SEA 2023 Summit

SEA 2023 Summit

Our Passion for Excellence – Keeping the Torch Alive

The SEA 2023 Summit will be September 21st in Pittsburgh PA. The summit will be held in partnership with the PittAgile Gathering, which will include several tracks of valuable presentations on September 20th.

September 21, 2023

8:00 AM-5:00PM US/Eastern

$50 for the Summit, or $180 for the two-day gathering

Summit Overview

The Software Excellence Alliance is an international network of professionals who share a passion for software development. The pandemic kept us from gathering in person in 2021 and 2022, but it hasn’t dimmed our zeal for excellence.

Come discuss your challenges and celebrate your success stories with us! All are welcome. We’ll encourage each other with updates on the ways we’re continuing to honor our outrageous commitment to change the world of software engineering, including:

  • New exceptional introduction strategies that are changing lives and transforming organizational culture from the bottom up – Alan Willett
  • Newly released and upcoming tools to support exceptional individuals and teams – David Tuma
  • New accelerated growth up-and-out into systems engineering excellence – Jeff Schwalb
  • A new global data warehouse of project metrics for planning, benchmarking, and research – Bill Nichols
  • Continued community growth through the sharing of best practices and great ideas – Julia Mullaney
  • And the exciting things YOU are accomplishing in your teams and your organization!

We’re on the brink of momentous changes, and the opportunity to make a difference has never been greater. Accordingly, the opportunity for synergy with one another has never been more important. Come tell us the ways we can support your efforts, and help us shape our shared vision for 2024 and beyond.

About the Speakers

The Summit will be a collaborative event with opportunities for everyone to share, present, and exchange information. So far, the following community members have volunteered to share their success stories. Contact the exec team to share your perspectives as well.

Alan Willett

Founder, Chief Engineer, Exceptional Difference

Expert consultant, speaker, and award-winning author of Leading the Unleadable: How to Manage Cynics, Divas, and Other Difficult People, and Lead With Speed, Alan Willett is co-founder of Exceptional Difference. Alan works with clients around the world, including the UK, Turkey, South Africa, China, India, Canada, and Mexico, and of course, throughout the United States.Alan is the founder and Chief Engineer of Exceptional Difference(R) LLC, a consultancy that elevates engineers, leaders and organizations to world-class performance. Alan’s passionate work has focused on leadership, with laser focus on the unique challenges of leading in the elevated pressure environments of high-technology developments. Alan Willett has consulted to HP, Oracle, Microsoft, NASA, General Motors, Intuit, NAVAIR, Orbital ATK, OnStar, Cornell University, Rutgers University, Technological de Monterrey, Acxiom, and many more. Alan encourages everyone to make a positive difference in the world.

Jeff Schwalb

Jeff Schwalb

NAVAIR Performance Resource Team (PRT) Lead and NAWCWD Associate Fellow, NAVAIR

Jeff Schwalb is a software engineer supporting the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) since 1984. He has over 20 years of experience developing and acquiring real-time embedded software systems for avionics, weapons, and range instrumentation systems. He also began collaborating with the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), learning and applying CMM key practices, becoming a certified Personal Software Process℠ (PSP℠) instructor and then a certified Team Software Process℠ (TSP℠) coach. Over the last 25 years he has taught and consulted hundreds of scientists and engineers in various forms of personal engineering processes and coached dozens of projects in the launch and operations of team project planning and tracking. In 2017, Jeff connected with the SEI on the establishment of the organization we know today as the SEA. Today, Jeff continues to work within the SEA to identify and establish pragmatic, value-added solutions to problems currently affecting the Software Community. He is currently serving as a member of the SEA Executive Team and as a supporting member of SEA working groups in areas such as Community Networking, Membership, and Knowledge Transfer.

Jeff Schwalb

Bill Nichols

Software Engineering Institute

Dr. Bill Nichols is a senior member of the technical staff in the Software Solutions Division of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He has more than 30 years of technical and management experience in the software engineering industry. His current work focuses on software process measurement, project management, quality, security, and improving development team performance. Dr. Nichols is a Senior member of IEEE and a member of ACM.

During his tenure at the SEI, Dr. Nichols has worked with the Team Software Process (TSP) Initiative and Software Measurement and Analysis. He has coauthored several TSP publications, including the PSP and TSP Bodies of Knowledge and the TSP Coach Mentoring Program Guidebook. Recent work includes software metrics and software security metrics including the government’s guide to using security tools in software development.

Prior to joining the SEI, Dr. Nichols earned a doctorate in physics from Carnegie Mellon University after completing graduate work in Particle Physics. He later lead a software development team at the Bettis Laboratory near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he developed and maintained nuclear engineering and scientific software for 14 years.

