Edited and curated by @SimonCocking

Guest post by Liam Delaney @ldelaney2


Imagine a chef preparing a beautiful meal, sourcing and preparing all the ingredients, and expertly cooking them, but not tasting anything until the food was ready to serve. This is the analogy of the overriding theme running through the presentations at the inaugural software development conference Atlantec 2015 @atlantecconf.

We were told that software development is not in a good place, with significant overruns in delivery and budget being commonplace, and more importantly, significant outages causing millions of Euros in losses.

Dave Farley asked the question “What does good (software development) really look like?” Worryingly he identifies that “many people working in software development spend their whole careers without seeing what good looks like.”  His proposed solution is to introduce a proven methodology into software development processes, namely Continuous Delivery.

Manufacturing’s success has been achieved by the incorporation of World Class Manufacturing (WCM) techniques, such as Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, Just in Time, etc. the conclusion here has to be that Continuous Delivery can do for software development what WCM has done for manufacturing in that it will dramatically increase the capabilities within software development.

As the name Continuous Delivery implies, it proposes delivering elements of the project on a continuous basis, (as frequently as possible) and this of course implies that testing will be part of the continuous process. The critical role of continuous testing was a key element of the other presenters during the morning sessions. Giovanni Asproni, an expert in software architecture, told us that “creating an architecture for a system upfront is a bad idea”, he advocates “incremental design and testing”. Jon Jagger introduced us the some of the fundamentals of software testing and his on-line software testing hub cyber-dojo, where again the core element of frequency was advocated.

Kevlin Henney spoke about the craftsmanship within software development. He identified for us how some sloppy, untested code has caused hundreds of millions of dollars/euros in failed projects and identified his perceptions of excellence. He re-emphasized the importance of the detail, of how to code (and test) and how to do it well.

As with the chef preparing his meal, who will continuously taste and adjust, software developers must employ similar care and expertise to improve quality, efficiency, and return on investment.

In the afternoon sessions Brian Doody from Hewlett Packard spoke about Infrastructure as code and about how it provides increased speed, agility and reliability. John Lynch form Cisco spoke about the characteristic and skills (from his own experience and observations) that individuals require to be successful in the world of software development.

The concluding speaker was John McGuire who is a very successful entrepreneur and founder of Active Mind Technology, developers of GAME GOLF. John is a very entertaining speaker with a great story to tell ….

The conference was entertaining and informative. The quality of the speakers was top class, and was executed very professionally by ITAG. The attendance was excellent at around 250, and was MC’d very professionally by Prof. Brian Fitzgerald from University of Limerick.

Liam Delaney @ldelaney2, (M.Sc. Information Technology) currently working as an independent talent consultant within the IT industry.


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