How We Got Here, And What To Do About It

Skill Level:

If you are developing software and getting paid for it, software process is part of your life. Even the absence of a defined process is a process of sorts. For over forty years the world of software development has been churning through forms of process, with each successor disclaiming the validity of its forebears to the cheers of those liberated from the oppressive chains of process past.

But if the latest acclaimed process is the answer, why do so many groups slough off what seemed to be working well a scant few years ago in favor of yet another choice? Furthermore, the time between process changes gets shorter and shorter. Waterfall reigned for ages, then RUP, then Scrum and XP, and now Lean/Kanban, each enjoying successively shorter seasons of favor as the de facto choice.

Process is but a framework to facilitate the collaboration of a group of people to produce a desired outcome. It is not a substitute for culture, technical excellence, discipline, and product strategy.

In this keynote, Barry emphasizes the need to continue thinking critically about the processes and practices we embrace, accounting for the context in which they exist, and the importance of reflection and refinement at both the organizational and personal levels.

Barry Hawkins

Barry has played various roles in his 17 years in the software industry, including lone developer, team lead, director, and Agile coach and mentor. Barry is one of the few native Atlantans, currently specializing in coaching and mentoring for Agile software development in addition to doing contract software development. Over the years, he has developed on multiple platforms, focusing primarily on Microsoft technologies and then Java from 2003 onward. He views technology as a set of tools, and embraces the use of dynamic as well as statically-typed languages, procedural, object-oriented, and functional programming, each having their own strengths in a given problem domain.

Prior to his career in software, Barry Hawkins spent 10 years designing, selling, and delivering turn-key industrial packaging and marking systems into manufacturing plants throughout the southeastern United States. He was responsible for the implementation, maintenance, and support of every system he sold, which was a formative experience that continues to influence his approach to consulting and coaching.