Adolfo  Villafiorita Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Adolfo Villafiorita

Head of Unit
ICT4G, Fondazione Bruno Kessler

Adolfo Villafiorita leads the ICT4G Unit of Fondazione Bruno Kessler. He has an extensive background in the management and development of software systems. He has worked in several technology transfer and industrial projects in IT-related domains, related to the validation of safety critical systems and to development of IT systems in developing countries.


My professional career started with a very technical background. Soon after I got my MSc in Electronic Engineering, in fact, I started my PhD in Artificial Intelligence, where I mainly worked on the development of interactive reasoning systems.  It was Lisp, then, and mathematical logic.

After two short periods abroad, one at University of Edinburgh and the second at Stanford, in 1997 I moved to Trento, where I started working in technology transfer projects in the safety critical domain at Fondazione Bruno Kessler, a research center located in Italy.  More in details, we used model checkers to validate the design of train control systems and we experimented methodologies and technologies to improve the safety analysis process of avionic systems.  It was C and C++, by then, and fault trees and FMEAs. It is at the end of this period that we wrote our first book "Design and Safety Assessment of Critical Systems".

The experience in the safety critical domain raised my interest in software project management and I started looking at software development not only from the "hacker" point of view.  A sound process, in fact, is essential to ensure the appropriate quality and reliability criteria.  The team programmed in Java and projects managed using the PMBOK.

Given the occasion, I moved to the eGovernment sector, where I had the opportunity of leading the development and experimentation of an eVoting system, which was used in Italy with legal value in two small elections.  Various other projects, among which one related to the interoperability of eGovernment systems of Mozambique strengthened my project management competences and raised my interest in the use of IT in developing countries.

Since 2005 I teach Software Project Management at the University of Trento and from 2011 I lead the ICT4G unit, which focuses on the use of IT for promoting social and economic in developing countries.

Two of the applications developed by the group are BringTheFood ( an application developed in collaboration with the Italian Food Bank to manage food donations and SAMO (, an application developed in collaboration with the WorldBank, which we used to monitor the status of primary schools in the area of Moamba (in Mozambique). Tools developed in Ruby on Rails, process managed using SCRUM and the PMBOK.

Since the software crisis (in the seventies), software engineering and project management seem to have grown as two different and independent disciplines.

However, software development projects today require multi-disciplinary approaches and many software-project activities are not strictly related to writing code.  I believe that putting together the best techniques developed in these domains is essential to practitioners.  For this reason I decided to write my second book, Introduction to Software Project Management.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Adolfo Villafiorita, PhD, graduated at the University of Genova in 1993 and got his PhD from the University of Ancona in “Artificial Intelligent Systems” in 1997.

    Visiting scholar of the AI Department of the University of Edinburgh in 1992 and of the Formal Reasoning Group at Stanford in 1995, he is now a Senior Researcher at Fondazione Bruno Kessler, where he leads the ICT4G unit.

    He has worked and led various industrial and technology transfer projects related to the verification of safety critical systems.

    He is also a contract professor at the University of Trento, where he taught Software Engineering and, from 2004, Software Project Management.

Personal Interests

    I started playing squash in Edinburgh in 1992 and, even though I'm not an exceptional player, I regularly play this sport and started recently to compete in tournaments.  Similar to my work, skills, strategy, perseverance, and dedication are important and, very similar to my work, it is fatiguing, but, also, and more important, it is a lot of fun!



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Introduction to Software Project Management - 1st Edition book cover