An Initial Theory of Value-Based Software Engineering

  • Barry W. Boehm
  • Apurva Jain


This chapter presents an initial “4+1” theory of value-based software engineering (VBSE). The engine in the center is the stakeholder win-win Theory W, which addresses the questions of “which values are important?” and “how is success assured?” for a given software engineering enterprise. The four additional theories that it draws upon are utility theory (how important are the values?), decision theory (how do stakeholders’ values determine decisions?), dependency theory (how do dependencies affect value realization?), and control theory (how to adapt to change and control value realization?). After discussing the motivation and context for developing a VBSE theory and the criteria for a good theory, the chapter discusses how the theories work together into a process for defining, developing, and evolving software-intensive systems. It also illustrates the application of the theory to a supply chain system example, discusses how well the theory meets the criteria for a good theory, and identifies an agenda for further research.


adaptive control benefits realization control theory decision theory dependency theory domain theories game theory risk/opportunity management stakeholder win-win Theory of Justice Theory W utility theory value-based software engineering 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry W. Boehm
    • 1
  • Apurva Jain
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Software EngineeringUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Center for Software EngineeringUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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