Software Experts Summit 2012

26 June 2012 | London, UK

Mastering Uncertainty in the Software Industry: Risks, Rewards, and Reality

Thank You

Thank you for your interest in the Software Experts Summit 2012 (SES 12). Presented by IEEE Software magazine, the IEEE Computer Society, Shell, and Siemens, the event was an outstanding success with software practitioners and academics from around the world converging on the British Computer Society in London to enjoy high-level talks on the state-of-the-art in computer science.

We have posted slides from some of the speakers for your convenience:

In addition, InfoQ is posting video footage of speaker's presentations at SES 12:

Please check back soon and we will share more links as additional videos from SES are posted.

Special thanks to Shell and Siemens for sponsoring the event and the British Computer Society for hosting the event. We look forward to seeing you in 2013!



Welcome, Brief Introduction to IEEE Software and the SES 2012

Forrest Shull, division director, Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering



System, Heal Thyself
As one of the top 10 Web sites, serving millions of queries a day and utilizing hundreds of thousands of servers, the job of keeping up and running 24/7/365 with "multiple 9's" availability is no small task. When working at this scale, and speed, one has to rely on software, removing human intervention as much as possible from the equation (and automating everything else). In this keynote, Mike Andrews will talk about some of the systems, tools, and processes that allow Bing to scale and our developers to focus on features over operations and control, as well as some of the lessons learned from running such a site.

Mike Andrews, Microsoft's principal security strategist for Bing

10:15 Break / Networking
  Session 1: Business Aspects of Managing Software Uncertainty

Accruing Technical Debt: Practical Decision-Making in Software Engineering and Its Business Relevance
Technical debt is a metaphor referring to the eventual consequences of poor engineering within a software product. Technical debt is work that needs to be done before a particular job can be considered complete. There are many examples of such future technical debt. For instance a product being prematurely shipped with insufficient quality is considered debt that must be paid in the future when the product is extended or when the defect appears at a client.

Growing technical debt is a major reason projects miss business commitments. It is difficult to estimate, plan, and execute the work needed to pay off such debt. For each change that is initiated, an uncertain amount of previously uncompleted work comes on top making the work difficult to estimate, plan and execute. This lecture, based on best practices in real companies, offers a reference framework covering all phases of the product life cycle, from inception and development to market launch, deployment, and service. The software or IT manager's perspective can provide a constructive view on what really matters to be successful in the market and as a business.

Based on our framework with the three key principles "make technical debt visible", "evaluate trade-offs and decide" and "systematically control technical debt", it will provide 40 concrete practices to reduce your technical debt. Hands-on suggestions and experiences are shared how to cope with misperceived business pressure and "politics," lack of process and discipline, insufficient risk management, making decisions without considering the implications, insufficient flexibility for future changes, inadequate communication and documentation, incoherent and unfocused outsourcing and globally distributed teams, and delayed defect detection.

Dr. Christof Ebert, managing director, Vector Consulting Services


The Value Proposition for Agile Software Development: An Economic Perspective
The importance of flexibility, one of the cornerstones of agile software development, is most pronounced under conditions of uncertainty. In this talk, the presenters will illustrate why flexibility matters and how it generates value by applying established financial and economic theory to the practices and principles of agile software development. These presenters were the first ones to investigate the economics of flexibility in the context of agile software development.

Hakan Erdogmus, owner, Kalemun Research, and John Favaro, senior IT consultant, Intecs SpA

11:45 Lunch / Networking
  Session 2: Uncertainty at the Interface of Software and Other Domains

Theory Meets Reality: Managing IT Systems at the Greek Ministry of Finance
Many consider the IT systems at the Greek Ministry of Finance to be ideal tools for fighting widespread tax evasion, bureaucracy, fraud, and corruption. Yet making this happen is a battle against protracted procurement processes and implementation schedules, ineffective operations, and rigid management structures. This is a story about guerrilla tactics: simple measures, methods, tools, and techniques that worked. Sadly, it's also a story (still being written) of the limits of such approaches. On balance, it demonstrates that in any large organization there are ample opportunities to bring about change, even against considerable odds.

