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Keynote Addresses

I've been honored to keynote at numerous conferences including OOPSLA, Scrum Gathering, Construx Software Executive Summit, Software Development, SSTC, SEPG, SoftEd, CSEE&T, PNSQC, WinDev, ASM/SM, Technicon, and many others in North America and throughout the world. I have also given keynotes for software organizations' in-house conferences. Please contact seminars@construx.com to inquire about these talks.

I also give presentations in Construx's public seminar series.

Here are some of my keynote topics.

STRANGER THAN FICTION: CASE STUDIES IN SOFTWARE ENGINEERING JUDGMENT
High-profile software project disasters have been commonplace for decades. Failed projects are followed by hand-wringing and cries of, "Where did we go wrong?" The people involved in the failed projects seem unable to determine the root causes of failure. Post mortem analyses typically settle on conspicuously incorrect answers, such as "We didn't test enough," "We should have been more agile," or "We should have motivated our staff better." The topic of judgment is ignored in the software engineering literature, yet development of sound professional judgment is key to correct and useful diagnoses of past failures and essential to creating future successes. In this talk, award-winning author Steve McConnell uses the "Four Core Influences" framework from his upcoming book, Software Engineering Essentials, to dissect published reports of software project outcomes. He demonstrates how to use sound software engineering judgment to vastly improve understanding of software project dynamics, which in turn leads to correct diagnosis of failure, more effective corrective actions for projects already underway, and a significantly improved chance of success on every project.

SEVEN DIAGRAMS EVERY SOFTWARE PROFESSIONAL SHOULD UNDERSTAND
What makes Agile projects succeed some times and Waterfall projects succeed other times? How can you assess the real value of software development's next hot topic? How can you tell whether your project will be successful? Sometimes a picture truly is worth 1000 words. In this talk, award-winning author Steve McConnell presents a complete model of software engineering in seven essential diagrams--diagrams that collectively explain software quality, software requirements and design, Agile development and Waterfall development; risk management, and many other essential software topics.

SOFTWARE ESTIMATION IN AN AGILE WORLD
"Agile projects can't be estimated accurately," some agile practitioners say. "Estimation is not Agile." Are they right? To take advantage of Agile development, do you have to give up the estimation that your business needs? In this talk, the award-winning author of Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art, cuts the Gordian knot of Agile Estimation. Differentiating between agile practice and agile culture, Steve McConnell describes common impediments to estimation on Agile projects, and he highlights key practices that lead to a Bold New World of Agile Software Estimation--providing far better results than were ever seen on waterfall projects.

MANAGING TECHNICAL DEBT
Most successful software development organizations accumulate at least some "technical debt"--shortcuts that were expedient at the time they were taken, but that create an ongoing maintenance obligation that slows future progress. Why does this always happen, and can it be avoided? When does it make sense to take on debt, and when should debt be avoided? Is all technical debt equal, or is some worse than others? How much debt is too much? And how do you get out of debt? Steve McConnell, the award winning author of Code Complete and Software Estimation addresses these questions and more in this cutting-edge technical presentation.

SECRETS OF WORLD-CLASS SOFTWARE ORGANIZATIONS
Construx consultants work with literally hundreds of software organizations each year. Among these organizations a few stand out as being truly world class. They are exceptional in their ability to meet their software development goals and exceptional in the contribution they make to their companies' overall business success. Do world class software organizations operate differently than average organizations? In Construx's experience, the answer is a resounding "YES." In this talk, award-winning author Steve McConnell reveals the technical, management, business, and cultural secrets that make a software organization world class. 

SEVEN UNBREAKABLE RULES OF SOFTWARE LEADERSHIP
Congratulations. You've earned a job as a software executive. Now what? Do you know what it takes to keep it? More important, do you know what it takes to excel? After more than 10 years of working with top software executives across a full spectrum of software-intensive industries, Steve McConnell has found a method for predicting which technical executives will be successful in their organizations and which will end up looking for different positions. McConnell describes the seven crucial rules that lead software executives first to satisfactory performance and ultimately to superior performance and superior results.

SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT'S CLASSIC MISTAKES
Classic mistakes are ineffective software development practices that have been chosen so often, by so many projects, with such predictable results that they deserve to be called classic mistakes. Steve McConnell first introduced this concept in Rapid Development in 1996. Construx recently updated McConnell's original list of classic mistakes and then conducted a survey to assess the prevalence and impact of these mistakes. In this executive briefing, Steve McConnell will share survey results--both expected and surprising--and analyze the survey findings.

10 MOST POWERFUL IDEAS IN SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
As software engineering approaches its 40th birthday, do we know which software engineering ideas matter most? In this talk, award-winning author Steve McConnell identifies 10 of the most powerful ideas in software engineering. McConnell explains how the 10 ideas form the foundation for effective software development, and he shows how practices ranging from the waterfall model to extreme programming measure up. He uses these key ideas to explain which currently popular software engineering practices will withstand the test of time, and which are fleeting fads. This talk will give software developers, QA specialists, and managers an opportunity to step back from the day-to-day rush of their work and gain insight into the key issues of software development.

CRITICAL SOFTWARE INSIGHTS FOR C-LEVEL EXECUTIVES
Technical staff complain that "management doesn't understand software development." What are the critical bits of software development knowledge that top executives need to know to support successful software development? Is it even true that C-level executives don't understand these important ideas? In this talk, Steve McConnell presents 7 critical concepts that top executives need to know to support software project success. He explores common miscommunications between executives and technical staff, and he explains how to communicate these insights to C-level executives in ways that will maximize their acceptance.

DEADLY SINS OF SOFTWARE ESTIMATION
The average project overruns its planned budget and schedule by more than 100 percent. In practice, little work is done that could truly be called "estimation." Many projects are scheduled using a combination of legitimate business targets and liberal doses of wishful thinking. In this talk, award-winning author Steve McConnell presents 10 of the worst ways estimates go wrong, and presents time-tested rules of thumb for dramatically improving estimation accuracy.

MYTHS OF RAPID DEVELOPMENT
The software industry commonly confuses high-energy motion with rapid, meaningful progress. Many projects are developed under intense schedule pressure and are still delivered late. This talk explores 10 myths of rapid development, digs into core issues of achieving short schedules, and explains how to lay the groundwork for truly effective software improvement. This talk is based on Steve McConnell's best selling books, "Rapid Development" and "Professional Software Development."

SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT'S LOW HANGING FRUIT
Everyone knows that better software development practices pay off in the long run, but what if you need improvements now? In this talk, award-winning author Steve McConnell describes strategies that produce improvements in schedule, quality, and development costs in the short term. McConnell identifies the specific technical practices that produce the highest returns on investment, the lowest risks of adoption, and the shortest paths to more successful software projects. McConnell describes the theory behind short-term vs. long-term improvement strategies and presents tips for maximizing your chances of success in adopting these strategies.

BUSINESS CASE FOR IMPROVED SOFTWARE PRACTICES
The average software company spends 2-3 times as much on each software project as best-in-class companies spend to deliver similar capabilities. The average organizations wastes 25% or more of its software budget on projects that are ultimately cancelled. Technical staff members are all-too-aware of the need for improved practices. But how do you make the case to upper management? In this talk, best selling author and industry leader Steve McConnell explains the dollars and cents of software process improvement and maps out the need for improved practices in a way that is meaningful to business executives.

KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL SOFTWARE PROJECTS: AN EXECUTIVE GUIDE
The causes of a successful software project are not a mystery. Leading organizations have been delivering software on time and within budget for years, but many other companies still fail on even simple projects. In this talk, award-winning author Steve McConnell describes 10 time-tested practices you can use to control your software projects. Battle-seasoned software veterans will find this talk an entertaining refresher course in effective software practices. Software beginners will find this talk to be an eye opening introduction to the factors that determine software project outcomes.

AFTER THE GOLD RUSH: ESTABLISHING A TRUE PROFESSION OF SOFTWARE ENGINEERING
Award-winning author Steve McConnell offers candid reflections upon and a look ahead at the software engineering profession. This talk highlights critical trends and calls for a more rigorous and standards-based profession. McConnell delivers a lively and provocative narrative that aims to help software developers step back from the day-to-day rush of their work and think about where their careers and the industry are going.

Please contact seminars@construx.com to inquire about any of these talks.

Email me at stevemcc@construx.com.