Managing process inconsistency using viewpoints

I Sommerville, P Sawyer, S Viller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


This paper discusses the notion of process inconsistency and suggests that inconsistencies in software processes are inevitable and sometimes desirable. We present an approach to process analysis that helps discover different perceptions of a software process and that supports the discovery of process inconsistencies and process improvements stimulated by these inconsistencies. By analogy with viewpoints for requirements engineering that allow multiple perspectives on a software system specification to be managed, we have developed the notion of process viewpoints that provide multiperspective descriptions of software processes. A process viewpoint includes a statement of focus or "world-view, a set of sources of process information, a process description and a set of organizational concerns that represent goals or constraints on the process analysis. We present a description and rationale of process viewpoints, discuss the process of applying process viewpoints for process understanding and illustrate the overall approach using part of a case study drawn from industrial processes that are part of a safety-critical system development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)784-799
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • viewpoints
  • software process
  • process improvement


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