While working in physics and nuclear engineering, he contributed to technical articles appearing in Nuclear Instruments and Methods, IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, and Physics Review Letters. Since Joining the SEI, he has published articles on software metrics, process and quality in IEEE Software, Software Quality Professional, Transactions on Software Engineering, and the Journal of Empirical Software Engineering.

Jeff Schwalb

Julia Mullaney

Principal, Exceptional Difference

With a commitment to changing the world of software engineering, Julia Mullaney, a co-founder of Exceptional Difference, is an award-winning engineer, instructor, leader, and consultant who has worked with software companies in many industries across the globe.

While at IBM, Mullaney was instrumental in process improvement efforts and had a major role in defining and implementing defect prevention. At the Software Engineering Institute (SEI,) Mullaney was a key contributor to the Personal Software Process (PSP) and Team Software Process (TSP) through the development of training, certification, licensing, and applied research at leading software organizations. She is a Certified Smart Grid Maturity Model (SGMM) Navigator, PSP Developer and TSP Coach, and served as Chairperson of the IEEE/ SEI Watts Humphrey Software Process Achievement award from 2018 to 2020.

Her cybersecurity work at the SEI includes participation on the Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model V2 project, Team Lead of the Expert Guidance and Strategic Support to DHS, and the management, development, and release of the SGMM. Mullaney currently serves as the leader of the Software Excellence Alliance (SEA) Executive Team and is focused on growing the SEA into a sustainable network of professionals who are passionate about software excellence.

Jeff Schwalb

David Tuma

Tuma Solutions

David Tuma is a graduate of MIT with a passion for exceptional software development. He has contributed to the success of numerous projects in roles ranging from architecture to coding, security assessment to causal analysis, and project management to coaching. In his support for exceptional practices, he created (and continues to evolve) an open-source toolset called the Process Dashboard, which has been used by tens of thousands of developers worldwide.

From Sprints to Marathons – Sustaining Speed to Value

From Sprints to Marathons – Sustaining Speed to Value

The October Monthly meeting is on October 11th from 4:00-5:00 PM ET. Our tech talk will be be  presented by David VanEpps

October 11, 2023

4:00-5:00PM US/Eastern

SEA Members: the meeting URL is in your calendar invitation, so you do not need to register on EventBrite.


Technology leaders know the pressure to deliver high-value projects with speed. When projects turn to portfolios, the game changes. The rules of speed-to-value still apply, but now there are different dimensions required to make that speed sustainable over the long haul. Delivering sustained speed-to-value isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and much like running a marathon, there are some clear guidelines that can be followed. 

Specifically, we’ll address the need for setting the right pace, managing a different set of metrics, balancing the needs of competing forces, managing enterprise expectations, and future-proofing the organization.

About the Presenter 

David VanEpp

David VanEpps is the VP of Engineering at Ursa Space Systems, where he brings a passion for software engineering excellence and exceptional leadership. Prior to his role at Ursa, he served as Senior Director of Delivery for Acxiom, a global marketing technology company, where he rapidly scaled technology teams while improving both client and associate delight. He has held numerous technology leadership roles at high-tech companies such as OnStar and Vynamic. David has consistently led technology organizations to deliver solutions that exceed expectations while delighting clients, associates, and shareholders. His cross-industry experience and principles of execution have enabled teams to drive exceptional speed-to-value and quality.

David graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a bachelors in Computer Science and a masters in Software Development and Management. He resides in Harrison Township, Michigan, with his wife, Charlotte. Outside of work, he actively volunteers and serves on several non-profits, and he enjoys running, cycling, writing, and speaking in his spare time.

Software Excellence through the Agile High Velocity Development℠ Process

Software Excellence through the Agile High Velocity Development℠ Process


The Advanced Information Services Division of Ishpi Information Technologies, Inc. (DBA ISHPI) performs all aspects of the software development lifecycle using its High Velocity Development℠ (HVD) process. We have studied many methods and frameworks (including Personal Software Process, Team Software Process, CMMI for Development, Scrum, Kanban, CMMI for Services, ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 20000-1 (Information Technology Service Management), ISO 27001 (Information Security Management Systems), Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, and more), adapted them, combined them, and made them our own. The result is an innovative, cohesive process that works for us—our agile HVD process. We have shown that diverse inputs need not be contradictory choices, but instead complementary building blocks. By evolving, implementing, and utilizing the HVD practices, AIS Division teams have achieved significant improvement in productivity and performance. ISHPI’s customers have benefited from shorter schedules, lower costs for development due to minimal rework costs, lower costs for maintenance, and an overall positive experience during each project.

