See you at XP2010 in Trondheim, Norway!

As I’m writing this I am making final preparations to leave for Trondheim, Norway to present an experience report at the 11th International Conference on Agile Software Development and Extreme Programming, or XP2010. After my experience report was accepted, the conference organizers opened up a second round for lightning talk proposals, and in a moment of whimsy I decided to propose another talk. That was accepted as well. So I’ll be giving two talks at XP210.

If you’re at the conference I would very much like to meet you! This is my first time presenting at a conference and only my second conference attended (my first was OOPSLA this past October) so I’m a little nervous and unsure what to expect. Above all I hope that I’m able to share some information that is useful, interesting, and inspirational. I think I have some interesting insights and perspectives that can help make the way we build software just a little bit better and I want to hear your opinions, your thoughts and experiences too. If you can’t make it to my talks, come find me, I’d be glad to discuss any ideas with you. I plan to have a copy of the paper and slide decks available on this website along with a brief synopsis of the talks shortly after the conference. And of course I'll be looking for people to eat meals with and hang out while I'm here on Wednesday and Thursday. I'm here to present, to learn, and to discuss cool ideas with other practitioners.

Here's a summary of the two talks I'm giving along with some background information. The background isn't necessary but just interesting information and context related to the talks.

Put it to the Test: Using Lightweight Experiments to Drive Process Improvement


This experience report tells the story of how my team ran a lightweight experiment to figure out whether we should use pair programming or program alone and review our code with Fagan inspection. With only a few hours of work and only a few weeks time we discovered that pair programming was instrumental to our eventual success.

In this talk I will discuss what we learned about setting up and running the experiment so you can run lightweight experiments of your own on whatever topics your team finds most interesting or pressing. Experimentation doesn’t have to be this overbearing, lofty, academic thing that it has become. My hope is that teams around the world will use this technique to discover just a little more about how software engineering works and that they’ll share what they learn in white papers, blog posts, and future experience reports. We can help close the gap between research and industry with just a sprinkling of scientific thinking.

Background Information

Lessons from a Software Engineering Dojo: The MSE at Carnegie Mellon University


At OOPSLA in Orlando, Florida this past October I heard proclamations like this more than a few times: "The only way to teach software engineering is through experience. What we really need is a software engineering program that uses a capstone project, a non-trivial, long term project that lets you practice what you learn. No university programs currently have such a project in their curriculum." I agree. In fact, I agree so much that I attended the only university in the world in which a long-term, realistic (in both scope and complexity), team-based capstone project is an essential part of the software engineering curriculum.

I have two goals with this lightning talk. First, I aim to spread the word about the existence of the Master of Software Engineering program at Carnegie Mellon University. Carnegie Mellon is on the forefront of software engineering education research and the Master of Software Engineering program has been teaching professional software engineers to become true masters in the field for over 20 years. Second, since the studio component (the capstone project) of the MSE degree is so similar to an industrial setting, there’s a lot industry teams can use for training and educating software engineers as you work. There are tons of lessons that can be taken from the MSE in the form of both research and battle tested experiences. This second goal will be the greater emphasis of the talk.

Background Information

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