The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Science and technology
  • Mathematics and Computer Science


Show Summary Details


chief programmer team

Quick Reference

A programming team in which responsibility for program design and implementation rests entirely with one highly skilled member, the chief programmer. The other team members provide various forms of support. A typical team could consist of the chief programmer, a backup programmer, librarian, administrator, and secretary: the backup programmer assists the chief programmer and is able to take over that role if necessary; the librarian maintains all technical documents on the project, such as design documents, source modules (in all versions), and test histories; the administrator relieves the chief programmer of all administrative duties on the project. Various other services might be obtained from outside the team as needed.

This team organization has been advocated for the production of large programs: a single highly skilled programmer, when properly supported, can produce programs more quickly and more reliably than a team of less talented programmers working as equals. In particular, the problem of communication within the team is minimized.

The approach was pioneered in the early 1970s by the Federal Systems Division of IBM, particularly by Harlan D. Mills.

Reference entries