Technical Reports



Return to Technical Report System


USC-CSE-1989-500 (PDF)


Theory-W software project management principles and examples


Boehm, B.W.; Ross, R.


 A software project management theory is presented called Theory W: make everyone a winner. The authors explain the key steps and guidelines underlying the Theory W statement and its two subsidiary principles: plan the flight and fly the plan; and, identify and manage your risks. Theory W's fundamental principle holds that software project managers will be fully successful if and only if they make winners of all the other participants in the software process: superiors, subordinates, customers, users, maintainers, etc. Theory W characterizes a manager's primary role as a negotiator between his various constituencies, and a packager of project solutions with win conditions for all parties. Beyond this, the manager is also a goal-setter, a monitor of progress towards goals, and an activist in seeking out day-to-day win-lose or lose-lose project conflicts confronting them, and changing them into win-win situations. Several examples illustrate the application of Theory W. An extensive case study is presented and analyzed: the attempt to introduce new information systems to a large industrial corporation in an emerging nation. The analysis shows that Theory W and its subsidiary principles do an effective job both in explaining why the project encountered problems, and in prescribing ways in which the problems could have been avoided.


Document characteristics: Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on
Publication Date: July 1989
Volume: 15 , Issue: 7
On page(s): 902 - 916

added Nov. 11, 2005



Return to Technical Report System

Copyright 2004, 2005 The University of Southern California

The written material, text, graphics, and software available on this page and all related pages may be copied, used, and distributed freely as long as the University of Southern California as the source of the material, text, graphics or software is always clearly indicated and such acknowledgement always accompanies any reuse or redistribution of the material, text, graphics or software; also permission to use the material, text, graphics or software on these pages does not include the right to repackage the material, text, graphics or software in any form or manner and then claim exclusive proprietary ownership of it as part of a commercial offering of services or as part of a commercially offered product.