About the Presenter 

Stephen Shook, ISHPI’s Vice President of Software Engineering & Quality, brings more than 25 years of experience in senior management, business development, development management, project management, software engineering, and implementing Capability Maturity Model® Integration (CMMI®). He is one of the principal architects of ISHPI’s award-winning Agile High Velocity Development℠ software development methodology, which is appraised at CMMI Development Maturity Level 5. As an experienced instructor, coach, consultant, and subject matter expert, he leads and mentors software teams to achieve exceptional cost, schedule, and quality performance in order to achieve customer business goals. Stephen has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Illinois.

Barti Perini, ISHPI’s Vice President of Software Process Improvement, brings over 25 years of experience in software engineering, software development process improvement, project management, and Capability Maturity Model® Integration (CMMI®) and ISO implementation. She leads ISHPI’s Software Engineering Process group, Configuration Management group, and the Quality Assurance group, working with senior management, software development managers, project managers, and engineers to initiate, define, track, evaluate, and implement new methods and technologies to continuously optimize the software engineering capability of the organization (currently appraised at CMMI Development Maturity Level (ML) 5 and CMMI Services ML 3). Barti holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute. Barti has a Master of Science in Computer Science from Northern Illinois University, a Master of Technology in Industrial Electronics from Mysore University, India and a Bachelor of Engineering in Power Electronics from Nagpur University, India.

The Real Cost of Bad Software Quality in the U.S. in 2022

The Real Cost of Bad Software Quality in the U.S. in 2022


This presentation will introduce The Cost of Poor Software Quality in the US: A 2022 Report, published in December 2022 by CISQ. We highlight the rapidly growing costs of cybersecurity failures and software technical debt. The trends and enablers of these growing costs are discussed.

CISQ’s 2020 report estimated that poor software quality cost the United States economy over $2 trillion in 2020 due to operational software failures, poor quality legacy systems, and unsuccessful projects. Compared to the country’s projected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $20.66 trillion, or the $1.4 trillion spent on employing IT/software professionals in 2020, it represents a staggering amount of wasted resources. This talk will share the updated results from 2022.

Author, Herb Krasner, will introduce the important findings in the report, which is full of facts, figures, case histories, references, and specific recommendations for how and where to find these burdensome costs and how to prevent or avoid them.

About the Presenter 

Herb Krasner

Since early 2017, Herb has had the luxury of getting involved in whatever sparks his interest or is stimulated by his professional expertise/contacts.  This led to his publication of the Cost of Poor-Quality Software in the US: A 2018 report, widely read and cited on the internet. This report has since stimulated podcasts, blogs, webinars, and other related opportunities. 

In 2017, Herb retired from his 18-year position as Professor of Software Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin (UT), where he taught undergraduate and graduate classes in software engineering, database engineering, agile methods, and software quality and process improvement. He also performed and supervised research in the science of software design, the economics of software engineering, and software quality/process improvement.  

As a research scientist, he is well known for his leading-edge work on modeling the cost/benefits of software quality and reporting the ROI data for software process improvement programs, as well as the reported results from his groundbreaking empirical studies of professional programmers performed at MCC.   He has published over 55 papers, articles, and book sections, and has spoken at many professional conferences and meetings.   As founder, Chairman, and former Director of the Software Quality Institute (SQI) at the University of Texas, he was largely responsible for creating and shaping the software engineering educational outreach organization into a successful business entity.  

Herb currently serves on the Missouri S&T Computer Science Department’s Academy of Computer Science. and is an Advisory Board Member for the Consortium for IT Software Quality He is active in both the ACM and IEEE Computer Society, and served as past chairman of several international conferences, as well as Director of the ACM Scholastic Student Programming Contest. He was a book series editor for the IEEE Computer Society Press and a member of their Publications Board. His professional awards include the ACM Distinguished Service Award and ASQ Golden Quill Award.

10 Key Things to be a Rocking Product Manager in an Agile World

10 Key Things to be a Rocking Product Manager in an Agile World

The June 2023 tech talk was presented by César Duarte


Are you ready to know more about the challenge of being a product manager? This talk will cover challenges you will need to master to excel and become a product management superstar in an Agile world.

From your main responsibilities to skills that will make you crush the product management game, learn what this role is and what is NOT, along with its main challenges and some insider tips. As a bonus, we will also have a glimpse into the epic battle of the PMs and POs (Product Managers vs PROJECT Managers vs Product Owners).

About the Presenter 

César Duarte 

Entrepreneur at heart (former founder & CTO) • Software engineer turned to business with international project and product management experience • INSEAD executive education with the Product Management Executive Programme (PMEP) • Master in Informatics and Computing Engineering from FEUP (Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto) in Portugal • Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) + Professional Scrum Master (PSM) certified by • Track record of helping organizations improve their processes, systems, and people with methods of continuous improvement, Agile, Lean, and Kaizen.