We're still in the process of finalizing this year's discussion topics. Take a look at the topics from last year below.
Last Year's Discussion Topics
Discussions at the Summit focus on software development issues at the organization level. Discussion topics are a mix of current challenges and advance views of emerging issues. Past Summits have provided attendees with their first in-depth discussions on topics like Technical Debt, Cloud Development, Global Development, and other subjects that are now commonplace.
The discussion points below provide a general idea of the intended discussions. Actual discussions at the Summit will go into areas of depth defined by individual participants. Register now!
Improving Software Productivity
Improving productivity is one of the most important topics for software executives. This key topic touches on myriad high leverage areas, including staff development, technical practices, technology strategy, business skills, business strategy, and other areas. Share experiences, lessons learned, and job-changing insights on this critical topic.
Advances, Challenges, and Opportunities in Agile Development
Companies are now routinely tackling projects with Scrum, Kanban and other Agile practices. Can Agile success be taken for granted in 2016? If not, what are the failure modes, and how do you avoid them? What are the keys to success as you scale Agile to multiple teams working independently, multiple teams contributing to the same deliverables, and multi-geo projects? Is SAFe the best scaling option? What other options have companies tried, and how have they worked out? Are there limits to Scrum? How do you know when you're hitting them, and what are the best alternatives? Benchmark approaches and learn which approaches are working best at other companies.
Job Market 2017
Most software-intensive locations are experiencing red-hot job markets with talent in short supply. Companies are once again scrutinizing their recruiting and hiring practices. What is the consensus raise for 2017? What are the keys to successful recruiting? What does a typical offer look like today? How many of your candidates receive multiple offers? What percentage of your offers are accepted? As companies move offshore, additional issues come into play. What are companies' recruiting and hiring strategies in India, China, and other locales?
Designing the Software Organization
Design of the software organization is a topic that is rarely discussed but that is absolutely critical to effective operations. How do different companies organize the different parts of their development groups? Is there a sweet spot for team size, and how should the team structure change as a team grows beyond the sweet spot? How should the organizational structure change as the company grows or adds locations? What is the best way to organize dev vs. QA? Does a functional organization, business-line organization, or matrix work best? How do you overcome silos? How do you organize work occurring across multiple sites? This is one of the meatiest topics of the Summit.
Leading for Quality: Overcoming Technical Debt
Companies’ approaches to QA differ as much as any other category of software development practice. Companies differ in their approaches to quality planning, developer testing, independent testing, pair programming, and technical reviews. They differ tremendously in their approaches to taking on technical debt and paying it off. Widespread adoption of Scrum leaves approaches to QA even more varied than before. Compare notes and learn from an incredible diversity of approaches.
Keys to Successful Measurement
Executives agree that measurement is critical—almost “motherhood and apple pie.” But the details of what to measure, why to measure, and how to avoid pitfalls present significant challenges. What lessons have companies learned about measuring quality? Measuring productivity? Measuring "success"? To what degree can measurement be used to compare project teams? How reliable are the measures, and which measures are most reliable? Who should do the measurement work, and how much effort should you be putting into measurement?
In the software world the need for innovation is critically important. Innovation leaders like Google and 3M have well-publicized practices supporting innovation, yet most companies simply assume that innovation will occur organically, without assistance. How can you lead a software group to support innovation? How do you encourage innovation in teams spread across multiple geos? How do technical staff and product management support each other’s efforts? How do you balance the need for innovation with the need for short-term results and cost-effective development practices? How do you build an innovative organization that puts you in a solid leadership position?
Driving Improved Technical Practices
Making change happen productively lies at the root of many of our other responsibilities. What lessons have you learned from your improvement initiatives? Do you aim for small, targeted improvements, or larger improvement programs? Who is responsible for change in your organization? What changes have you found most difficult? What change strategies have you used successfully? Do you find that Agile development supports change or inhibits it, or both? How does having multiple sites affect your change strategy? How do you balance evolutionary vs. revolutionary change? What are the overall keys to success?
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