Strategic Business Analysis for Software Excellence

Strategic Business Analysis for Software Excellence

The July 2024 tech talk was presented by Trent Leopold

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This presentation showcases proven ways for imparting excellence to software applications. The presentation relates associated business analysis techniques and is suitable for software developers, engineers, project managers, and product managers.

The presentation is also suited for anyone seeking ways to impart excellence (or more excellence) to their operation or organization. A recent attendee comments that “every professional, including executive management can benefit from this presentation.”

The presenter, currently a brain research participant in an international longitudinal study led by a major US university, showcases recent research findings particularly related to human strategic thought processes and their direct correlation to excellence. This includes demonstration and discussion concerning the human mind.

About the Presenter 

Trent Leopold is an active, professional senior business analyst with more than 25 years of experience in the private and public sectors, including various governance roles. Leopold’s experience includes serving as an advisor to two U.S. presidents, a U.S vice-president and two Texas governors. Trent is an active member of the IIBA and PMI, and serves to establish Business Analysis standards. He is an IEEE officer, involved with creating international professional standards, including those endorsed by the ISO – most recently pertaining to AI governance. Leopold received a lifetime achievement award from Who’s Who. He is a longitudinal research participant with a major U.S. university in an international study exploring human brain function. Trent’s education includes a MSc. degree in managerial science, and he’s a licensed airplane pilot.

Automotive Engineering Excellence: Stories of Joy and Terror – Panel Session

Automotive Engineering Excellence: Stories of Joy and Terror – Panel Session

The June 2024 Tech Talk was presented by Dan Wall and Juan Webb


Automotive Engineering Excellence: Stories of Joy and Terror” offers a captivating exploration into the dynamic world of automotive engineering through the eyes of seasoned experts. In this anthology, a panel of industry veterans unveils narratives that encapsulate the exhilaration and challenges inherent in their field.

With the automotive landscape evolving at a relentless pace, the stories highlight the increasing complexity faced by engineers. From the integration of interconnected systems to the demands of ensuring safety and cybersecurity, each anecdote underscores the intricate balance between innovation and risk mitigation. Delving into the realm of hardware, electrical, and software development, the anthology elucidates the intricate dance of these components within the broader framework of a “system of systems.” Firsthand experiences provide insights into the meticulous processes involved in adhering to standards such as ASPICE (Automotive SPICE) and driving continuous process improvement.

Yet, amidst the technical prowess and strategic foresight, the panelists candidly share moments of terror: instances where unexpected challenges threatened to derail projects or compromise safety. These tales serve as poignant reminders of the unforgiving nature of the automotive industry, where the margin for error is razor-thin.

Ultimately, “Automotive Engineering Excellence” emerges as more than a collection of anecdotes—it serves as a testament to the passion, resilience, and ingenuity of those dedicated to shaping the future of mobility. Whether celebrating triumphs or confronting setbacks, these stories offer invaluable lessons for engineers, enthusiasts, and industry stakeholders alike.

About the Presenters

Dan Wall: With over 40 years of multifaceted experience, Dan has left an indelible mark on the world of software engineering and process improvement. His journey spans roles as diverse as software developer, architect, quality assurance manager, test manager, project lead, and vice-president of production methods. From the trenches of small startups to the boardrooms of multinational corporations, Dan has navigated the complexities of the industry. Key highlights of this panel session include:

CMM ML2 Achievements:

  • Dan’s expertise extends beyond theory. He has guided both a 10-person startup and a 3,000-person division to achieve CMM ML2 (Capability Maturity Model Integration Level 2) certification.

Industry Diversity:

  • Dan’s impact reverberates across sectors—automotive, defense, energy, and commercial. He even lent his expertise to the world of video games (think Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk, and Marvel).

Process Guru:

  • As a Principal ASPICE Assessor, Dan has conducted or participated in over 500 CMMI and ASPICE assessments. His insights have shaped the industry’s best practices.
  • He wears multiple hats: scrum master, six sigma master black belt, VW certified SQIL, PSP instructor, and TSP coach.

Thought Leadership:

  • Dan’s voice resonates on global stages. He has graced numerous conferences as a speaker.
  • His legacy extends to the written word—co-authoring several books and technical papers.

Juan Webb brings more than 25 years of experience between the automotive and aerospace/defense industries in safety critical SW&Sys engineering, project management, and driving process improvements. He is a Principal ASPICE assessor and one of two intacs-certified Competent ASPICE Instructors and Software Quality Improvement Leaders (SQIL) in North America. 

He spent several years working as an FAA Designated Engineering Representative, recommending and approving type certification data for safety-critical airborne systems. He also holds certification as an ISO/IEC 27001 Lead Auditor, as well as a TUV certification as a Cybersecurity Engineer, and has provided numerous training-related ISO 21434 and Cybersecurity Management System (CSMS) audits.

With extensive experience in development, coaching, training, auditing/assessing, and leading process improvements, Juan has a proven track record of driving successful project outcomes and helping companies to achieve their business objectives. 

Juan has a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Alabama.

Take Control: Exceptional Methods for Making Commitments You Keep

Take Control: Exceptional Methods for Making Commitments You Keep


We’ve all been there: working long hours, late nights and weekends, under immense pressure to finish a release after missed deadlines and project overruns. Fortunately, there is a better way! 

This presentation will describe a proven set of tools and techniques for planning and tracking that teams can use to make and keep commitments, increase agility, and delight their customers. Come learn how you can retake control, for yourself, and your team.

About the Presenter 

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.

David is an active member of the SEA Executive Team and the SEA Data Warehouse Working Group.

Navigating the Storm of Change:​ Five Keys For Exceptional Leaders to Thrive in 2024

Navigating the Storm of Change:​ Five Keys For Exceptional Leaders to Thrive in 2024

The January 2024 Tech Talk was presented by Alan Willett


The past decade has been challenging for leaders everywhere. But the surge of challenges coming in 2024 may make the preceding years seem like the calm before the storm. ​

Looking ahead, it is easy to predict additional supply chain disruptions, increasing pressures of geopolitics, volatile economic changes, and dramatic increases in the powers of artificial intelligence. These are just some of the external forces of change that leaders will face.

We must also consider rising internal challenges, such as the need to lead a virtual/hybrid workforce, the rise of workplace toxicity, and the accelerating demand for more value,  faster.​

Alan Willett, an award-winning author and leadership expert, will provide insights into five keys that leaders will need in order to not just survive in 2024, but to thrive – and to hone their personal system for “perfect balance.”

About the Presenter 

Alan Willett

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. For more than two decades, Alan has worked with clients around the world, including the UK, Turkey, South Africa, China, India, Canada, and Mexico, and throughout the United States. 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’s background in technology started with the first program he wrote at age 13, and his passion has continued to this day. Earlier in his career, Willett was a key leader at Xerox and designed high-end production systems. After leaving Xerox, Alan joined the world’s leading think tank for high-technology development, the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), located at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. At SEI, Alan joined other renowned thought leaders in developing cutting-edge methodologies adopted by corporations globally, including the Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI) and the Team Software Process (TSP).

His personal backstory enlivens his writing and his speaking. He grew up on a dairy farm that had been in the family for over 170 years, and which was honored as the dairy farm of the year for New York state for many years running. Alan encourages everyone to get out there and make a positive difference in the world.

From Sprints to Marathons – Sustaining Speed to Value

From Sprints to Marathons – Sustaining Speed to Value

The October 2023 tech talk was presented by David VanEpps


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 VanEpps

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.