Watts S. Humphrey (1927 - 2010)

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About Watts S. Humphrey


Watts S. Humphrey (4 July 1927 - 28 October 2010) was an American software engineer, key thinker in the discipline of software engineering, and was often called the "Father of Software quality".


Watts Humphrey received a bachelor of science in physics from the University of Chicago, a master of science in physics from Illinois Institute of Technology, and a master of business administration from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

In the late 1960s, Humphrey headed the IBM software team that introduced the first software license. Humphrey was previously a Vice President at IBM.

Humphrey was a Fellow of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and of the Association for Computing Machinery (2008). Humphrey received an Honorary Doctor of Software Engineering from the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. In 2003, Watts Humphrey was awarded the National Medal of Technology. The Watts Humphrey Software Quality Institute in Chennai, India is named after him.

He was the nephew of Secretary of the Treasury George M. Humphrey.


Software Engineering Institute

In the 1980s at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University Humphrey founded the Software Process Program, and served as director of that program from 1986 until the early 1990s. This program was aimed at understanding and managing the software engineering process because this is where big and small organizations or individuals encounter the most serious difficulties and where, thereafter, lies the best opportunity for significant improvement.

The program resulted in the development of the Capability Maturity Model, published in 1989 in Humphrey's "Managing the Software Process" and inspired the later development of the Personal Software Process (PSP) and the Team Software Process (TSP). His personal goal in these developments remained to "improve quality and productivity in software development and to ease what was called the 'Software Crisis'."

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Watts Humphrey ("Father of Software quality")'s Timeline

Age 83