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Dana Chisnell

Dana Chisnell

Dana has helped thousands of people learn how to make better design decisions by giving them the skills they need to gain knowledge about users.

She has observed hundreds of study participants for dozens of clients to learn about design issues in software, hardware, web sites, online services, games, and ballots, helping these organizations perform usability tests and user research to inform design decisions for products and services.

These days, her pet topics are election design, usable secruity, and researching social interactions mediated by technology.

She's the co-author, with Jeff Rubin, of Handbook of Usability Testing Second Edition (Wiley, 2008).


Damon Poole


Damon is Founder of Valtivity, an Agile coaching and training company specializing in helping companies discover and implement their ideal way of working.

He is author of the web book Do It Yourself Agile and a frequent speaker at Agile and Lean conferences.

He is co-founder and past Ceo of AccuRev.

More About Damon

Joseph Bowen

Joe Bowen

Joe is Desktop Engineering Manager at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, an Affiliate of Atrius Health.

He gets to deal with the deployment of software into the heavily regulated Healthcare world on a daily basis.

He is looking forward to providing valuable insights to improve the deployment experience.

More about Joe:

Russell Doty

Russell Doty

Russ is Strategic Marketing Manager at Red Hat, focusing on requirements for next generation Open Source products.

He studies working with the Open Source community, and helps Red Hat employees and partners understand the unique characteristics, rules, and dynamics of Open Source.

Who Should Attend

This seminar is designed for software practitioners, programmers, and designers. It is best suited to moderately experienced programmers, typically with 2-10 years of software development experience.

Why attend?

Learn things that you can't easily pick up on your own. Listen to people who have real world experience and are willing to share it with you. Meet with your peers.

If you are old school, you probably consider face to face a great way to learn. If you are new school, give it a try!

You Will Receive

Your registration includes a full day of presentations and workshops.

Why This Program?

Students graduate from college with a substantial base of theoretical knowledge, but a limited base of the practical knowledge needed by industry.

In fact, some things that are norms in industry may actually be forbidden in school – things such as team programming or copying and modifying existing code from books or the internet. Further, schools typically do not cover key issues such as dealing with legacy code, automated build systems, or practical testing.

In addition to technical challenges, new graduates typically don't have a good appreciation for project scheduling, product lifecycles, teamwork, dealing with other organizations (such as QA), or requirements definition.

To address this, at GBC/ACM we are implementing a program focused on the needs of the Journeyman Programmer.

Journeyman Programmers

Journeyman comes from the world of guilds and crafts, where workers were classified as apprentice, journeyman, or master. An apprentice was the lowest rung, someone who was being trained. An apprentice required close supervision on most tasks, and could do little by themselves.

A master was an expert at the craft, qualified to do everything, supervised journeymen, and often worked independently.

A journeyman was in the middle. They had mastered the basics of the craft and were able to work with minimal supervision. However, they still required some supervision, were developing expertise and knowledge, and were not ready to work independently.

Loosely defined, a Journeyman Programmer is someone with 2-10 years of industry experience. They have mastered the basics of coding, and can do productive work. However, they have not mastered the big picture, are still learning, and can improve their skills in many areas.

Journeyman Program

GBC/ACM is implementing a program to meet the needs of Journeyman Programmers. This seminar is part of a series that deal with real world issues encountered by mid-career software developers.

Printable Flier

Seminar Printable Flier

Programming - More Than Coding

Follow Your Dreams in Four Parts

Thank you for attending!

When: May 19, 2012

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Cost: $30.00
Includes breakfast, lunch & parking

Post-seminar Update

The seminar was a success. All of the speakers had good questions and interaction with the audience. See each topic for a downloadable copy of the slides.

Programming - A Dream or a Rut?

Coding is the foundation of software development, but is only part of the story. To move ahead in your career - or to have fun programming - you need the opportunity to work in areas you like, to try new things, and to grow professionally and personally.

This can be a challenge - especially if you are working on the same code day after day. Join us at Harvard and extend your horizons with this four part session on Programming - More Than Coding:


Open Source Software For Fun And Profit

Open Source can be the best way to develop new skills and even get a job! Open Source is often a closed community. Russ explains the ground rules to join and benefit from one of the most exciting areas of technology.

Users - Those Mysterious Creatures at the Other End of the Mouse

With the proper approach, users are allies, not enemies. Dana has a solid plan for using users to make your software better.

10 Habits of the Effective Agile Programmer

Tired of the management buzzword Agile? Does scrum make you scream? Damon introduces the solid core of Agile that you can actually use and makes you a better programmer.

What were they thinking? The Trials and Tribulations of Implementing Software in a Healthcare Environment

Joe spends every day deploying and supporting software in a healthcare environment. He has some words for you...

Open Source Software For Fun And Profit

Russell Doty


Want a job? Get experience! Want experience? Get a job!

