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Nominations Sought for 2014 IEEE/SEI Watts S. Humphrey Software Process Achievement Award


October 1, 2013—Nominations are now open for the 2014 IEEE/SEI Watts S. Humphrey Software Process (SPA) Award. Since 1994, the SEI and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society have cosponsored the SPA Award. This award recognizes outstanding achievements in improving an organization's ability to create and evolve high-quality software-dependent systems. It is based on achievement and not necessarily made every year, and multiple awards may be made in a year.

The SPA Award competition is open to all software professionals who participate in software development, support, or management, and are employed by and participate in the software work of an organization that produces, supports, enhances, or otherwise provides software-intensive products or services.

Achievements recognized by the SPA Award can be the result of any type of process-improvement activity. They need not have been based on a specific framework, model, or body of software engineering principles, practices, techniques, or methods.

The SPA Award may be presented to an individual, group, or team. Nominees are most often employees of an organization that produces, supports, enhances or provides software-dependent systems. However, the nominee's work may have been undertaken in other contexts. The nominee's organization may be for-profit, not-for-profit or non-profit;may be industrial, academic, government organizations or foundations;and need not be based in the United States.

The 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 schedule delays, cost increases, performance problems, and defects. During Humphrey's tenure at the SEI, he and his team identified characteristics of best practices in software engineering that began to lay the groundwork for what would eventually become the Software Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and, eventually, CMMI. In 2005, Humphrey received the National Medal of Technology for his work in software engineering.

"We have found by applying to software the principles that made the industrial revolution possible, software engineering teams can achieve improvements in quality, predictability, and productivity that exceed our wildest dreams." –Watts S. Humphrey

"Past winners have compelling stories that show not only how their process improvement activities have increased their ability to deliver better quality software on time and within budget," said John Goodenough, SEI fellow and longtime member of the SPA Awards Committee. "They also demonstrate how they are sustaining the introduction of disciplined software engineering practices throughout their organization."

In many cases, Goodenough explained, the winners are organizations that have grown significantly over several years. As a consequence, their approaches to instilling a disciplined engineering culture are often instructive in terms of the costs incurred, the benefits obtained, and the overall effectiveness of their indoctrination strategies. "Winners are not just highly effective software engineering organizations today;they have structures and practices in place to insure that this effectiveness is maintained and improved in future years. They are committed to continuous improvement, and as award winners, they show why this commitment pays off in business success."

Award winners will receive an engraved plaque commemorating their achievement. Presentation of the award will be made at a practitioner and researcher community event at which the winner will be invited to keynote. Award recipients will also produce an SEI technical report describing their accomplishments, experiences, and lessons learned.

Past winners of the Watts S. Humphrey Software Process Achievement Award include

  • 2009 Infosys Technologies Limited
  • 2006 Productora de Software S.A. (PSL)
  • 2004 IBM Global Services, Australia: Application Management Group
  • 2002 Wipro: Software Process Engineering Group
  • 1999 Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center: Aircraft Management Test Software & Industrial Automation Branches
  • 1998 Advanced Information Services, Inc.: Development Group
  • 1997 Hughes Electronics: Software Process Improvement Team
  • 1995 Raytheon Company: Software Engineering Process Group, Equipment Division
  • 1994 Goddard Space Flight Center: Software Engineering Laboratory

For more information about the Watts S. Humphrey Software Process Award, please visit

To nominate an individual or group for a Humphrey SPA Award, please visit and click the Nominate link.