12th International Conference on Software Quality
Software Division of
Alain Abran - Keynote Speaker
Alain Abran is a Professor and the Director of the Software Engineering
Research Laboratory at the École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS) –
Université du Québec.
is currently Co-executive editor of the Guide
to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge project. He is also
actively involved in international software engineering standards and is
Co-chair of the Common Software Metrics International Consortium (COSMIC).
Abran has more than 20 years of industry experience in information systems
development and software engineering. The maintenance measurement program
he developed and implemented at Montreal Trust, Canada, received one of
the 1993 Best of the Best awards from the Quality Assurance Institute.
The Emerging Consensus on the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK)
a body of knowledge is an essential step toward developing a profession
because it represents a broad consensus regarding the contents of the
discipline. The IEEE Computer Society, with the support of a consortium of
industrial sponsors, has recently published the Guide to the Software
Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK) and, throughout this Guide, the
engineering of quality into software is pervasive. In addition, ISO is in the process of adopting this Guide as an ISO Technical Report.
presentation will provide overviews of the development process that was
followed, of the current version of this Guide and of its usage throughout
is Software Engineering?
IEEE Computer Society defines software engineering as
The application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the
development, operation, and maintenance of software; that is, the
application of engineering to software.
The study of approaches as in (1).”
is a Recognized Profession?
spite of the millions of software professionals worldwide and the
ubiquitous presence of software in our society, software engineering has
not yet reached the status of a legitimate engineering discipline and a
software engineering to be known as a legitimate engineering discipline
and a recognized profession, consensus on a core body of knowledge is
imperative. This is well illustrated by Starr when he defines what can be
considered a legitimate discipline and a recognized profession. In his
Pulitzer-prize-winning book on the history of the medical profession in
the USA, he states that: "the legitimization of professional
authority involves three distinctive claims: first, that the knowledge and
competence of the professional have been validated by a community of his
or her peers; second, that this consensually validated knowledge rests on
rational, scientific grounds; and third, that the professional’s
judgment and advice are oriented toward a set of substantive values, such
a Body of Knowledge is an essential step toward developing a profession
because it represents a broad consensus regarding what a software
engineering professional should know. Without such a consensus, no
licensing examination can be validated, no curriculum can prepare an
individual for an examination, and no criteria can be formulated for
accrediting a curriculum. The development of the consensus is also
prerequisite to the adoption of coherent skill development and continuing
professional education programs in organizations.
Body of Knowledge is subdivided into ten Knowledge Areas (KA), including
quality, and the descriptions of the KAs are designed to discriminate
among the various important concepts, permitting readers to find their way
quickly to subjects of interest. Upon finding a subject, readers are
referred to key papers or book chapters selected because they succinctly
present the knowledge.
Guide is oriented toward a variety of audiences, all over the world. It
aims to serve public and private organizations in need of a consistent
view of software engineering for defining education and training
requirements, classifying jobs, developing performance evaluation policies
or specifying development tasks. It also addresses practicing, or
managing, software engineers and the officials responsible for making
public policy regarding licensing and professional guidelines. In
addition, professional societies and educators defining the certification
rules, accreditation policies for university curricula, and guidelines for
professional practice will benefit from SWEBOK, as well as the students
learning the software engineering profession and educators and trainers
engaged in defining curricula and course content.
the outset, the question arose as to the depth of treatment the Guide
should provide. We adopted an approach providing a foundation for
curriculum development, certification and licensing. We applied a
criterion of generally accepted
knowledge, which we had to distinguish from advanced and research
knowledge (on the grounds of maturity) and from specialized knowledge (on
the grounds of generality of application). A second definition of generally accepted comes from the Project Management Institute:
“The generally accepted knowledge applies to most projects most of the
time, and widespread consensus validates its value and effectiveness”.
generally accepted knowledge does not imply that one should apply the
designated knowledge uniformly to all software engineering
endeavors—each project’s needs determine that—but it does imply that
competent, capable software engineers should be equipped with this
for potential application. More precisely, generally accepted knowledge
should be included in the study material for a software engineering
licensing examination that graduates would take after gaining four years
of work experience. Although this criterion is specific to the U.S. style
of education and does not necessarily apply to other countries, it was
the Knowledge Areas descriptions of software engineering are also
forward-looking— considering not only what is generally accepted today
but also what could be generally accepted in three to five years.
to five hundred software engineering professionals from 41 countries and
representing various viewpoints have participated in the project.
Professional and learned societies and public agencies involved in
software engineering were officially contacted, made aware of this project
and invited to participate in the review process. Knowledge Area
Specialists or chapter authors were recruited from North America, the
Pacific Rim and Europe.
 “IEEE Standard Glossary of Software Engineering Terminology,” IEEE, Piscataway, NJ std 610.12-1990, 1990.
 Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Upper Darby, PA, 1996. “Project” in the quote refers to projects in general.