Diomidis Spinellis, professor/programmer/technology author, Athens University of Economics and Business


Panel discussion: On the Impact of Software
Software has had a massive impact on various industries, starting with the computer industries in the 1990s, followed by mobile phones and medical devices today, with many other industries to follow. However, quantitative insight into the causes and consequences of software's business impact is limited. This was the reason Michiel van Genuchten and Les Hatton launched a new IEEE Software department in 2010 in which senior managers in different industries could describe the impact of software on their sector. So far, 13 columns have been published with contributions from companies such as Fuji Xerox, Hitachi, Honeywell, Microsoft, Philips, Realnetworks, Shell International, and TomTom. This panel discussion will take a look at the lessons learned, explain the concept of software mileage, and propose some bold conclusions about the impact of software.

Les Hatton, Oakwood Computing Associates;
Michiel van Genuchten, software manager, medical device industry; and
Guests panelists from Microsoft, Shell International, and Oracle

2:30 Break / Networking

Software's Hidden Clockwork: A General Theory of Software Defects
The subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle nature of software defect has cast a long shadow of uncertainty across all computation, from Alan Turing's day onwards. While computer scientists have made some progress in quantifying the expected density of such defects, almost no progress has been made in quantifying the effects of those defects in spite of the many technologies that have come (and gone and sometimes returned in disguise).

As a result, we have no technology to prove the absence of defect. If we ever produce a piece of significant zero-defect code, we will neither know it, be able to prove it, nor be able to repeat it. In spite of this, systems continue to grow to astonishing sizes in spite of the fact that all systems remain corrupted by unquantifiable errors. In scientific computation, the problem strikes at the very heart of trustworthiness in the results of those computations and the policy decisions we must make from those results.

However, all does not seem to be entirely random. Indeed, we can use theory backed up by some exceedingly large experiments to show there is a hidden clockwork: software systems have properties completely independent of how they were implemented, who implemented them, or what they are supposed to do. This hidden clockwork can be exploited to make predictions about how defects grow in all systems. This will lead to a better understanding of their ultimate effect on uncertainty, risk, and the evolution of trustworthiness as systems mature.

Les Hatton, Oakwood Computing Associates



Technical Debt, Process, and Culture — The Hidden Linkages
Quite often, in industry, we look at the accumulation of technical debt as a form of erosion, something that occurs inevitably over the course of time. We talk about refactoring as a remedy, but we rarely address the causes that underlie debt and avoidance of refactoring. In this keynote, Michael Feathers explains how technically aware organizations can alter process and culture to achieve various design and maintainability goals. This approach involves considering that far more influences software development than we often realize.

Michael Feathers, member of technical staff, Groupon



Forrest Shull, division director, Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering

5:00 Adjourn


Venue & Location

The Software Expert Summit 2012 will take place at the British Computer Society's London Office. Nestled between Covent Garden and the Strand, the BCS is located in

The Davidson Building, 1st Floor
5 Southampton Street
London, WC2E 7HA
Tel: +44 (0)1793 417666

Travel Tips from Major Stations:

  • Charing Cross — 6 minutes walk.
  • Waterloo — 12 minutes walk across Waterloo Bridge, or buses 139 or 176 to Stop
  • London Bridge — onward rail link to Charing Cross.
  • Kings Cross or St Pancras — Piccadilly Line to Covent Garden, or bus 91 to Stop
  • Euston — West End Branch of Northern Line to Charing Cross, or bus 91 to Stop
  • Victoria (rail and coach stations) — Circle Line to Embankment, but the most direct journey is via bus 11 to Stop
  • Paddington — Circle Line to Embankment or Temple, Bakerloo Line to Charing cross, or buses 15 or 23 to Stop
  • Liverpool St — Circle Line to Embankment or Temple, or buses 11 or 23 westbound.
  • Fenchurch St — Walk to Tower Hill, then District or Circle Lines to Embankment.




The Software Experts Summit is organized by the IEEE Computer Society and IEEE Software magazine.

IEEE Computer Society Logo

IEEE Computer Society
With nearly 85,000 members, the IEEE Computer Society is the world's leading organization of computer professionals. Founded in 1946, the Computer Society is the largest of the 38 societies of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The Computer Society is dedicated to advancing the theory, practice and application of computer and information processing technology, and is known globally for its computing standards activities.


