Software systems engineering: a journey to contemporary agile and beyond, do people matter?

Raid AlQaisi, Eddie Gray, Bonnie Steves

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

120 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores the evolutionary journey of the approaches and processes of Software Systems Engineering (SWSE), from the Traditional methods to Contemporary Agile methods and looks at elements and issues of importance for future development. It does this through a comprehensive search of the literature and review of the findings of an empirical study “Echoes from the Field” [1,2], which investigates the common practices and issues within the SWSE industry. Particularly, the paper identifies that the human-element is common across all the different SWSE approaches and processes current and past, and that people and their behaviour can have a significant effect on the success of the SWSE endeavour. In the literature, there is a focus on developing the approaches of SWSE to gain a successful outcome, yet very little focus on modelling the effect of human behaviour on the outcome. To understand the human-element effect in SWSE, established theories of human behaviour from the management and psychology disciplines, such as the Toyota Production System (TPS) or Lean, Knowledge Creation Theory (KCT) and Emotional Intelligence (EI), are adapted. The paper concludes that it is not really the approach or process that is the key to success, but rather it is the people who use these approaches that can make the approach succeed or fail. Finally, one of the authors reflects on his experiences of the changes in SWSE since he attended the first Software Quality Management (SQM) conference 25 years ago.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSoftware Quality Management XXV
Subtitle of host publicationAchieving Software Quality in Development and Use
EditorsP. Marchbank, M. Ross, G. Staples
PublisherBritish Computer Society
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780993288968
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2017


  • human-element
  • agile
  • lean
  • Emotional Intelligence (EI)
  • Knowledge Creation Theory (KCT)


Dive into the research topics of 'Software systems engineering: a journey to contemporary agile and beyond, do people matter?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this