Day 1 Keynote

Re-Thinking Management…Re-thinking IT

Tripp Babbitt
Pursuing an unquestioning belief in economy of scale, managers of service organizations have industrialized their operations. Front- and back-offices, glued together by IT systems are now the norm. But being normal is not the same as being right.Tripp Babbitt will explain that economy of scale is a myth and will show how industrialized service organizations carry high costs and deliver poor quality service. Tripp will reveal a series of counter-intuitive truths.  For example cost is in flow, not activity, hence; ”improvement” projects to reduce activity costs, an obsession of modern managers, can actually drive costs up.Building on the work of W. Edwards Deming (we invented management, we can re-invent it) Tripp has uncovered the work of John Seddon who pioneered the development of a “systems” approach for service organizations. The systems approach exposes the wrong-headed nature of conventional management.  It explains why so many IT projects fail.   It helps us understand why so many service organizations have failed to improve performance with “lean” and “six sigma” tools and why such programs often drive costs up. By contrast, the results achieved from a “systems approach” are astonishing – results that would never be considered achievable if put in a plan.Tripp will outline the counter-intuitive truths, describe the “systems approach” to organizational change and will argue for a different way to develop IT that costs less and delivers more. Prepare to be challenged, disturbed and inspired.
TrippTripp Babbitt first read about the work of W. Edwards Deming in The Reckoning by David Halberstam and would later become the President of the largest Deming User’s Group in the world – IQPIC (The Indy Quality Productivity and Involvement Council).  By chance, he read the work of John Seddon on an international flight to Budapest and soon realized that Professor Seddon had advanced the thinking laid down by the late Dr. Deming.Tripp Babbitt holds an MBA and a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt – he considers himself to be reformed from these certifications that promote wrong thinking as a result of years of unlearning and relearning a better way.  He has written columns for many publications including Quality Digest and IQPC.  He makes posts regularly to his blog The No Tool Zone– a blog that challenges conventional wisdom and thinking about the design and management of work.The principles behind the systems approach are counter-intuitive to the command-and-control mindset and, hence, are best learned by doing. Tripp and his colleagues at Vanguard have developed and refined the Vanguard Method: the means by which managers unlearn conventional management and learn (better) systems management. Change is much faster in service organizations than in manufacturing, for nothing is ‘made’. Profound results can be achieved rapidly if managers can change the way they think.     

Day 2 Keynote

The Thinking Tester, Evolved

Elisabeth Hendrickson
 Back in 2001 or so, there were some within the nascent Agile community who believed that direct collaboration between programmers and customers (or their proxies) would eventually obviate the need for professional testers. The context-driven testing community knew how unlikely that was. We are, after all, a community of critical thinkers. The argument that testers could be eliminated if programmers and stakeholder learned how to communicate directly just didn’t hold water. Many of us proceeded to demonstrate the value testers bring to the table by joining test-infected Agile teams. And yet in 2011, we saw some people declare that testing is, in fact, dead. I’m happy to report that once again the reports of testing’s demise seem to be greatly exaggerated. However, the role of testers, even thinking testers, has most definitely changed. Some of that change is coming from within our community. Other changes are driven by shifts in software development practices and improvements in tools. Organizations adopting Agile integrate testing throughout the lifecycle and often integrate testers into cross functional delivery teams. As a result, lines are blurring: the role of a tester is not as clear cut today as it was a decade ago when I was managing testing teams. In this talk, I examine the shifting role of testing and testers in software development organizations, and explore what it takes to succeed as a professional tester in today’s climate.
Elisabeth HendricksoElisabeth Hendrickson has over 20 years software industry experience in a variety of roles. She has been working with Agile teams since 2004 and served on the board of the Agile Alliance from 2006 – 2007. She won the prestigious Gordon Pask Award in 2010, and is a co-organizer of the Agile Alliance’s Functional Testing Tools program. Her company, Quality Tree Software, Inc. helps software development organizations deliver working solutions consistently and sustainably. Elisabeth also founded Agilistry Studio, a practice space for software development in Pleasanton, CA. Elisabeth splits her time between teaching, speaking, writing, and working on teams with test-infected programmers who value her obsession with testing. You can find her on Twitter as @testobsessed.