Conference Presentations

When the Pressure Is On: A Risk-based Approach to Project Management

Teams everywhere have experienced tight deadlines for software development projects. In such time-constrained situations, how can you systematically determine where to focus the team’s efforts? How do you determine the right level of requirements documentation? How do you decide how much testing will be necessary so that you are not doing too little-or too much? Reán Young shows how a risk-based approach to these and many other issues helps you identify project strategy options and set priorities. Based on a combination of business and technical factors, you’ll learn to evaluate risks in each area of the application, and devise a plan to ensure that the most critical features will be developed, tested, and delivered before the deadline.

Rean Young, Kroger Company
Seven Habits of Highly Successful Project Managers

It is easy to find a million ways that software development and project managers can let down their teams and their projects. Ken Whitaker has identified seven pragmatic leadership tips and techniques you can use to build and sustain a great team that consistently delivers great software. Specifically, Ken discusses how to keep project management jargon and bureaucracy to a minimum, what your role as a project manager really is, how to take action to lead rather than just manage, how to mitigate losing your best performers to competitors, how to design in quality from project inception, how to realistically set schedule expectations, and some great ways for simplifying your communication to stakeholders. You'll find this presentation to be useful, exciting, and motivating. These habits are powerful-yet so simple you can put them into practice immediately.

Ken Whitaker, Leading Software Maniacs
Context-driven Leadership: How to Ride a Bull through a China Shop

Software development projects are just different. They’re often high-risk ventures with extremely complex interrelationships, filled with uncertainties, dependent on scarce knowledge workers, and much more. So, the leadership style and skills needed to be successful are quite different from those needed in simple, stable projects that run through organizations. Kent McDonald introduces his Context Leadership Model, an important managers’ tool that uses the project characteristics of uncertainty and complexity to provide guidance for project leadership and governance. Kent demonstrates how to assess the characteristics of a project, how to choose the project leadership approach based on those characteristics, and how to tailor it for unique situations.

Kent McDonald, Knowledge Bridge Partners
The Paths to Innovation

There are many paths to innovation. At one extreme, many large companies create research labs, staff them with world-class Ph.D.s, and set them working for years to solve complex technical problems. At the other end is the proverbial "two entrepreneurs in the garage" working on a shoe-string budget. Between these extremes are all sorts of organizational structures, team sizes, budgets, and time horizons to encourage innovation. Patrick Copeland introduces basic models for innovation-top-down, democratic, and his personal favorite “eXtreme”-and describes how Google's core beliefs, culture, organization, and infrastructure have successfully encouraged and enabled democratic innovation throughout its growth. From the now famous “twenty-percent time” offer to engineers to its culture of trust, Google is famous for its innovation and out-of-box thinking and execution.

Patrick Copeland, Google, Inc.
Influence v. Authority: Using Your Personal Power to Get Things Done

How often have you been in a situation where you could see the solution and yet did not have the authority to make a change? You tried persuasion; you tried selling your ideas; you might have even tried friendly manipulation to get your way. And nothing worked. Here’s a new plan. We can learn to develop and use personal power and influence to effect positive changes in our companies. Johanna Rothman describes how we can be specific about the result we want, look for what’s in it for everyone, and consider short- and long-term options to foster change while acting congruently and authentically. Although it’s not easy to do, with preparation and persistence you can transform yourself into a person with personal influence. When you’re influential, you build your power and, by extension, your informal authority in the organization.

Johanna Rothman, Rothman Consulting Group, Inc.
STARWEST 2012 Keynote: Becoming a Kick-*** Test Manager
Video

Want to be a great test manager for your team? A leader your company values highly? Too many test managers do what their organization asks—rather than what their organization needs—and hope for good things to happen. Great test managers are leaders who don’t accept the status quo.

Johanna Rothman, Rothman Consulting Group Inc.
STARWEST 2012 Keynote: Leverage Your Test Automation ROI with Creative Solutions
Video

Typical automated tests perform repetitive tasks quickly and accurately to lighten the burden of manual testing. These tests mimic typical interactions with the system, checking for pre-determined outcomes. However, with some creativity and a sound strategy, you can...

Doug Hoffman, Software Quality Methods LLC
STARWEST 2012: Lightning Strikes the Keynotes
Video

Lightning Talks have been a popular part of many STAR conferences. Lightning Talk session consists of a series of five-minute talks by different speakers within one presentation period and are an opportunity to deliver their single biggest bang-for-the-buck idea in a rapid-fire presentation.

Lee Copeland, Software Quality Engineering
STAREAST 2012: Concurrent Testing Games: Developers and Testers Working Together

The best software development teams find ways for programmers and testers to work closely together. These teams recognize that programmers and testers each bring their own unique strengths and perspectives to the project. However, working in agile teams requires us to unlearn many of the patterns that traditional development taught us. In this interactive session with Nate Oster, learn how to use the agile practice of concurrent testing to overcome common testing dysfunctions by having programmers and testers work together-rather than against each other-to deliver quality results throughout an iteration. Join Nate and practice concurrent testing with games that demonstrate just how powerfully the wrong approaches can act against your best efforts and how agile techniques can help you escape the cycle of poor quality and late delivery.

Nate Oster, CodeSquads LLC
Bridging the Gap: Leading Change in a Community of Testers

When Keith Klain took over Barclays Capital Global Test Center, he found an organization focused entirely on managing projects, managing processes, and managing stakeholders-the last most unsuccessfully. Although the team was extremely proficient in test management, their misaligned priorities had the effect of continually hitting the bullseye on the wrong target. Keith immediately implemented changes to put a system in place to foster testing talent and drive out fear-abandoning worthless metrics and maturity programs, overhauling the training regime, and investing in a culture that rewards teamwork and innovation. The challenges of these monumental changes required a new kind of leadership-something quite different from traditional management. Find out how Keith is leading the Barclays Capital Global Test Center and hear his practical experiences defining objectives and relating them to people’s personal goals.

Keith Klain, Barclays Capital Global Test Center

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