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Engineers Australia
Australian Computer Society

ASWEC is a joint conference of Engineers Australia and the Australian Computer Society reporting through the Engineers Australia/ACS Joint Board on Software Engineering.

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Keynote/Invited Speakers

Mary Poppendieck

Mary Poppendieck (img) Mary Poppendieck started her career as a process control programmer, moved on to manage the IT department of a manufacturing plant, and then ended up in product development, where she was both product manager and department manager. After Mary left the corporate world in 1998, she found herself managing a government software project where she first encountered the word "waterfall." When Mary compared her experience in successful software and product development to the prevailing opinions about how to manage software projects, she decided the time had come for a new paradigm. She wrote the award-winning book "Lean Software Development" to explain how the lean principles from manufacturing offer a better approach to software development. Over the past several years, Mary has found retirement elusive as she lectures and teaches classes with her husband Tom. Based on their on-going learning, they wrote a second book, "Implementing Lean Software Development." A popular writer and speaker, Mary continues to bring fresh perspectives to the world of software development.

Title: Specialization and Economies of Scale: Where Adam Smith went wrong

Ever since Adam Smith's pin factory, it has been obvious that the best way to increase productivity is through specialization; the economies of scale make this obvious. But wait! The economies of scale do not hold up in the face of variety. If we have learned nothing else from the Toyota Production System, we have learned this: a system designed to absorb variety outperforms a system designed to leverage scale in every system where variety is an essential element. And in software development, surely variety is an essential element. And yet many of our software development practices would make Adam Smith proud.

When viewed through the lens of the economies of scale, the practices of agile development seem counterintuitive. But when the lens is changed to the economies of flow, suddenly agile makes perfect sense. It's time to move from the pin factory to the Internet, and get with the flow!

W. Neville Holmes (B.E.E., M.Cog.Sci.)

Neville Holmes (img) Mr. Holmes is an Honorary Research Associate in the School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Tasmania. After graduating from Melbourne University, he spent two years as a patent examiner before working as a systems engineer at IBM Australia for thirty years. Taking early retirement, he took up teaching about computing at the tertiary level in Tasmania.

Mr. Holmes was a foundation member of the Victorian Computer Society and was awarded the 1974 ANCAAC Medal for his paper "The Social Implications of the Australian Computer Society." Since 2000, he has been editing and writing the feature column "The Profession" for the IEEE Computer Society's flagship magazine Computer.

Title: The Prehistory and the Future of Agility

The speaker will review his experiences in software projects of forty and fifty years ago to point out evidences of the use of agility at that time, if possible relating them to earlier presentations of the Conference.

On this basis he will argue for the resuscitation of some the earlier practices, or at least focus on them. In particular he will discuss the role of the user, the design and implementation of complex systems, and the role of the software engineer.

Graeme Wood

Executive Director, Wotif Group

Graeme Wood (img) Graeme Wood revolutionised the travel industry when he came up with the concept for, and co-founded, Wotif.com in 2000 - now a publicly listed multi-national company with over 400 employees in offices around the world.  Along the way, Graeme has won many business and innovation awards. Now Executive Director at Wotif.com, Graeme continues to be involved in various new technology ventures, his most recent start-up being the popular Australian news search engine, Wotnews.com.au.

As well as his entrepreneurial success, Graeme is also involved in a number of philanthropic endeavours.  The Graeme Wood Foundation supports research, education and policy development in youth substance abuse; while Graeme's other philanthropic interests focus on youth development in sailing, the arts and conservation.  Graeme was awarded the Suncorp Queenslander of the Year in June this year.

Title: Agile Thinking - From Concept to Reality

A brief history of Wotif.com including the joys of developing Information Systems in uncharted waters.

Jeff Smith (BS Applied Science, MBA)

Group Executive Business Technology, Suncorp Metway Limited

Jeff Smith (img) Jeff Smith was appointed to the role of Group Executive, Business Technology following the Suncorp Promina merger earlier in 2007.