IEEE Software Logo

IEEE Software
IEEE Software offers pioneering ideas, expert analyses, and thoughtful insights for software professionals who need to keep up with rapid technology change. The bimonthly magazine is the authority on translating software theory into practice. Peer-reviewed articles and columns by real-world experts illuminate all aspects of the industry, including development infrastructures, distributed and enterprise software, design and architecture, quality, requirements, programming languages and paradigms, management, Web applications and opportunities, the human and social aspects of computing, and more.

Contact info:

If you have any questions, please email Brian Brannon, lead editor of IEEE Software.


Registration fees for SES 2012 are quoted in British Pounds. Early registration fees apply for all registrations received by 8 June 2012. 

Register online

IEEE Software has special offers for SES 2012 attendees: download a free copy of our digital edition or subscribe to it for only US$19.95 for 6 issues! See to learn more.

About the Speakers

Forrest Shull

Forrest Shull is editor in chief of IEEE Software and originator of the magazine's Voice of Evidence column. He's also a senior scientist at the Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering in Maryland, a nonprofit research and tech transfer organization, where he leads the Measurement and Knowledge Management Division. His work has focused on software inspections and the role that human intelligence plays in effective defect detection, as well as how to best evaluate the practical utility of software and systems development practices. He has been a lead researcher on projects for NASA's Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, the NASA Safety Center, the US Department of Defense, DARPA, the National Science Foundation, and companies such as Motorola and Fujitsu Labs of America. He is an associate adjunct professor at the University of Maryland College Park.

System, Heal Thyself

Mike Andrews

Mike Andrews is Microsoft's Principal Security Strategist for Bing and leads the division's security and risk management programs. Mike and his team interface with each of the internal feature teams and executive management to identify and remediate risks, set and track security release criteria, and perform architectural inspections and security-driven improvements. They also design testing tools and prototypes for feature development. Previously, Mike was an architect at McAfee, leader of Foundstone's Web security consulting service, and a researcher at the Florida Institute of Technology, where he ran research projects and independent security reviews for the Office of Naval Research, Air Force Research Labs, and various Fortune 500 corporations. Mike holds a PhD in computer science from the University of Kent at Canterbury, where his focus was on debugging tools and programmer psychology.

Accruing Technical Debt: Practical Decision-Making in Software Engineering and Its Business Relevance

Christof Ebert

Christof Ebert is managing director at Vector Consulting Services. He supports clients around the world to improve product strategy and product development and to manage organizational change. Prior to that, he held global management positions for 15 years at Alcatel-Lucent. Christof teaches at the University of Stuttgart and has authored several books, including Global Software and IT (John Wiley & Sons, 2012). He serves on the editorial board of IEEE Software, managing the Software Technologies department along with Les Hatton.

The Value Proposition for Agile Software Development: An Economic Perspective

Hakan Erdogmus

Hakan Erdogmus is a researcher, educator, and consultant based in Ottawa, Canada, an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary's Department of Computer Science, and editor in chief emeritus of IEEE Software. His work focuses on software economics, software process, process measurement, and modern software development practices. Hakan coedited two books on these topics: Value-Based Software Engineering and Advances in Software Engineering, both published by Springer. He holds degrees in computer engineering, computer science, and telecommunications engineering from Bogazici University, McGill University, and Université du Québec, respectively.

The Value Proposition for Agile Software Development: An Economic Perspective

John Favaro

John Favaro is a consultant based in Pisa, Italy, and associate editor of IEEE Software in the management area. In a 1996 IEEE Software article, he introduced the principles of Value-Based Management in software engineering. In 1998, he introduced Value-Based Software Reuse Investment, applying the ideas of Value-Based Management and option-pricing theory to the analysis of investments in software reuse. Recently he investigated the relationship of Value-Based Management to agile development processes. He is a founding member of the International Society for the Advancement of Software Education and program chair of the 13th International Conference on Software Reuse in 2013. He earned degrees in computer science from Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Theory Meets Reality: Managing IT Systems at the Greek Ministry of Finance

Diomidis Spinellis

Diomidis Spinellis is a professor in the Department of Management Science and Technology at the Athens University of Economics and Business. From 2009 to 2011, he served as Secretary General for Information Systems at the Greek Ministry of Finance. He wrote two award-winning books, Code Reading and Code Quality: The Open Source Perspective. He is a member of the IEEE Software editorial board, authoring the regular Tools of the Trade column. Diomidis wrote the UMLGraph tool and code that ship with Mac OS X and BSD Unix. He holds an MEng in software engineering and a PhD in computer science, both from Imperial College London.

