SEI Insights


SEI Architecture Technology User Network (SATURN) News and Updates

Many types of software systems, including big data applications, lend them themselves to highly incremental and iterative development approaches. In essence, system requirements are addressed in small batches, enabling the delivery of functional releases of the system at the end of every increment, typically once a month. The advantages of this approach are many and varied. Perhaps foremost is the fact that it constantly forces the validation of requirements and designs before too much progress is made in inappropriate directions. Ambiguity and change in requirements, as well as uncertainty in design approaches, can be rapidly explored through working software systems, not simply models and documents. Necessary modifications can be carried out efficiently and cost-effectively through refactoring before code becomes too "baked" and complex to easily change. This blog post at the SEI Blog by Ian Gorton of the SEI, the second in a series addressing the software engineering challenges of big data, explores how the nature of building highly scalable, long-lived big data applications influences iterative and incremental design approaches.

As the pace of software delivery increases, organizations need guidance on how to deliver high-quality software rapidly, while simultaneously meeting demands related to time to market, cost, productivity, and quality. In practice, demands for adding new features or fixing defects often take priority. However, when software developers are guided solely by project-management measures, such as progress on requirements and defect counts, they ignore the impact of architectural dependencies, which can impede the progress of a project if not properly managed. This blog post at the SEI blog by Rod Nord and Ipek Ozkaya of the SEI describes a first step toward an approach they developed that aims to use qualitative architectural measures to better inform quantitative code-quality metrics.

7 Secret Proposal-Writing Tips that Make Conference Program Committees go Wild!

Writing a great session proposal for a practitioners’ conference can be difficult, even for experienced public speakers and authors. Proposal writing is a distinct skill, different from writing great papers and giving amazing presentations. Since your session proposal is what the reviewers will use to decide whether your session might be a good fit for the SATURN 2014 technical program, it’s also an important skill. With the final submission deadline for SATURN 2014 quickly approaching on January 17, 2014, here are 7 tips for writing a great submission proposal.

Jeromy Carriere of Google, member of the SATURN 2014 Program Committee and previously featured speaker at SATURN, dug through presentations from previous years at SATURN and put together a list of some he found valuable:

Invited talk: Games Software Architects Play (Phillippe Kruchten) "The life of a software architect is a long (and sometimes painful) succession of suboptimal decisions made partially in the dark." Phillippe takes us on a tour of some of the ways that we make bad decisions: cognitive biases, reasoning fallacies, political games. Sadly, each example resonates with me, and not just because I've seen them in other people. Architects have to rely on intuition, but we also need to know when and how it fails us.

Architecture Practices for Agile at Scale: Strategically Managing Technical Debt to Improve System Quality

The Cyber Security and Information Systems Information Analysis Center (CSIAC) invites you to attend this webinar. This event requires registration. Presenter: Robert L. Nord Date and Time: Wednesday, December 11th, 2013; 12-1 pm EDT Registration Required Practices designed to expedite system delivery, such as prototyping or agile development, can paradoxically lead to unexpected rework costs that ultimately slow down later deliverables and degrade value over time, especially as the scale of the system grows. The term "technical debt" describes an aspect of this tradeoff between short-term and long-term value in the software development cycle.

Thanks to the great community participation we had at SATURN 2013 in Minneapolis this year, we are able to keep SATURN affordable in 2014. As in 2013, we will have three registration periods for SATURN, priced as follows:

  • Super-early-bird (early February through mid-March): $750
  • Early-bird (mid-March through early April): $850
  • Regular: $1100