Large-scale complex IT Systems

Ian Sommerville, Dave Cliff, Radu Calinescu, Justin Keen, Tim Kelly, Marta Kwiatkowska, John McDermid, Richard Paige

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The reductionism behind today's software-engineering methods breaks down in the face of systems complexity.

Key Insights
Coalitions of systems, in which the system elements are managed and owned
independently, pose challenging new problems for systems engineering.

When the fundamental basis of engineering—reductionism—breaks down, incremental improvements to current engineering techniques are unable to address the challenges of developing, integrating, and deploying large-scale complex IT systems.

Developing complex systems requires a socio-technical perspective involving
human, organizational, social, and political factors, as well as technical factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-77
JournalCommunications of the ACM
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

Bibliographical note

12 pages, 2 figures

Cite this