How do you get a job in software development? If you have a job, how do you get a better one? How do you learn a new field? How do you get a chance to do new things that aren't part of your current job? And how do you get recognition for your skills and abilities?

We let you in on a secret: How to do anything and everything in software development. How to work with some of the brightest people on the planet. How to prove yourself, get recognized, and have a solid programming portfolio you can show anyone. In fact, how to get the attention of hiring managers.

Where does the fun come in? If you are here, we assume you enjoy programming! We will show you how to get involved with the most exciting development projects around, not just the projects you are assigned to. How to do the things that interest you, not just the tasks you are assigned.

Interested? Its not for everyone. You have to be self motivated. You have to prove yourself. While you have to have skills, we will show you how to develop them.

We're talking about Open Source Software. It is a whole new world. We will show you:

  • What Open Source Software is and why it is driving a revolution in computing.
  • How you can benefit from participating in Open Source Software - develop skills, have fun, show what you can do.
  • How to get started. What to do, what to avoid.
  • Learn the culture of Open Source. How to play in this challenging and stimulating sandbox.
  • How to join an Open Source project. What is expected from you, what to expect from others.
  • The technology of Open Source. Yes, you have access to all the source. Now what?
  • Here there be dragons. Dealing with the personalities and behaviors in the Open Source community.
  • They rejected my code. And said unkind things about me! Yup, happens. That's why you need to attend this session.
  • How to parlay Open Source participation into your dream job.

There is a saying that Open Source is a full contact sport, dominated by "Alpha Geeks" with big egos and limited social skills. We will show you how to participate with minimum damage and maximum results. With these lessons from the inside, you won't be an outsider!

Users - Those Mysterious Creatures at the Other End of the Mouse

Dana Chisnell


Users are mysterious beings. You never know what they are going to do. But you just know they are going to mess up and have trouble with your software... And blame you!

It doesn't have to be like this. Users are another part of the problem space - something to be studied, analyzed, and modeled. Something you can plan for rather than fear. Someone you can help, rather than a malevolent force just waiting to zap you.

Yes, users can be your friends!

In this session you learn how to factor in users as part of your overall design process. How to plan for them. How to work with them - think of it as "beta testing your wetware".

  • Whose line is it, anyway? Key questions about users
  • What matters: Attitude, aptitude, ability
  • Whose task is it? Modeling users
  • Translating the model to functionality and design
  • Demographics lie, users change over time, and empathy isn't enough

10 Habits of the Effective Agile Programmer

Damon Poole


Agile Development - isn't that the latest management buzzword to be inflicted on teams of hapless and helpless programmers? No, of course not!

OK, Agile Development has become a bit of a buzzword. And implementing scrum because it was in an airline magazine your VP read is a bad idea. And, yes, Agile is usually team and process focused.

But at the core of Agile, when you strip away the buzzwords and consultant frameworks, is a solid kernel of things that will make your life better as an individual programmer. We call these the Habits of an Agile Programmer, but they are techniques that can be applied anywhere..

No BS. No 12 step programs. No requirements to adopt a complete methodology. Just a set of solid techniques that will make you a better software developer.

Whether you are on an Agile team or not, you can improve your own situation by adopting the habits of an Agile programmer. The more you adopt these habits, the better off you and those you interact with will be and the more likely that these good Agile and Lean development habits will spread. Key agile habits include:

  • Reverse engineering requirements into user stories
  • Creating your own backlog
  • Splitting user stories
  • Limiting work in progress
  • Writing unit tests
  • Refactoring your code.

In this session we will go through each habit in turn, learning what they are and how to apply them with hands-on paper & pencil exercises. All materials will be provided

What were they thinking? The Trials and Tribulations of Implementing Software in a Healthcare Environment

Joe Bowen


Writing applications is one thing. Deploying and supporting them in the healthcare world is another. That's what I do every day.

Let me tell you what you are doing to me. What the impact is - on me, on your customers, and on the people in the Dr.'s office.  And I've got a few observations on how you can make life better for everyone.

This presentation addresses the trials and tribulations of implementing software applications to Windows based hardware systems.  I will review in detail small scale to enterprise-scale deployments and the challenges faced by each type.  The discussion will center around how software design plays a key role in the success or failure of an implementation and how it ultimately affects the reputation of the companies that sell the product.

The bulk of the presentation will be centered around the deployment of software in the heavily regulated Healthcare world, but I will also include items relative to my other experiences outside of Healthcare. Many of the challenges are the same.

Topic 1:  What were they thinking?

Examples  and discussion of software designs that wreak havoc on deployment teams.

Topic 2:  Why did they sell it this way?

Examples and discussion of false promises from Salespeople that Software Developers have to live with.

Topic 3:  Challenges of small-scale vs. enterprise-scale deployments

Examples and discussion of when things went right and when things went wrong during implementations

Topic 4:  Reputation building - the Software Developer's role

Suggestions of what Developers can do to make their product look good post-sale and keep customers from going elsewhere.