Conference Presentations

Identify and Maximize Business Value in Development

Organizations often invest great sums of money and talent in software projects-often to no good end. A key factor is that many software managers and project teams have, at best, a cursory understanding of expected benefits and little or no quantifiable information about how to evaluate project outcomes-other than cost and end-date targets. Join Paul Robinson to explore a proven software project benefits lifecycle model, including how to: enhance business cases by creating quantitative and qualitative benefit statements; generate business-friendly project success goals and metrics; and track and report the realization of benefits throughout the project lifecycle. Learn how to gain and maintain executive management and team involvement while creating your project business cases, setting business value goals, and monitoring progress.

Paul Robinson, The College Board
What Your QA Program Is Missing

Many software development organizations have a Quality Assurance (QA) component. Often, QA is just an impressive name for "we do some testing before rolling out our product." True QA encompasses an integrated process that guides software development from inception to delivery using approaches such as CMMI®, Six Sigma, and ISO. The software testing that occurs near the end of a software development process is a separate, standalone activity that assesses "fitness for use" before delivery. Dawn Haynes explains the differences between quality measures and software requirements with an interactive exercise. She discusses ways for you to evaluate and measure progress toward quality goals during development and explores ways to build management support and develop a skilled QA team. So, if you're not implementing a truly formal QA program, come see what you are missing.

Dawn Haynes, PerfTestPlus, Inc.
Table-Driven Requirements with the FIT Testing Tool

Eliciting and articulating customer requirements-clearly and precisely-is difficult to say the least. Inaccuracies often creep in when translating requirements from business ideas into software models. Working with many clients, Alan Shalloway found that creating a large number of tables with examples-however time consuming the tables are to create-adds to the clarity and precision of requirements. He found, too, that if you can use the same example table as tests, then the time is well spent. Alan presents table-driven requirements as an approach to defining both functional and test specifications. Examine business rules, user interface flows, user-observable states, and other forms of useful tables. Learn how to employ the Framework for Integrated Testing (FIT) to turn table-driven requirements into table-driven tests.

Ken Pugh, Net Objectives
Transitioning Your Software Process to Agile

Agile software development presents an appealing array of possibilities for building better software-customer focused development, high team communication, frequent releases of production-ready software, and early lifecycle testing. Unfortunately, many organizations who have attempted to develop software using agile methods have not been very successful at transitioning to an agile process. Often, the organization attempts to change too much of its software process too quickly. Jeffery Payne describes an approach to incrementally improve the agility of your organization's software process while continuing to achieve your software delivery goals. Jeffery describes high value agile management and agile development methods-including daily stand-ups, continuous integration, pair programming, and test-driven development-and then prioritizes these approaches by their impact on the organization.

Jeffery Payne, Coveros, Inc.
Weathering the Storm: Navigating Through Resource Constrained Waters

An economic storm is upon us, with rough waters, dark skies, and hard choices on the horizon. Have you taken action to prepare your projects for challenges when "business as usual" seems a likely recipe for disaster? Payson Hall identifies proactive steps for software project managers and sponsoring executives to prepare their projects and portfolios for increasingly resource constrained times. Learn what status information a project manager should have immediately available, what criteria portfolio managers can use to pare down their fleet of projects, how they can work together to prepare for further turbulence, and what you can do to sustain the productivity of your crew. Find out how risk profiles are likely to change, what new risks may emerge, and what you can do to stay afloat through it all.

Payson Hall, Catalysis Group Inc
What's More Important: Being Agile or Creating Value?

Agile processes and tools have become very popular over the past few years. They promise success where many organizations have had failures. Concerned over struggles to "be agile" and worried that they are not doing everything that every agile consultant says they must, some organizations are worrying whether their projects are really agile or not. Is worrying about whether or not we are really agile the point? Are we, in our rush to be "agile," losing sight of what's really important? Shouldn't our question be, "Are we creating software our customers value?" Jonathan Kohl focuses on understanding why we are developing software, for whom, and what our end-users and team members value. It's easy to get caught up with the newest trends and tools and measure our success based on their adoption, while forgetting about the basics.

Jonathan Kohl, Kohl Concepts Inc.
A Manager's Role in Agile Development: The Light Bulb Moment

Many managers have a large part of their personal identities wrapped up in their jobs and company responsibilities. We define who we are by what we do for a living. In agile development, the manager's job is very different from what most have learned and practiced. Managers struggle with what precisely their responsibilities are—and what to do each day. Some try a simple replacement strategy—shift from Gantt charts to burndown charts, from weekly status meetings to daily stand-ups, and from project post-mortems to iteration retrospectives. Because agile teams are supposed to be self-organizing, many of the "classic" management tasks are no longer important or even appropriate. Michele Sliger shares stories about how agile adoption has affected people like you and how it has changed individuals—their perceptions of agile, their leadership styles, and even their personal lives.

Michele Sliger, Sliger Consulting, Inc.
The Dirty Little Secret of Business

Regardless of your role in the software lifecycle, there are challenges and roadblocks that stand in your way. How can you deal with difficult people who are obstacles to your ability to deliver? How can you influence someone to act on your priorities even when you don't have the organizational authority? How can you find time to network when you're overwhelmed with day-to-day work? Andy Kaufman shares "The Dirty Little Secret of Business." You won't learn this secret in school, yet it is critical to your success. The secret is simple-it's all about relationships. Andy describes the key relationships you must develop to advance your projects and career. Discover how understanding different personality types will improve your ability to build rapport, influence people, and control situations. Learn what networking is-and isn't-and how to increase the effectiveness of your networks with less effort.

Andy Kaufman, Institute for Leadership Excellence and Development
Some Not-So-Crazy Ways to Do More with Less

When the world goes sideways, most people freeze, waiting for some clear signal of what to do. That's a really bad idea! Tim Lister suggests that within today's craziness are great opportunities to make big changes in everything-how you are organized, what you work on, how you set priorities, the whole shebang. Now is the best time to change the less than wonderful part of your organization’s culture. For instance, everyone has heard of Faster, Cheaper, Better. How about Slower, Cheaper, Better? Go on a project diet and limit the number of projects that can run concurrently; no new project can start until one actually finishes. And how about assigning an experienced developer to review the specification as it is being written? Many organizations have a sign-off when the specification is done. By then, it is way too late. Also, its time for every team to have it's own personal assistant.

Tim Lister, The Atlantic Systems Guild Inc
A Test Offshoring Model that Works

USG is a Fortune 500 building products manufacturer with over fifty North American locations. USG has effectively managed to integrate their offshore and local test teams to provide support for a major ERP implementation and subsequent software releases. Brook Klawitter describes how they established a strategy for selecting work to be completed locally versus offshore; developed management capabilities locally and offshore; enhanced the technical and functional testing capabilities of the offshore team; and leveraged the strengths of each team to establish a culture of continuous improvement that encourages team member growth. Learn practical techniques to integrate an offshore team with your local test team, developers, and users. Find out how to select onshore and offshore team members who will be a good technical and cultural fit and learn ways to develop offshore team members for leadership roles.

Brook Klawitter, USG, Corp.


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