Putting the "R" in RUP by Ivar Jacobson

January 15, 2004 

Let me first wish you a very happy new year 2004. I hope it will be an exciting year both personally and professionally. A lot of things are happening in my life right now, so my expectations are very high. My work on aspect-oriented software development is going very well and Jaczone is in a very thrilling growth period. My passion has never been higher.

Yesterday, I gave five talks here in Jacksonville, of which the talk to the Rational User Group in Florida had most attendees. I spoke about Use Cases and Aspects and about "What you didn't know about RUP". It is always demanding, but also fun, to speak to people who have followed my work for many years.

My talk about RUP is of course very positive to RUP. As most of you know, RUP was originally created in Sweden but at that time it was called Objectory. When Rational acquired my company in 1995, we changed the name to Rational Objectory Process and later in 1998, when UML was adopted; we again changed the name to Rational Unified Process. We wanted to surf on our success with UML.

To tell you the truth, I have never been happy with putting Rational in front of the Unified Process. It is OK to have the company branding in front of product names, but to put it in front of intellectual work is different. Personally, I don't like to have to use a company name every time I utter my approach of thinking. However, working for Rational made it not so hard for me, but all my friends out there working with customers don't want to use our brand every time they mention our approach. I can't see that the standard approach of software development should be branded by one single company, even if this company is large.

Since I express myself so positively about RUP, I often get the following question? Is there nothing in RUP you don't like?

Of course, there are many things I don't like. However, they are in comparison with what I like rather small. They are still in absolute terms very important. In this postcard I will just list them. In later postcards, I will explain what I mean.

These are the three top issues in RUP that I don't like:

The way RUP recommends us to do analysis is a compromise that won't help customers succeed.

  • The way RUP describes architecture is unnecessarily complex and confusing. I agree with what architecture is, but not with its presentation. Very few people understand what the architectural views are and how it is related to the different models being advocated.
  • RUP has grown and become to complex. Too complex for users of course, but even more complex for the poor people that will have to maintain and develop it further.

Of course, I have recipes for how to solve these problems … and many more. The user complexity will be eliminated with the help of tools such as WayPointer from IJI.