supported by a 12-page nomination package.