A leading information systems and software engineering researcher has joined the
His research interests sit at the intersection of the sub-disciplines of information systems and software engineering and deal with questions relating to how and why software systems are developed, managed, used and maintained.
University Vice-Chancellor Professor
After gaining BCom (Hons) and Master of Commerce degrees from
Following the completion of his studies at the end of 1992, he joined
There he took up the role of foundation Head of the
Professor MacDonell has published several book chapters, dozens of refereed journal articles and is on the editorial board of the international journal Information and
He was a co-principal investigator in a recent five-year, multi-million dollar
As part of his new role in the
"All projects have risks and challenges -- but it is how those risks and challenges are managed that determines their outcome," he says.
"While we have a general sense of what leads software systems projects to fail, we don't have a corresponding step-by-step recipe that can guarantee they succeed.
"We know that people are key; they are influential at every point from project concept through development to delivery and use. They are also sometimes irrational, and there are often political and financial drivers that mean a 'recipe' approach simply will not work."
Professor MacDonell says that understanding how and why software systems succeed requires placing at least as much emphasis on the people and social structures that exist around systems as is put on the technologies and tools involved.
"Software systems need to be seen not as fixed, engineered objects that can be tightly controlled; but as evolving, complex, interactive, and highly contextual - basically they should be thought of as information ecosystems."
Professor MacDonell says one of
"These alumni sit on both sides of the software/system 'divide': those developing and deploying systems; and those using them. In my view this represents a tremendous resource, one that can add real value to our research and our teaching.
"One of my key goals is to engage with them and their colleagues, to learn from them about the challenges they face and the needs they have, and to contribute positively to their future software systems projects through both our research and the graduates we produce."
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