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Factory Concepts and Practices in Software Development

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1 Author(s)

This paper reviews the introduction of factory concepts and practices, based on tools and methods from the evolving field of software engineering, at major software producers, in particular those that explicitly adopted the factory label to describe their software facilities or approach to software development: Hitachi, Toshiba, NEC, and Fujitsu in Japan, as well as System Development Corporation in the United States. The other United States firm discussed in detail is International Business Machines, which, without adopting the factory label, introduced numerous measures to organize and control software development, especially basic software. The paper emphasizes that the difficulty of the technology, shortages of skilled engineers, and large-scale projects have encouraged producers to become more systematic or factory-like in managing a series of projects, even though some characteristics of the technology and the industry have made software seem difficult to control and more suitable to a loosely structured project-centered or craft approach to development.

Published in:

Annals of the History of Computing  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 1 )