SeaCon 2013 – Software Architecture, Processes and Management

I attended the SeaCon 2013 in Hamburg, Germany, a conference about software architecture, processes and management. It was a very delightful conference with lots of fresh talks, good food and awesome gimmicks. Here are my findings of these two days:

  • Evaluate the needs of outsourcing well! In most cases it makes more sense to develop a mobile app or an e-commerce software on your own than by a 3rd party. Knowledge is power. If it is your team that gets into it then you are in control of it. Your team has a strong relationship to the project and you are able to change everything whenever it is required. If you outsource something, make sure that all the software sources and rights belong to you after the external project has finished. Otherwise you will have a kind of vendor lock and have to pay for subsequent changes (which might take ages to complete, too).
  • It is very popular to develop software using agile methods like Scrum, Kanban or Scrum Ban. Today, every modern development is agile. However, the old waterfall software development architecture still applies to everything but the development itself: the management, budgeting and external agreements do not fit into the agile development framework — yet. There is a need to change that. The management should adapt agile methods for quicker decision cycles. The budgeting should be approved and reconsidered in shorter intervals than one year (AKA beyond budgeting in Germany) and contracts to 3rd parties should be more loosened.
  • Similar to the previous topic but different: Large projects cannot be controlled but guided. It is impossible to accurately estimate all aspects of a larger project like its complete feature set, required time, and total costs. However with shorter control and decision cycles you can guide the project better than in one large phase. A decision cycle should not be longer than three months and decisions should be made by a heterogeneous group of specialists.
  • It is more important to consider the business and investment value a specific task has for your company rather than asking the software development department about the required time to complete the job. If you know your business value well, you can use and organize your resources (man power, time, and money) in a better way.

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