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Solutions Workshops

Solutions Workshops are intense and highly interactive workshops that provide a unique opportunity for you to work in a facilitated environment with a track industry expert and corporate practitioner as well as with your peers from other companies.  Collective skills and knowledge will be leveraged to develop pragmatic and achievable solutions to top issues in today's quality environment.  The inputs to this workshop will be the uppermost concerns gathered during the track sessions.  Using QAI's "three-cubed" facilitation approach, workshop groups will discuss, prepare, and share proposed solutions. You will leave the workshop with practical and actionable answers to today's most critical challenges.

Action Planning Workshops

Higher levels of software quality are achieved through a combination of skilled people, repeatable processes, and the effective use of technology or tools.  The action planning workshops provide insight into approaches for improving processes, building professional knowledge, increasing personal effectiveness in working with others, and increasing the use of automated tools to support quality and testing processes. Based on the insights gained, the participants will have an opportunity in these workshops to build their own individual action plans to take back to the office and begin to act upon right after the conference.

*You can jump ahead to any selection by clicking the WORKSHOP, DATE or the session TITLE

Solutions Workshops - WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30

Managing Software Quality and Test Solutions Workshop
Facilitated by Kim MacDonald, Office Max, Inc.

Track 1: 3:00 - 4:00

The Managing Software Quality and Test Solutions Workshop focuses on the top challenges of managing a testing team in today's fast paced and demanding environment. Management Track industry expert, Steven Rakitin, President of Software Quality Consulting and author of Software Verification & Validation for Practitioners and Managers along with corporate practitioner, Julie Marzano from AT&T will work together with you to address the difficulties inherent in this area of the testing arena. 

About the facilitator ...
Kim MacDonald, CSTE, CSQA, and PMP, is currently the Senior Manager of IT Quality Management at OfficeMax, Inc. She began her career in Quality over fifteen years ago and has worked in various roles within IT organizations.  Kim leads efforts in managing quality, building processes, and mentoring teams in quality practices for OfficeMax, Inc.  She is dedicated to helping others achieve their certifications in quality and has been serving as the Director of Certifications for the Chicago Quality Assurance Association for more than five years.  Kim has shared successful and innovative techniques at local and international quality conferences.

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Better Test Planning Solutions Workshop
Facilitated by Tim Pelland, Quality Assurance Institute

Track 2: 3:00- 4:00

In the Test Planning Solutions Workshop, the spotlight will fall on the difficulties of planning the testing effort to meet schedule, cost, and test coverage goals set forth within the demands of the overall project and business needs.  The Test Planning Track industry expert, Ross Fraser from Deloitte Touche Tomatsu, and corporate practitioner, Brian Dodsworth from U.S. Cellular will be on hand to assist in formulating ideas that will help to meet the challenges created by the test planning cycle.

About the facilitator...
Tim Pelland, CSTE, CSQA and Certified Microsoft Office User Specialist, is the Director of Technology and Education Services at the Quality Assurance Institute.  He has over twenty-eight years of experience in the telecommunications and computer industry with over seventeen years as a trainer of various hardware and software products.  Tim has also worked as a Web developer and tester of various Web based products.  Tim teaches QAI's Boot Camp for Software Quality, Boot Camp for Software Testers, and Effective Methods of Software Testing, Risk, and Reviews during Software Development. Additionally, he teaches the entire catalogue of on-line quality and testing courses through St. Petersburg College in Florida.

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Building Effective Measurement Solutions Workshop
Facilitated by Nancy Kastl, Kaslen Group, Inc.

Track 3: 3:00 - 4:00

Measurement track industry expert, Barbara Ainsworth, Managing Member and Principal Consultant for Process Plus International LLC, and corporate practitioner Sharon Reinhard from Aspen Marketing Services join you and your peers in developing responses to the demands of implementing effective quality and testing measurements that demonstrate the value of quality and testing activities and are useful in managing these activities.  These are also the measurements that can and do drive process improvement.

