Comparing Two Software Design Process Theories

  • Paul Ralph
Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-13335-0_10

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6105)
Cite this paper as:
Ralph P. (2010) Comparing Two Software Design Process Theories. In: Winter R., Zhao J.L., Aier S. (eds) Global Perspectives on Design Science Research. DESRIST 2010. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 6105. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg


This paper explores an ongoing conflict concerning the nature of software design. This conflict manifests itself as antagonism between managers and developers, debates about agile vs. plan-driven methodologies and aspiring developers’ dissatisfaction with their courses. One side views design as a plan-driven information processing task involving rational decision-making (the Reason-Centric Perspective), while the other views design as an improvised, creative task involving naturalized decision-making (Action-Centric Perspective). Each perspective includes an epistemology, theory of human action and a software design process theory (an explanation of how software is created in practice). This paper reports the results of an exploratory questionnaire study that comparatively and empirically evaluated the two process theories. Results clearly favor the Action-Centric process theory: the Sensemaking-Coevolution-Implementation Framework.


Design Science Process Theory Software Design Questionnaire 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Ralph
    • 1
  1. 1.Lancaster UniversityUnited Kingdom

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