Nominate an Individual or Group

The SPA Award is given to individuals or groups to recognize the excellence of their work.

To nominate an individual or group, you must submit nomination material specifying the nominee, describe the nominee's software engineering process improvement work, and make a case for why the nominee's work has led to productivity improvements. The nomination material must be accompanied by letters and signed by an individual with the appropriate responsibility and authority, certifying agreement to several award conditions. Nominations must be submitted to the SPA Award Coordinator as outlined in the Award Schedule.

Nominate an Individual or Group

Eligibility Requirements

The Humphrey Award may be presented to nominees that meet the following requirements:

  • The award may be presented to an individual or a group. Recipients are most often employees of the target organization. If not, the recipient may work for an organization that provided software engineering process improvement services to the target organization. For example, the recipient's organization may be an organization that provides training or process measurement consulting to the target organization, or it might be an association that supports activities related to software engineering process improvement that benefit one or more target organizations.
  • Because software engineering process improvement activities are normally group activities, a nominee is usually a team of professionals. However, to recognize work within small organizations or within organizations that do not formally define a software engineering process improvement-related team, a nominee may be an individual or a small, informal group.
  • 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.


Achievements that have previously been recognized by an award may not be re-nominated. All other nominations may be resubmitted in any subsequent year. Any submission that has previously been declined must address the deficiencies outlined by the Chair of the Humphrey Award Selection Subcommittee.


A nomination must be seconded by a senior executive from the nominee's organization. If the target organizations are different from the nominee's organization, then the nomination must also be seconded by a senior executive from the each of the target organizations. In addition to seconding the nomination, these senior executives must agree to the following:

  • None of the data and information in the nomination material is proprietary or confidential.
  • On request, the nominee will provide additional detailed data and information regarding the software engineering process improvement-related work. If any of the additional data and information is proprietary or confidential, it will be clearly marked as such.
  • If selected as an award recipient, the nominee will make a presentation at a conference to be selected by the SEI and the IEEE Computer Society and, in particular, be available to receive the commemorative plaque when the award is announced.
  • All data and information that the Humphrey Award Selection Subcommittee uses as the basis for an award will be published in the SEI technical report, perhaps in some modified form mutually acceptable to the Chair of the Selection Subcommittee and the award recipient.
  • If an on-site visit is required (the Selection Subcommittee will use teleconferencing technology where possible), all travel expenses will be reimbursed by the nominee's organization and/or the target organizations, with international travel reimbursed for one Selection Subcommittee member at business-class airfare rates.
  • Subcommittee members will not be required to return the nomination material, any non-proprietary or non-confidential material submitted in response to requests for additional information, or any non-proprietary or non-confidential material distributed during a site visit.

Nomination Materials

The nomination material must contain an overview that consists of no more than two pages identifying the nominee, briefly describing the nominee's software engineering process improvement-related work, and concretely demonstrating the work's impact and excellence.

This overview must identify the following:

  • the nominee, the target organizations, and the nominee's relationship to the target organizations
  • one to three individuals who will represent the nominee organization in any award-related activity
  • a point of contact for interactions between the Humphrey Award Selection Subcommittee and both the nominating and nominee organizations

In addition, and most importantly for demonstrating award-winning work, the overview must, with respect to the target organizations, do the following:

  • define the goals for the nominee's software engineering process improvement work describe the work briefly and succinctly
  • summarize evidence that the work met the goals and had a positive effect on the target organization
  • summarize the work's direct impact and significance (e.g., in terms of productivity and quality improvements)
  • summarize the work's indirect impact and significance to the software engineering process improvement community at large

The overview must be supplemented by no more than 10 additional pages of graphs, figures, tables, or other supporting data and explanatory material and be written in coherent, readable English. These additional pages should provide more details of how the nominee satisfies the evaluation criteria. The evaluation questions used by the Selection Subcommittee may be used as a guide for the structure and content of this supplementary material.