About the facilitator ...
Nancy Kastl, CSQA, is President of the Kaslen Group, a Chicago based IT consulting firm. She is an accomplished professional with over twenty-five years experience as a consultant, manager, facilitator, and instructor. She brings her expertise to management teams in strategic planning, measurement, quality management, software testing, process re-engineering, program management offices, and project management. She is a former VP of Quality Assurance at Harris Bank and is the founder and President of the Chicago Quality Assurance Association. Nancy is a frequent conference speaker and has served on the Purdue University's IT Advisory Committee.

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Challenges of Test Automation Solutions Workshop
Facilitated by Molly Byer, Technisource

Track 4: 3:00 - 4:00

The complexities of the test automation process will be explored in the Test Automation Solutions Workshop. Test automation track industry expert Bob Crews, President of Checkpoint Technologies, Inc., and Shalla Goyal, corporate practitioner from Allstate Insurance will participate in this workshop aimed at uncovering simple and practical approaches to solving the more problematic issues associated with this intricate topic.

About the facilitator...
Molly Byer, PMP, CSQA, and CSTE, is a Solution Director for Spherion with over 20 years experience in Information Technology supporting a wide range of industries including government, retail, healthcare, energy, manufacturing, financial, insurance, and software development.  Molly has demonstrated strengths in project management, risk management, quality and performance improvement, business analysis and business process improvements, and independent validation and verification.  She is President of the Houston Software Quality Association and has coached, mentored, and trained organizations and colleagues in quality best practices across the full life cycle.

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Action Planning Workshops - FRIDAY, MAY 2

Career Development: Achieving and Retaining Your Certification Workshop
Kim MacDonald and Andrea Warner, CQAA

Track 1: 1:30 - 3:00

In today's competitive IT industry, the ability to distinguish yourself within your profession is mandatory. Acquiring the designation of Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA) or Certified Software Tester (CSTE) indicates a professional level of competence in the principles and practices of quality assurance within the
IT profession.  Certified individuals gain recognition as software quality professionals, the potential to achieve more rapid career advancement, and gain greater acceptance in their role as advisor to management.  This planning workshop will focus on various certification opportunities and the value of certification.  You will gain practical advice on the certification preparation process including selecting a certification, what pre-requisites are needed, costs associated with certification, preparing for the exam, test preparation courses, and test taking tips.  You will also learn about various options for maintaining your certifications and the current guidelines for recertifying.  Finally, you will have the opportunity to develop your own individual action plan for obtaining and retaining your certification.

About the workshop leaders ...
Kim MacDonald, CSTE, CSQA, and PMP, is currently the Senior Manager of IT Quality Management at OfficeMax, Inc. She began her career in Quality over fifteen years ago and has worked in various roles within IT organizations.  Kim leads efforts in managing quality, building processes, and mentoring teams in quality practices for OfficeMax, Inc.  She is dedicated to helping others achieve their certifications in quality and has been serving as the Director of Certifications for the Chicago Quality Assurance Association for more than five years.  Kim has shared successful and innovative techniques at local and international quality conferences.

Andrea Warner, CSTE, has been involved with Quality Control for the past nine years, serving as a tester and team leader, and most recently as Manager of Allstate's Quality Control Center of Excellence.  Andrea has been very involved in professional certifications and helps others prepare for and retain their certification.  At Allstate, she conducts CSTE/CSQA kick-off meetings to help others learn more about exam preparation.  She also holds Lunch-n-Learns to explain ways to obtain recertification credit and how to fill out the required paperwork for recertification.  Allstate has been the host of the Chicagoland CSTE/CSQA examination for the past three years.  During this time, Andrea has coordinated all hosting activities.

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IDEAL Six Sigma Process Improvement Planning Workshop
Paul I. Pazderski, Software Process Consultant, Inc.

