SECR 2017 - Interview with Dr. Ivar Jacobson

What inspired (and hopefully still inspires) you personally to create everything you actually created or participated in creation: RUP, UML, EssUP, EssWork, SEMAT?

What inspired me? … I think it was that I hated to see situations where people spend a lot of their passion, energy and time working hard, night and day, doing, let me say, things not so smart… And the first thing I changed was when I was a young man in 1967. I was a project manager for the development of the most mission-critical system at Ericsson in Sweden. We developed at that time the first computer-based telecom switching system. And as a project manager I felt very soon that the way we developed the software was very immature. At that time we had one big program store and one big data store. The approach we used was a commonly used approach at time. It was really not an efficient approach in building a system that had to change all the time. So, I suggested what today we call component-based development, which means that we build the whole systems with interconnected components. To get that approach accepted I had to go through the biggest fight I’ve ever had in my life. Because no one wanted to do it. The programmers didn’t like it, their managers didn’t like it. There was only one man, who liked it. Thanks to him being the boss, he decided that we should do it. And that resulted in the greatest commercial success story ever in the history of Sweden, and it still is the greatest commercial success story in Sweden. Even more successful than Volvo, ABBA and so on.

So that’s how it’s started. I could not stand to see all these fantastic people working in a bad way. And for the same reason I came up with use cases, I couldn’t see the complex way we dealt with requirements. And I continued later on with RUP and what became UML. There were similar reasons behind it. Similar reasons drove me to find a common ground for software engineering methods and practices. I started working on what became the OMG standard Essence 13 years ago. It took us 10 years to get there, but now eventually I see successes.

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