Oh, How We Settle

The Death March. The high-cost of maintenance. 70% project failure. How many times have you heard these phrases, or moreover, experienced them yourselves. Yeah, me too. I guess that’s part of the software development industry. Of course not! How can that be? You’re too much of a professional to settle for such poor performance. Well, I’ll tell you what. It doesn’t show. I’ve worked at too many companies for too many clients over too many years here in Cincinnati. Nobody has this problem licked. In fact, most forge ahead with the status quo and an unstated assumption that, “this is just the way it is.” They don’t even acknowledge a problem. There are some folks who are trying, though.

I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural SPIN meeting featuring Watts Humphrey at Cincinnati State a number of years ago. Since then, Cincinnati SPIN, or the Software Process Improvement Network, has done nothing less than bring in powerful, well-known experts in the software development process to address their members each month. Whether Watts’ initial talk or Charles Slaven‘s talk last month on the Software Peer Review Process that had us all working in groups reviewing a real-world requirements document, SPIN delivers high-quality information that, if actually put into practice, could take your software development processes to a new level. Just take a look at the presentations made over the years and ask yourself if any of the concepts could add tremendous value to your organization or your personal processes.

“ In terms of business value add, this organization will catapult your career . . . as you bring change in terms of ROI to your organization’s software development processes ”

I attend many of the industry events locally. Many of you have probably met me at one of these events. And outside of UC‘s Professor Russ McMahon, the attendee overlap across many events is fairly small. That’s generally okay, as each event addresses a different industry niche. What I really don’t understand is why I see almost no overlap between attendees of all the other events and SPIN. In terms of business value add, this organization will catapult your career if you take note and learn how to talk to your business people in financial and business terms they will understand, as you bring change in terms of ROI to your organization’s software development processes. Perhaps it’s the meeting time that prohibits attendance, as SPIN meetings generally occur between 4PM and 6PM, and it may be difficult for some to leave work to attend. I’m hoping it’s lack of education about the purpose and format of SPIN that keeps folks away. Yet, I think the reason is fundamentally different.

Don’t get me wrong. Cincinnati SPIN is one of the most well organized local IT events with regular monthly attendance of around 40. Obviously many people see the group’s value. I think it’s the “boring” process focus that keeps the technology-centric event attendees from trying out SPIN. You won’t learn the interesting blah-blah framework feature of .NET here. I’ll tell you what though, speaking from personal experience, the value of the subjects covered at SPIN will add more to your personal earning potential, growth, and ability to speak to your business than the technology groups will. I love the technology groups. SPIN brings it all together and unifies the process from end-to-end.

So, let me direct some KUDOS to Children’s Hospital‘s Kishore Subramanyam. Kishore and I worked together at Rapidigm in the ’90s. Kishore currently serves as the chapter’s Chair and has done a fantastic job promoting SPIN locally.

February’s SPIN meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 13th from 4PM to 6PM at the PDR offices on Montgomery Road. Pat Freeman, PDR‘s Practice Director of Quality Assurance, will present on the topic of Software Quality Metrics for Decision Making.

I hope to see you there!



~ by Andy on February 4, 2008.

One Response to “Oh, How We Settle”

  1. […] butchered your last names) of Speedway traveled from north Dayton to attend this meeting. As I said earlier, SPIN will change the way you work and increase the quality of your output, and seeing these folks […]

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