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2014 TSP Symposium to Highlight Complementary Practices, Maximizing Performance


October 7, 2014—SEI researchers have frequently observed development projects that combined the Team Software Process (TSP) with other processes and practices to achieve great success. The success of these blended approaches inspired organizers of the 2014 TSP Symposium to craft a rich technical program that encompasses development practices used in tandem with TSP to maximize performance. Supplementing the technical program, a roster of respected keynote speakers will lend their informed perspective and context. The symposium, "Going Beyond Methodology to Maximize Performance," will take place in Pittsburgh on November 3-6 in collaboration with IEEE Software magazine.

Software architecture practices and TSP have shown particular promise. "We have seen how successful combining TSP and architecture-centric engineering practices can be," said Bill Pollak, TSP Symposium general chair. "A prime example is the project we undertook with Bursatec, the technology subsidiary of the Mexican stock exchange, to replace three existing trading engines with one system developed in house."

The demonstrated benefits of adding architecture-centric thinking to development environments using TSP inform a number of architecture-related sessions at this year's symposium. In addition, the technical program will benefit from tutorials and presentations by members of the TSP user community who will offer essential insights based on real-world experiences. The following list presents a small sample of the technical program, which includes more than 60 speakers and keynotes:

  • In the tutorial "Strategic Management of Technical Debt," the SEI's Neil Ernst, Ipek Ozkaya, and Robert Nord will explore the consequences of hastily considered architectural decisions.
  • In the presentation "Architecture Best Practices for Project and Technical Leaders," SEI staff who led architecture and TSP work at Bursatec will review key concepts that managers must know to ensure that their teams use architecture effectively.
  • Neil Potter, cofounder of The Process Group, will conduct the tutorial "Software Lifecycle Recipes: Making a Process Do What You Want It to Do—Building a Great Product, Meeting Customer Needs, Managing Time, Money, Risk, and Quality." In this tutorial, Potter will teach an Agile/Scrum process as a base framework, explain how to evolve the framework to address specific project goals and problems, and demonstrate how to start with a basic framework and evolve it using practices such as the Personal Software Process (PSP) and TSP.
  • David Tuma of Tuma Solutions will conduct the tutorial "Empowering Teams with Great Data: Using the Process Dashboard." Tuma will show participants how to perform many project-management techniques using the open-source Process Dashboard application. The tutorial is designed to benefit both those new to the Dashboard who wish to jump-start their training and experienced users who seek a higher level of mastery.
  • David VanEpps, Automotive Delivery Director for Acxiom Corporation, will present "The Executive View: Beyond the Methodology." In this talk, VanEpps will discuss how Acxiom used process-improvement methodologies such as TSP to solve critical business problems and drive superior performance.

Other tutorials, presentations, and participatory sessions will address topics such as software maintenance, overcoming organizational resistance to change, the internet of things and insecure design, and eliciting unstated requirements. "We worked to move the focus of this year's symposium beyond the core methodology of TSP to encompass a broader range of complementary practices," said Pollak."Some of these complementary practices involve work that intersects with a number of SEI research areas and products, such as acquisition, cybersecurity, and of course, process improvement."

Keynote presentations will include a recently added talk by Philip Koopman, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Koopman's current research focuses on autonomous vehicle safety and embedded/cyber-physical systems education. He served as an expert witness on the role of control system failure in automobile unintended-acceleration cases, and has served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Transportation on automotive standards. Koopman's address will focus on key issues related to the unintended-acceleration problem and the implications for future designers of safety-critical software for automobiles and, more generally, computer-based system designers.

The other keynote speakers for this year's symposium are Richard Pethia, director of the SEI's CERT Division; Holly Ridgeway, Chief Information Security Officer, PNC Financial Services Group; and Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games,