Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Available all semesters
Mutually Exclusive
Only available to students following the Dip/MSc in Computer Science in Singapore

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment (A2)  Essay:  50%
Semester Assessment (A1)  Report: A group assessment involving the preparation of an invitation to tender or a response. (Due to this form of assessment, no supplementary or resit examination is available).  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • select appropriate procurement strategies, including contractual arrangements, and identify appropriate tenderers for substantial software procurements (A1);
  • participate at a professional level in the preparation of invitations to tender and responses to such invitations (A1);
  • critically assess the human resource strategy of a software company (A2);
  • assess the effects of legislation relating to the engineering profession and professional codes of conduct, as they exist in different countries, on the operations of a software company (A2).

Brief description

The software industry is now one of the largest and most complex in the world. The individual players within it include companies of such size and complexity that they present unique problems of management. A software professional who intends to rise to a senior management position in the industry must at least be aware of the its structure and characteristics and of its management problems. The purpose of this module is to provide an introduction to management theory specifically in the context of the software industry and an initial framework for the industry structure that allow the new professional to make sense of the many different types of company that he or she will encounter.


1. The Industry
The nature and characteristics of the software industry: broad and narrow definitions. Classification of the products of the industry. Treatment of software assets under different accounting regimes.
Structure of the software industry: distribution by size, ownership, specialisation. The growth of outsourcing and its effect on the structure of the industry in different countries. Treatment of software in the calculation of GDP.

2. Procurement
Bespoke software v. packaged software. Identifying potential suppliers.
Procurement strategies: study of a range of strategies used for procuring large systems by governments in different countries. Case studies of some major procurement failures. Problems occasioned by the need for long-term maintenance of large software systems.
Contracts for the provision of bespoke software: fixed price, time and materials. Contracts for packaged software. Use of standard terms and conditions. The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.

3. Management
Mission statements, aims and objectives. The need for strategic planning and the problems of doing it in technology-driven industry. Application pull v. technology push. Comparison of the problems of strategic planning in hi-tech products companies and service companies.
Special problems of human resource management in the software industry: difficulties caused by a project-based environment; need to keep technical knowledge up to date; effect of strong competition for qualified staff. Motivational theory: application of theories such as Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Herzberg's two factor theory to the software industry.
Case study of a medium-sized bespoke software company.

4. Regulation
Regulation of the engineering profession in the UK, the USA and continental Europe. The Washington Accord and the Bologna Declaration. Codes of conduct: the BCS code, the IEEE-CS/ACM joint code.

Reading List

Recommended Text
M.F. Bott, J.A. Coleman, J. Eaton, and D. Rowland (2001) Professional Issues in Software Engineering 3rd Ed. Taylor and Francis, London Primo search

Students will be expected to consult web sites, government reports, and examples of commercial documents. Primo search There is no single text that covers all the material in this course and, indeed, much of the material is not available in book form at all. The recommended text covers a significant part of the course and contains many useful references, including the addresses of relevant web sites: Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7