Track 2: 1:30 - 3:00

This hands-on, practical, action planning workshop for process improvement will cover two models: IDEAL and Six-Sigma.  IDEAL, developed by the SEI, is an organizational improvement model that serves as a roadmap for a usable, understandable approach to continuous improvement by outlining the steps necessary to establish a successful improvement program.  It is named for the five phases it describes: initiating, diagnosing, establishing, acting, and learning.  The 6σ model, developed at Motorola, is based on the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle identified by Edward Deming.   It is an iterative, four-step, problem-solving process used in quality and process improvement based in data measurement.  In this workshop, we will discuss how to apply these two models to address the difficulties inherent in implementing a process improvement program.  Participants will create an action plan for building a process improvement process for their individual organizations.

About the workshop leader...
Paul I. Pazderski, Software Process Consultant (Inc.), consults, supports, and works with clients on products, systems, and processes related to information systems.   His portfolio ranges from small programming firms of 12 engineers to fortune 500 companies including AT&T, State Farm, Motorola, Abbott Labs, and McDonald's.   He originally developed his skills at Motorola and currently consults with the Primex Family of Companies.   His education includes a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in EE/C and a master of science from IIT in E/CS.   Paul's professional certifications include Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA) and Organizational Development and Change Management from Benedictine University.

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More Than a Good Idea: The Role of Influence in Quality Assurance Workshop
Susan L. Slater, PhD and Phillip G. Armour, Corvus International Inc.

Track 3: 1:30 - 3:00

Software quality assurance professionals are smart people, and usually very rational.  The ideas we create, share, and try to implement are clearly good ideas.  So, why is it so difficult to get people to act on them?  It would be nice if having a good idea were enough to change the way people behave, but it is not.   Research in psychology shows that there are different levels at which we must communicate to alter peoples' behavior, to influence them. This workshop presents a model of human problem-solving and describes "levels of influence."  Attendees will self-assess their personal style, share influencing ideas based on these styles, and create an action plan to more effectively persuade and win over colleagues and key decision makers in their workplace.

About the workshop leaders...
Susan Slater has over twenty years of consulting experience with corporate and health care clients in the United States, Europe, Asia, India, and Africa.  Susan has designed and implemented many organizational and executive assessment programs, and has served as an executive coach for individuals the at vice president and director levels in a variety of organizations.  She has also developed and run executive level retreats and institutes for Disneyland, CDW, Alexian Brothers Medical Center, Pathogenesis, and Motorola. Susan holds a master's degree and a PhD in Industrial Psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Phil Armour has been a programmer, analyst, project manager, DBA, architect, process engineer, tester, metrics analyst, consultant, and executive coach over the past thirty four years.  In the last fifteen years, Phil has personally taught software development techniques and management principles to over 20,000 engineers, managers, and executives.  Phil is a contributing editor at ACM's Communications of the ACM penning a regular column entitled "The Business of Software" where he explores issues in modern software development.  He is also the author of the book The Laws of Software Process  He is a member of ACM, IEEE, and PMI.

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Improving the Value of Automated Tools Workshop
Barbara Martens, Compuware Corporation

Track 4: 1:30 - 3:00

Automated tools that support the software development and testing life cycle are often brought into an organization as the ‘silver bullet' to accelerate software delivery by reducing manual effort, providing structure to activities, and having a common knowledge repository for artifacts and measurements.  These sometimes expensive silver bullets can become shelf-wear.  Implementation activities must be planned that address both building the staff's technical skills to effectively use the tool as well as motivating the staff to adapt to new ways of performing their work. This workshop presents the components of an effective automated tool implementation plan along with a way to assess your current or past implementation of automated tools.  In this workshop, you will self-assess your organization and create an action plan for addressing the gaps and shortcomings in your current use of automated tools.

About the workshop leader...
Barbara Martens has over thirty years of experience in the Information Technology Industry.  She has worked as a program manager, project manager, and testing manager and coordinator in the financial services, manufacturing, communications, and utilities industries.  Barbara has significant background in project management, methodologies, and training.  Her interest in software testing, program and project management, and measurement and metrics has blended into a solid view of successful IT management overall.  Barbara is currently the Solutions Director for the Schaumburg Compuware branch.

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