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 http://www.pmi.org/PMBOK-Guide-and-Standards/Standards-Library-of-PMI-Global-Standards.aspx . 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:
- Small team boundaries and the need to identify a management level “Champion” to raise management awareness of lessons learned and cost savings.
- How to deal with Big Agile (e.g. 100 on the Project) using 10 or 12 Teams of 7-9 (maybe less.)
- Recognizing that the Project infrastructure is probably Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS), often automated poorly.
- The debates on Earned Value and Earned Schedule, see http://qesp.org/qesp_articles/programproject-cost-schedule-management-debates-part-2-can-earned-schedule-be-used
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.
- 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:
- Use of the Disruptive Technology Assessment Game for emerging technology, such as Spintronics and Quantum Computing. This is being done and the Disruptive Technology Assessment Game has been issued as a NATO Standard. (see https://www.cso.nato.int/pubs/rdp.asp?RDP=RTO-TR-SAS-082)
- Other relevant standards include:
- ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010 Systems and software engineering — Architecture description (http://www.iso-architecture.org/42010/)
- ISO/IEC 42030 Systems and software engineering – Architecture evaluation (http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=44570)
- ISO/IEC 15288 Systems and software engineering — System life cycle processes
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 http://profs.etsmtl.ca/claporte/English/VSE/index.html 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:
- How do you know you can trust your pacemaker?
- Use of integrated management systems comprising standards such as ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 27001 (Information Security) and ISO 20000 (IT Service Management.)
- Industry dissatisfaction with IEC 61508, Functional Safety of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Safety-related Systems (E/E/PE, or E/E/PES). (See http://www.causalis.com/90-publications/IEC61508FunctionalSafety.pdf. For an overview of IEC 61508 and IEC 15408 Evaluation criteria for IT security (Common Criteria), see http://www.informatik.uni-bremen.de/~cxl/lehre/sqs.ws13/lectures/handouts-02.pdf.)
- Progress on the ISO 25000 Software Quality Requirements and Evaluation (SQuaRE), series of Product based Standards. (For a preview of the Second Edition, see https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso-iec:25000:ed-2:v1:en.)
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 http://www.emc.com/leadership/digital-universe/index.htm?pid=home-dig-uni-090414.)