Barry W. Boehm

Barry W Boehm

TRW Professor of Software Engineering, Computer Science Department, USC

Director, USC Center for Systems and Software Engineering

B.A., Math, Harvard 1957; Ph.D., Math, UCLA 1964

Barry W. Boehm is the University of Southern California Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Astronautics; the TRW Professor of Software Engineering; and Founding Director of the USC Center for Systems and Software Engineering.  He is also the Chief Scientist of the DoD-Stevens-USC Systems Engineering Research Center, and a part-time employee of the Aerospace Corp.  He received his B.A. degree from Harvard in 1957, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA in 1961 and 1964, all in Mathematics. He has also received honorary Sc.D. in Computer Science from the U. of Massachusetts in 2000 and in Software Engineering from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2011.

Between 1989 and 1992, he served within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) as Director of the DARPA Information Science and Technology Office, and as Director of the DDR&E Software and Computer Technology Office. At DARPA-ISTO, he managed over $1 billion of R&D efforts, including DARPA€™s investments in supercomputing, robotics, artificial intelligence, advanced software, the SIMNET virtual reality training system, and the transition of the Arpanet to the Internet. He worked at TRW from 1973 to 1989, culminating as Chief Scientist of the Defense Systems Group, and at the Rand Corporation from 1959 to 1973, including direction of major command and control systems analyses and culminating as Head of the Information Sciences Department. He was a Programmer-Analyst at General Dynamics between 1955 and 1959.

While at USC, he has served as the Principal Investigator on major research contracts and grants from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, DARPA, ONR, AFRL, USAF-ESC, TACOM, NASA, FAA, and NSF.  He has received industry research grants from over 25 industrial organizations.  His real-client software engineering project course has successfully completed over 200 projects for USC-neighborhood clients and educated over 2000 students in an integrated approach to systems engineering and software engineering.  He has published over 400 papers and books, with over 20,000 citations, and a Google Scholar h-index of 64.

His current research interests focus on value-based systems and software engineering, including a new process model, the Incremental Commitment Spiral Model, for integrating a system’s hardware, software, and human factors across its definition, design, development, and evolution life cycle.  His contributions to the field include the Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO) family of parametric estimation models, the Spiral Model of the software process, the Theory W (win-win) approach to systems and software management and requirements determination, and the foundations for the areas of software risk management and software quality factor analysis.


He has served on the boards of several scientific journals, and as founding Chair of the AIAA Technical Committee on Computer Systems, Chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Software Engineering, and as a member of the Governing Board of the IEEE Computer Society. He has also served as Chair of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board’s Information Technology Panel, Chair of the NASA Research and Technology Advisory Committee for Guidance, Control, and Information Processing, and Chair of the Board of Visitors for the CMU Software Engineering Institute.

His honors and awards include Guest Lecturer of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1970), the AIAA Information Systems Award (1979), the J.D. Warnier Prize for Excellence in Information Sciences (1984), the ISPA Freiman Award for Parametric Analysis (1988), the NSIA Grace Murray Hopper Award (1989), the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence (1992), the ASQC Lifetime Achievement Award (1994), the ACM Distinguished Research Award in Software Engineering (1997), the IEEE Harlan D. Mills Award (2000), Visiting Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2005), Best Paper of 2006 award from the INCOSE journal Systems Engineering, Lifetime Achievement Symposium honoree in Software Engineering Education (2006) and Software Engineering (2007), the IEEE Simon Ramo Medal in systems science and engineering (2010), the Wayne Stevens Lifetime Achievement Award in Software Engineering (2011), and the AIAA Software Systems medal (2013).  He is a Fellow of the primary professional societies in computing (ACM), aerospace (AIAA), electronics (IEEE), and systems engineering (INCOSE), and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

Published Books

  1. ROCKET: Rand’s Omnibus Calculator of the Kinematics of Earth Trajectories, Prentice Hall, 1964.
  2. Planning Community Information Utilities, co-edited with H. Sackman, AFIPS Press, 1972.
  3. Characteristics of Software Quality, North Holland, with J.R. Brown, H. Kaspar, M. Lipow, G. McLeod, and M. Merritt, 1978.
  4. Software Engineering Economics, Prentice Hall, 1981.
  5. Software Risk Management, IEEE Computer Society Press, 1989.
  6. Ada and Beyond: Software Policies for the Department of Defense (study chair), National Academy Press, 1996.
  7. Software Cost Estimation with COCOMO II, Prentice Hall, with C. Abts, A.W. Brown, S. Chulani, B.K. Clark, E. Horowitz, R. Madachy, D. Reifer, and B. Steece, 2000.
  8. Balancing Agility and Discipline: A Guide for the Perplexed, with R. Turner, Addison Wesley, 2004.
  9. Foundations of Empirical Software Engineering: The Legacy of Victor. R. Basili (ed., with D. Rombach, M. Zelkowitz), Springer Verlag, 2005.
  10. Value-Based Software Engineering (ed., with S. Biffl, A. Aurum, H. Erdogmus, P. Gruenbacher, Springer Verlag, 2005.
  11. Unifying the Software Process Spectrum (ed., with M. Li and L. Osterweil), Springer Verlag, 2005.
  12. Software Engineering: Barry W. Boehm’s Lifetime Contributions to Software Development, Management, and Research, (R. Selby, ed.), Wiley, 2007.
  13. The Incremental Commitment Spiral Model: Principles and Practices for Successful Systems and Software, with J. Lane, S. Koolmanojwong, and R. Turner, Addison Wesley, 2014.

Recent Posts

The Incremental Commitment Spiral Model: Principles and Practices for Successful Systems and Software


ICSM book

We want to congratulate Dr. Barry W. Boehm, Dr. Jo Ann Lane, Dr. Supannika Koolmanojwong and Dr. Richard Turner in their new publication.

“The title makes a huge promise: a way to divide commitment into increments that are both meetable (good news for developers) and meaningful (good news for managers and stakeholders). And the book makes good on that promise.” – Tom DeMarco, Principal, The Atlantic Systems Guild, author of Peopleware, Deadline and Slack.

“I am seriously impressed with this ICSM book. Besides being conceptually sound, I was amazed by the sheer number of clear and concise characterizations of issues, relationships, and solutions. I wanted to take a yellow highlighter to it until I realized I’d be highlighting most of the book.” – Curt Hibbs, Chief Agile Evangelist, Boeing

You can get your pre-order from Amazon:


  1. Dr. Barry W. Boehm named USC Distinguished Professor Comments Off
  2. Dr. Rachchabhorn Wongsaroj, Bank of Thailand Comments Off
  3. CSSE Alumni, Ricardo Valerdi, mixes middle schoolers and baseball at the University of Arizona Comments Off