The 5 Keys to Crushing Technical Debt and Reclaiming the Joy in Engineering

The March Monthly meeting is on March 8th from 4:00-5:00 PM ET. Our tech talk will be be  presented by Alan Willett and Julia Mullaney.

March 8, 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.

Abstract

Are you feeling weighed down by technical debt? Are you tired of constantly putting out fires and struggling to keep your systems running smoothly? It’s time to reclaim the joy in engineering! In this talk, we will explore the five key strategies for crushing technical debt and bringing back the enjoyment to your work. We’ll also delve into the seven types of technical debt, including gordian knots, trap doors, barnacle ware, and more, and show you how to identify and tackle each one. Join us and learn how to eliminate technical debt and rediscover the satisfaction of building high-quality systems.

About the Presenters

Alan Willett is a globe-trotting Principal helping organizations to improve the speed and power of their engines of development. Alan is the award-winning author of Lead with Speed and Leading the Unleadable.

Alan Willett was the youngest of six kids on a dairy farm in Hunt, NY, which was (and still is) about a 30-minute drive to any stoplight. In Alan’s opinion, a stop sign would be okay in that town. The stoplight is a bit of high-tech overkill. The dairy farm has been in the family for almost 200 years. In Alan’s teenage years, the farm won Dairy Farm of the Year multiple times, while other farms failed. Alan learned how to be lucky by using data, technology, hard work, and logical decision-making.

After the farm, Alan went to Rochester Institute of Technology. There, he ran track and cross-country. He actually did run across the country with his team. The team was in the Guinness Book of World Records for running a relay from ocean to ocean in record time. While at college, as a side hobby to his athletics, he received a degree in computer science, which later became a Master’s degree.

When Alan started working in the high-tech world of high-pressure product development, he found that most of the projects used data much less than they did on the farm. On his projects, he put into place the use of data and logical decision-making. His travels eventually took him to work at the world-renowned Software Engineering Institute, the think tank of the world on high-tech development work. There, he was able to work with many of the geniuses that have pushed the state of the art. He worked with and was good friends with the late Watts Humphrey.

Julia Mullaney has been involved with software excellence since starting her career at IBM in 1988. At IBM, she was instrumental in process improvement efforts, having a major role in defining and implementing defect prevention, for which she won the IBM Quality Award.

At the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), Julia 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 was fortunate to take the first PSP class from her mentor, Watts Humphrey. Julia is currently the chair for the IEEE CS/SEI Watts Humphrey Quality Award and also sits on the IEEE CS Awards Committee.  

Julia’s passion is software excellence, and she has been channeling that passion into growing the Software Excellence Alliance (SEA) as the SEA Executive Committee Leader and as a member of SEA Website & Social Media working group. She previously chaired the Working Group Training working group.

Past Presentations

Implementing a Strategy for Excellence

The January 2023 tech talk was presented by Seemin SuleriAbstractIn our pursuit of excellence, we built a strategy that matched the ambition of a competitive e-commerce business. The problem was, where do we start the work: A struggling software department with high...

NAVAIR Process Dashboard Introduction Workshop

Abstract: NAVAIR has hundreds of engineers/professionals using Team Software Process (TSP) or Team Integration Process (TPI) methodologies to plan and track their projects. NAVAIR teams following TSP/TPI use the Process Dashboard tool to implement the methodologies....

Why Can’t Johnny Program Securely?

The October 2022 tech talk was presented by Robert SeacordAbstractSecure coding (unsurprisingly) is hard. Our educational systems have failed to properly prepare students, and our assessments have overestimated their abilities. Analysis and testing is useful but...

Team Process Integration: Half-Day Course

Abstract: This half-day course covers all aspects of the Team Process Integration (TPI) framework. The TPI methodology integrates disciplined project practices that can be applied by many product teams (e.g., software, systems, and test). It is a framework that...

How to Increase Team Performance : A Tale of Two Teams

The June 2022 tech talk was presented by Seemin SuleriAbstract:This is a story of two software teams: one in a large blue-chip corporate environment and another in a small company. This is a tale of how people came together to face challenges and show incredible...

Rules and Submissions for the Watts Humphrey Process Achievement Award

The August 2022 tech talk was presented by Isabel Margarido.AbstractWatts Humphrey was a practitioner and advocate of Software Engineering good practices, also known as the “Father of Software Quality”. His work “laid ground for” CMM, CMMI and he proved the entire...

SEA 2022 Virtual Summit

Software Excellence Alliance professionals from around the world met to celebrate our accomplishments from 2021 and to set the Alliance's 2022 direction for changing the world of software engineering.Jim Over delivered the keynote presentation, sharing his personal...

The Digital Transformation Spiral Model

The March 2022 tech talk was presented by Dr. Barry DwolatzkyAbstract:Digital transformation has become an imperative for organisations in the 21st Century irrespective of size, sector, or geographic location. Studies have shown that a very high percentage of digital...

Changing the Engines without Landing the Plane

The January 2022 tech talk was presented by Robert BentallAbstract:Technical debt is like adding useless ballast to a speeding jet. It just slows everything down. Yet, in most environments, technical debt reduction, infrastructure upgrades, and process improvement...

Being a Leader and Coder – A Survival Guide

The December 2021 tech talk was presented by Dylan GreinerAbstract:Being both a technical leader and an active software engineer at the same time raises many challenges. I present the various techniques and approaches I have both learned and gathered from various...

High-Maturity Scrum with the Process Dashboard

The October 2021 tech talk was presented by David TumaAbstract:Scrum is a popular Agile development method that enables rapid customer feedback and continuous delivery of value. Earned value is a high-maturity planning technique that helps teams to create realistic...

Training Coco – Agile Lessons with a Puppy

The September 2021 tech talk was presented by Jeff PulciniAbstract:Does training a 10-week-old puppy have any relation to Agile and Agile teams? Can training basic commands like sit, stay, and down be useful to Agile teams? What about potty training? Join us as we...

Making SAFe Better from the Bottom Up: Mixing Methods and Tools

The August 2021 Tech Talk was presented by Kimberly WadeAbstract:The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is the leading method for scaling lean and agile practices to large solution delivery. Using SAFe allows large organizations with multiple programs and projects to...

Empowering Virtual Working Groups for Success

Abstract: We’ve all worked on teams where it is impossible to find the latest files, emails get lost, people get left off (or on!) meeting notices and email chains, and worse. Things get even more chaotic when team members are all volunteers and everything is virtual....

SAFe vs. Reality: How Will We Solve the Conflict?

The June 2021 tech talk was presented by Francisco Javier Ruvalcaba MoyaAbstract:“SAFe is the new standard in the software industry; you must code faster.” “You already implemented SAFe, so why are you delaying the release?” Multiple questions appear when SAFe is...

How Owning My Data Leveled Up My Life

The May 2021 Tech Talk was presented by Alex PowellAbstract:People are often pressured to deliver a plan in line with schedules created by inaccurate estimates. As we know, this leads to products that under-deliver and are over-budget. Applying solid methodologies,...

Why Is It So Hard to Do Easy Stuff?

The April 2021 tech talk was presented by Gerardo LopezAbstract:Software technology is huge and seems complex, but it really isn’t: every technology is just an enormous bunch of small pieces (each only a few characters long). It is impossible for anyone to understand...

Share This