On the Impact of Software Panel

Michiel van Genuchten is a software manager in the medical device industry in Switzerland.

Les Hatton is managing director of Oakwood Computing Associates.

Mike Andrews is Microsoft's Principal Security Strategist for Bing and leads the division's security and risk management programs.

Paul Good is General Manager Modeling & Optimization in the Technical and Competitive IT division within Shell Global Solutions International.

Han Schaminée is senior vice president of engineering at TomTom's Business Unit Automotive.

Software's Hidden Clockwork: A General Theory of Software Defects

Les Hatton

Les Hatton is managing director of Oakwood Computing Associates. He recently retired as professor of forensic software engineering at Kingston University, London. He has spent much of his career in industry studying how systems fail and continues to research into this area. Les is coeditor of IEEE Software's Impact column.

Technical Debt, Process, and Culture — The Hidden Linkages

Michael C. Feathers

Michael C. Feathers is a member of the technical staff at Groupon. Prior to joining Groupon, Michael was the chief scientist of Obtiva and a senior consultant with Object Mentor International. Over the years, Michael has spent a great deal of time helping teams alter design over time in code bases. Michael is also the author of Working Effectively with Legacy Code (Prentice Hall, 2004).


Welcome, media. We are happy to arrange a press pass for you.

Please send your request to Brian Brannon.

Press Release

Register for the Software Experts Summit: Mastering Uncertainty in the Software Industry

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 10 May, 2012 – Registration is now open for the Software Experts Summit 2012, a one-day event on mastering uncertainty in the software industry being sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society and IEEE Software magazine.

To register for the third annual event, being held in London on 26 June, visit Early registration closes on 15 May.

Software engineering experts will show how to reduce risks and make projects more adaptable to change — leading to both short-term and long-term rewards. Software developers and managers from a range of industries will be on hand to chat with attendees.

"It's exciting to see such a worldwide group of experts assembled in one place, and so many diverse industries represented," said Forrest Shull, Editor in Chief of IEEE Software. "We felt this diversity of experience is exactly what's needed to bring to the front the latest innovations on this topic from research and practice."

"Mastering Uncertainty in the Software Industry: Risks, Rewards, and Reality" will feature a diverse lineup of global software industry thought leaders addressing how to:

  • Gauge the advantages of agile approaches;
  • Balance agility and discipline in projects;
  • Control risks and embrace opportunities;
  • Manage technical debt by balancing quick fixes and long-term investment; and
  • Adjust requirements engineering, design, testing, and project management practices to deal with change and uncertainty.

Presenters at SES ‘12 are:

  • Michael Feathers, Groupon, US
  • Mike Andrews, Microsoft, US
  • Les Hatton, Oakwood Consulting, UK
  • Forrest Shull, Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering, US
  • Diomidis Spinellis, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece
  • John Favaro, Intecs SpA, Italy
  • Hakan Erdogmus, Kalemun Research, Canada
  • Christof Ebert, Vector Consulting Services, Germany
  • Michiel van Genuchten, medical device industry, Switzerland
  • Paul Good, Shell International, The Netherlands,
  • Han Schaminee, TomTom, The Netherlands.

About IEEE Software

IEEE Software magazine delivers reliable, useful, leading-edge software development information to keep engineers and managers abreast of rapid technology change, especially regarding their application in practice. Its peer-reviewed articles and columns by real-world experts illuminate all aspects of the industry, including process improvement, project management, development tools, software maintenance, Web applications and opportunities, testing, usability, and much more. The editorial and advisory board members of the magazine are real-world practitioners with many different areas of expertise.

About the IEEE Computer Society

The IEEE Computer Society is the world's leading computing membership organization and the trusted information and career-development source for a global workforce of technology leaders including: professors, researchers, software engineers, IT professionals, employers, and students. The unmatched source for technology information, inspiration, and collaboration, the IEEE Computer Society is the source that computing professionals trust to provide high-quality, state-of-the-art information on an on-demand basis. The Computer Society provides a wide range of forums for top minds to come together, including technical conferences, publications, and a comprehensive digital library, unique training webinars, professional training, and a Corporate Affiliate Program to help organizations increase their staff's technical knowledge and expertise. To find out more about the community for technology leaders, visit