Better Software Conference Review

Last Month I attended the Better Software Conference and Expo. As part of my continuing education requirements I attend on conference a year and then prepare a seminar for the local developers on a particular topic of interest. As all the costs of attending are borne by me (my company does not contribute anything) I am very careful to evaluate a conference for my needs. I can recommend this conference as tops on my list. In fact I think I will attend this conference twice every three years. The other year may be divided between the IEEE Software Engineering conference and some other conference depending on location.

Since 2003 I have attended the SEPG, IEEE SE, ICSPI, and BSCE conferences. I enjoyed the IEEE conference because of the academic slant as opposed the industry leanings of the others. Each conference had at least two days of tutorials, and each one had breakfast and lunch provided (paying my own way makes this very important), although I think all conferences do this.

The first tutorial was “Principles and Practices of Lean-Agile Development” by Alan Shalloway, Net Objectives. He also did a keynote as well. Excellent content and presentation from my point of view.

The second tutorial was “Software Security Fundamentals” by Paco Hope, Cigital. I enjoyed this very much and gave me a lot of ideas to keep in mind building software.

Although all the keynotes were worth the attendance, the final keynote – What Snake Oil Is Your Organization Buying Today? by James Coplien, Nordija A/S – was definitely the highlight for me. The basic takeaway is that there are no magical solutions and everything needs to be evaluated properly. I think that is the primary responsibility of the Software Engineer, to evaluate the prospect solutions based on our experience and apply them to the project at hand. Use the principles from lean-thinking – eliminate the waste, apply the correct process, and listen to the people involved.


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