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System Design Methodologies (SDM)

Description of the module

Some basic information on the way this module was taught can be found here.



There are a number of books on the topic of systems design methodologies (SDM) which are suitable for this type of course. To simplify the search, I have created a list of SDM text books that I used with this course.

Journal Articles

The original module had a collection of journal articles available on-line, however as most of these are available through subscription. There is still a list of the articles used in SDM available and if you might want to search out some material for your self, you may find the MIS links page useful.

Module overview and links to content

Overview of module and content



Detailed Content

Indicative Content


System Design Methodologies

Back to Basics: Programs and Software

Complete and closed systems; Programs and Formal Languages; Software and Formal Languages; The difference between programs and software


Managing Change and Complexity

The reality of software development

Reality, representations and descriptions; Managing complexity; Managing change; Systems Development Methodologies


Empiricism, realism and rationalism

A summary of the philosophy

Reality, Representations and Descriptions revisited; Philosophy and the history software design; Philosophy and the history change; The shape of things to come


Formal Methodologies

Build it and they will come

A review of the theory; Types of Formal Methods; Success and lack of success; An example from life


Semi-formal Methodologies

The first generation methodology

A review of the theory; Types of semi-formal method; Strengths and weaknesses; What happens in practice


Object Orientated Methodologies

The Next Generation

A review of the theory; Why UML is not a methodology; Types of Object Oriented method; Strengths and weaknesses; What happens in practice


Holistic Methodologies

The hunting of the Snark

A review of the theory; Two types of Holistic method; Strengths and weaknesses; What happens in practice


Blended Methodologies

More than the sum of their parts?

A review of the theory, The contingency Approach, The Blended Approach, Strengths and weaknesses, What happens in practice


An Introduction to Incommensurability

Hang on a minute, that doesn't add up

Review and revision; Incommensurability

And Finally ...

Here are some Software Engineering Proverbs that have been collected by Tom Van Vleck.

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