Additional Information about Alain Abran
Sample of Publications:
Eds:Dumke, R.; Abran, A. (Hrsg.) , Current Trends in Software Measurement - Proceedings of the 11th IWSM, Montreal, August 2001, Shaker-Verlag, Aachen, 2001.
Eds: Dumke, R.; Abran, A. , New Approaches in Software Measurement, in 10th International Workshop, IWSM 2000, Germany, Springer, 2001, pp. 244.
Exec. Eds: Abran, A.; Moore, J.W.; Eds: Bourque, P.; Dupuis, R.; Chair of IAB: Tripp, L.L. , Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge - Trial Version, IEEE Computer Society, 2001.
Eds: Dumke, R.; Abran, A. , Software Measurement - Current Trends in Research and Practice, Deutscher Universität Verlag, Gabler Vieweg, Westdeutscher Verlag, 1999, pp. 269.
Eds: Lehner, F.; Dumke, R.; Abran, A. , Software Metrics, Research and Practice in Software Measurement, Franz Lehner et al. (eds.), Wiesbaden, Germany, Deutscher Universitäts Verlag, 1997, pp. 232.
Abran, A. , Software Size and its Relationship with Project Effort within COSMIC world-wide field trials, in JSR Gumma, Japan, Japan, 2001, pp. 53.
Abran, A. , World-wide Field Trials of COSMIC - the Second Generation of Functional Size Measurement Methods, in SPIN Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2001, pp. 107.
Abran, A.; Dupuis, R.; Bourque, P.; Moore, J.W.; Tripp, L.L. , Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge - Overview and Applications, in Software Engineering Accreditation Committee, Information Processing Society of Japan, Tokyo, Japan, 2001, pp. 59.
Abran, A.; Symons, C.; Desharnais, J.-M.; Fagg, P.; Morris, P.; Oligny, S.; Onvlee, J.; Meli, R.; Nevalainen, R.; Rule, G.; St-Pierre, D. , COSMIC FFP Field Trials Aims, Progress and Interim Findings, in the 11th European Software Control and Metric Conference (ESCOM SCOPE 2000), Munich, Germany, 2000, pp. 31.
Abran, A.; Basque, R. , When an Canadian Industry (Railroad) Wakes up to the Software Engineering Institute's (SEI) Capability Maturity Model (CMM)®, in Conference on Software Development Management with CMM / SPICE, Beijing, China, 2000, pp. 37.
Abran, A. , Balanced Scorecard in Software, Helsinki, Finlande, Nokia Research Center, 2000, pp. 34.
Other Professional Contributions or Documents
Bourque, P.; Dupuis, R.; Abran, A.; Moore, J.W. , Straightening out the record, in IEEE Software, Vol. 17, no 1, 2000, pp. 9
Bourque, P.; Dupuis, R.; Abran, A.; Moore, J.W. , Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge - A Project Overview, in SAP, Montréal, Frankfort, Palo Alto, 1999, pp. 51
Abran, A. , Member of Lessons and Status Reports Committee, in ICSE'98 The 20th International Conference on Software Engineering, Kyoto, Japan, IEEE Computer Society, 1998.
Schneidewind, N.; Modell, C.; Abran, A.; Barnard, J.; Chiricosta, D.; Jacquet, J.-P.; al., and , IEEE Standard for a Software Quality Metrics Methodology, New York, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., 1998.
April, A.; Abran, A. , Workshop Co-Chairs: Software Product Quality Measurements - Future Directions, in Third International Symposium and Forum on Software Engineering Standards, Walnut Creek, CA, IEEE Computer Society, 1997.
Abran, A. , Co-chair of 6th International Workshop on Software Metrics, Regensburg, Germany, 1996
Abran, A. , Canadian Standards Council - Conseil Canadien des Normes, Software Engineering sub-committee - ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7 Working group on Software Product Quality Measurement (WG6) and Working Group on Functional Size Measurement (WG12)., 1989-present.
Dupuis, R.; Bourque, P.; Abran, A.; Moore, J.W.; Tripp, L.L. , Related Disciplines Currently Being Considered by the Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge Project, in Forum for Advancing Software engineering Education (FASE), Vol. 9, no 11, 1999.
Fetcke, T.; Abran, A.; Nguyen, T-H. , Mapping the OO-Jacobson Approach into Function Point Analysis, in 6th International Workshop on Software Metrics, F. Lehner, Regensburg, Germany, 1997.
St-Pierre, D.; Maya, M.; Abran, A.; Desharnais, J.-M. , Adapting Function Points to Real-Time Software, in IFPUG 1997 Fall Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona, IFPUG, 1997.
Zitouni, M.; Abran, A. , A Model to Evaluate and Improve the Quality of the Software Maintenance Process, in 6th International Conference on Software Quality Conference, Ottawa, ASQC- Software Division, 1996.