SOFTWARE IN PRACTICE
The Best Fun I Ever Had
It was the best fun I ever had in my life. In the winter of 79 I worked on an island in the Hong Kong archipelago.
I was a control systems engineer in a chemical processing plant. I wrote assembler language programs to control reaction kinetics.
Worst Case Scenario
The worst case scenario for that type of reactor was a setup. The reactants go solid and all the reactor is good for is burying under the ground. And next to it they bury the engineer responsible. Having a desk next to a blast wall kept me focussed too.
Is Software Development Still a Black Art?
Now that was 30 years ago but I think we're still debating this question. Is software development still a black art , or no. And if you’re developing software based systems, is just being careful, enough? Or is quality so important that you need a formal quality management structure to make sure it’s delivered? In other words: does quality matter - that much?
What is Quality?
And what have I learned in the past 30 years?
I also learned that quality isn't just the absence of defects; it's the failure free solution to a customer's problem. Technical excellence isn't enough, we need to develop deeper insights into what people perceive as quality.
I've also concluded that smart companies aren't created solely by hiring smart people. Companies don't just generate ideas, they build, market, sell, compete and achieve this by coordinating the efforts of a diverse cohort of talent. And the most successful are the ones where the smart people are the cast - but the system is the star.
My Software Quality Workshop
My workshop on developing quality management systems is an intense and, I hope, insightful conversation on how this idea applies to software and electronic systems. In the workshop I illustrate quality improvement techniques with real-world case studies. Participants also bring along quality problems that are a continuing source of learning. So if you're creating or looking to improve a quality management system or if you're just looking for ideas.
About this talk
The quality management discipline is recognised as an essential part of any business by some and viewed as an unnecessary overhead by others. Systems engineer Les Chambers chronicles his journey from quality agnostic to believer while developing safety critical control systems in chemical processing reactors.