He has 24 years experience in the IT industry, with the last 12 years spent as chief information officer (CIO) or equivalent for a range of companies in the USA and Australia. His previous roles include CIO for Telstra Corporation, where he led the transformation and integration of that company's IT systems and generated dramatic improvements in quality, cycle time and cost reduction.

Jeff has also held leadership positions in a number of world class companies including Honeywell, Toyota and Charles Schwab.

Title: Bringing Agile to Life @ the Enterprise Level

Following the merger of Suncorp and Promina a retrospective was conducted on the combined IT services and the following themes were identified. IT was expensive with slow return of business value, poor quality and risk management, low people morale, motivation and little innovation occurring from the ground. The desired state was for IT to move from order taker to trusted partner with the business, accelerate the internet channel, build operational resilience and become the competitive advantage of Suncorp.

Agile is a way of working, a state of mind, a process which is underpinned by a set of values and principles that are uniquely reinforced by specific techniques and team determined rituals. When embedded successfully Agile is proven to help the Business steer IT solutions collaboratively to realise business value quicker through iterative development, improve the quality of working software, manage assumptions as risks, continuously improve delivery, and increase job satisfaction and motivation of team members. Given these outcomes, Agile was chosen as a common sense foundation to help Suncorp people achieve the desired state. A dedicate team of subject matter experts was selected to focus on a strategy and program of work to bring the agile way of working to life in Suncorp. As a result, significant successes are being realised in the delivery of quality work solutions and the building of operational resilience.

Judy Bamberger

Judy Bamberger (img) Judy Bamberger has 25 years' experience developing software, leading teams, teaching, and developing organisationwide leaders. An independent consultant, she specialises in project management, process definition and improvement, quality techniques (e.g., formal inspections, metrics), team building, facilitation, and managing change.

Ms Bamberger has:

  • Performed numerous assessments (SPA, CBA-IPI, ARC Class C/B, ISO9001, custom-tailored) and worked with organisations around the world and at all maturity levels.
  • Created a CMM/CMMI gap analysis method that is highly reliable and cost-effective. This enables her clients to review their strengths and weaknesses against the practises of the CMM/CMMI, provides a likely maturity/capability level rating, and summarises opportunities for improvement - at a fraction of the time and cost of an appraisal. The CMMI gap analysis method complies with ARC Class B/C requirements.
  • Assisted her clients with improvement plans based on assessment results, which enabled them to meet their strategic business goals and increase their maturity levels.
  • Trained and coached internal change agents in: basic quality tools, communication skills, managing change and resistance, effective improvement planning, and transition. This enabled her clients to create lasting, positive changes.

A key author of CMM, Ms Bamberger is one of the original Authorised Lead Assessors.

Ms Bamberger teaches project management and an award-winning course that has students apply basic quality tools in the contexts of a real team, project, and organisation. She provides workshops and on-site mentoring in the CMMI, Personal Software Process, peer reviews, process improvement, and other software engineering, management, and leadership subjects.

Title: Expectations and Responsibilities: Delivering high quality products and services through high quality customer-team relationships

Some time ago, I heard a discussion about medical care, and "rights" and "responsibilities". Almost everyone talked about "rights"; almost nobody talked about responsibilities. It felt unbalanced to me; something was missing.

I remembered something I read by Steve McConnell [1], about the "rights" of Customers and Project Teams. And I pondered, "what about the responsibilities that go with the rights?"

After consulting the dictionary, I started thinking again about how the idea of "rights" and "responsibilities" applies to software projects, how they affect quality, and why it is imperative upon us to think about both "rights" and "responsibilities".

This paper covers:

  • The Customer's Bill of Rights - introducing the "Customer's Bill of Rights", (which I will call "expectations") as defined by Steve McConnell
  • General Responsibilities - indicating some fundamental responsibilities I have, as a Customer, based on the Customer's List of Expectations
  • One Example - demonstrating how I can exercise my Customer Expectations and Responsibilities in an effective - or ineffective - manner ... and the impact it has on quality.

This paper concludes with challenges for each of us, and two appendices, each structured to help you determine how effectively you are implementing your own responsibilities as a Customer.

[1] Steve McConnell, Software Project Survival Guide, 1998, Microsoft Press.