The PMI-Sydney’s Women in Project Management provided a Mini Summit on Disrupting Technology Management, which took place during the June 2014  SC7 Plenary. This gave   project and technology professionals the chance to hear from international speakers attending the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7 plenary on the latest trends that are impacting business and guiding the latest standards.  The Event provided a rare overview of the forces shaping the future of IT software and systems development, giving the opportunity to prepare for and benefit from the resulting disruption.

Below are some highlights from the Event, including the Question & Answer Sessions, with links to additional material.

Session 1: Global Changes in IT Management

“The  global  use  of  IT  has  enabled  social  change beyond what was imagined 20 or even 10 years ago. But is IT management better than it used to be? We’ll look at some of the IT challenges facing managers, how IT management is changing, and what new standards are doing to help.”

This was the introduction to the first Keynote Address,  by Dr. Annette Reilly, co-editor   of   the   Software   Extension   to   PMBOK®  Guide (SWX), Fifth  Edition, see . The SWX categorises project life cycles from highly predictive (traditional) to highly adaptive (agile) and addresses the methods, tools, and techniques for managing software projects in each life cycle.

The focus of this Session was Risk Management, noting that 60-70% of Project Managers are now involved in IT Projects, which are at the Iterative & Incremental, Adaptive and  Highly Adaptive end of the spectrum.  Measurement & Control aspects now factor in Earned Value for IT Project Management.

The Q&A session included:

Session 2: Architecture & Development Practices

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” –   Albert Einstein.

This was one of  a number of quotes (mostly accompanied by a cartoon) in the Session 2 Keynote Address, , from Johan H. Bendz , Principal Technical Officer for the Swedish Defence Strategic Planning Support advising on Enterprise Architecture Developments. Johan gave examples of current practice in, and lessons learned from applying  architecture principles in systems and software  development. He also discussed the  evolving  role  of   architecture in agile and service-oriented development and how international standards can contribute to interoperability of architectures and frameworks.

Topics included:

  • The Disruptive Technology Assessment Game, using Ideas –of –Systems cards to inject new ideas, e.g. the use of graphene
  • New ways of analysing, decomposing and conceptualising highly complex systems, i.e. to maximise cohesion and minimise external interfaces
  • The two “schools of thought” on Architecture:  as something conceptual or as work products.
  • For FMV, the Architecture defines the Concepts (key elements)/Principles – analogous  with  Entities/Relationships.
  • Systems have multiple Stakeholders with varying concerns.  Complexity is reduced by separating stakeholder concerns, with different Architecture viewpoints addressing different stakeholder concerns.
  • Paradoxically, Stakeholders ask for simple solutions to complex problems but Occam’s Razor still applies, i.e. (quoting  Einstein) ” Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler”

The Q&A session included:

Session 3: Panel Discussion – Trends Disrupting Technology and Society

In this Session, two  Canadian and two Australian experts provided their perspective on the trends that are disrupting technology and society at large. The Moderator, Melanie Cheong provided the introductions and guided questions from the audience.

Each of the Panel speakers gave a brief introduction on a specific topic which currently presents both challenges and opportunities.

Dr. Jean Berube  (Canada), spoke on Small Project Challenges, noting the need for Standards which are better suited to the Very Small Entity (VSE), an enterprise, organization, department or project having up to 25 people. He noted that current Standards are “overkill”, e.g. for a VSE producing a small phone App. Improved management could include real time project control, involving use of profiles and parts of Management and Engineering Standards. ( See for free copies of the standards.)

Dr. Tafline Ramos  (Australia), spoke on  Testing Challenges, covering trends which are not always new but where the implementation is evolving, i.e. Cloud, Mobility, Outsourcing and Agile. Tafline gave the example of the Atlassian approach, where the Jira and Confluence tools are used (internally and by Atlassian clients) for better, faster and more agile testing, with 1 Tester to 10 Developers. In this approach, the Developers plan and automate the testing, while the Testers (now called Quality Assistance Engineers) provide independent QA.

Mobility challenges include testing that diverse Apps will have the same look and feel on a range of devices, e.g. iPhone, iPad, iPod, Desktop.

Tafline sees a need for more rapid development of smaller Standards. Tafline is also a Safety Critical Systems Auditor and this topic emerged during subsequent discussion.

“Existing Process Standards are not good when we don’t know what we are producing.”

So said Dr. Tom McBride (Australia),speaking on  Process Challenges. Tom is the author of the SC7 Future Watch Workshop  proposal which aims at monitoring how future trends will impact on SC7 work. He noted that Process Standards are still manufacturing oriented whereas systems and software engineering projects can be more like film making – we often don’t know exactly how the end result will turn out.  Nowadays, processes are less under control, with cross- functional teams inventing the process. There is a need for Standards about Rules of Process.

Dr. Witold Suryn (Canada) spoke on Trust Challenges in relation to IT Systems. With remote computing, detached from hardware, how can we measure that the service is properly done?  Can measurements go from behavioural to mathematical? Can trusting services be certified?

Witold is a Professor at the École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS), Montreal, and is the author of Software Quality Engineering: A Practitioner’s Approach, published in January 2014, which includes a Chapter on Trustworthiness of IT Systems and Services.

The Q&A session included:

Session 4: Management Implications & Opportunities

The Digital Universe is doubling every two years, like Moore’s Law, and by 2020 is forecast to be 35 zettabytes (ZB), i.e. 35 trillion gigabytes.

This was one of predictions in the Closing Session, given by Dr. François Coallier, who is professor and CIO at one of Canada’s leading engineering schools and is the international Chairman of the Joint ISO and IEC subcommittee responsible for the elaboration of Software and Systems Engineering Standards. This Session gave an overview of how IT and the Market have been evolving in waves, with Standards struggling to stay abreast. The rapidly expanding Digital Universe, the Internet of Things and the other ongoing advances in technology introduce opportunities and challenges that require new ways of thinking about the processes and the Standards.

(For more data on the Digital Universe and the Internet of Things, see the April 2014 EMC Digital Universe study at