ENGAGE selected

Our finished European INTERREG 4C Project ENGAGE logois selected to represent the INTERREG 4C program (now INTERREG Europe) on the 25 years anniversary of the INTERREG program. The event will take place 15.-16.9.2015 in Luxembourg and ENGAGE will be presented during the “Project Slam”. The draft program of this event can be found here.

Among others the project was selected because of its “outstanding” and “cutting-edge” communication strategy with “high reach into politics”. Together with our regional partners from eventfive we were responsible for the planning and implementation of the project communication strategy.

SPICE Conference 2015

IMG_1675The 15th International SPICE Conference (http://www.spiceconference.com) took place at the Conference Centre Wallenberg in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden in during 16-17June 2015 proceeded by a workshops and tutorials day on 15 June 2015. The conference was co-located with the 1st International Workshop on Software Process Education, Training and Professionalism, which took place on the 15 June 2015 (http://www.iwspetp.com).

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Alec Dorling is welcome the participants and is opening the Conference.

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Conference participants arriving after the coffee break

Dr. Michael Boronowsky from the Innovation Capability Center was attending this international event to meet colleagues from the software process community. It was also the family event of the ISO/IEC 15504 SPICE community, the international standard that is the base for the innoSPICE process reference model. During the conference several scientific publications were presented and three very interesting key note presentations were given. There were several trends in the different presentations, like “how to ensure process improvement after assessments”, “agile software development methods and the relation to ISO/IEC 15504”, “the new process reference model MDevSPICE for medical device software”, “process models for very small entities VSE” and the non-engineering oriented reference models like a improvement method for the Government domain. Generally it became clear that ISO/IEC 15504 (and 330xx) is still not at its end, it feels that the success story will continue. Around the keynote presentation of Anna Sandberg from Ericsson regarding he science-industry interface it became obvious that this topic has a strong interest in the SPICE community. This is a positive development as innoSPICE is focussing on the improvement organizational capability at the science-indusry interface and discussion showed that this area also has a increasing relevance for the community.

At the end Jorn Jonansen form Whitebox was summarizing the co-located 1st International Workshop on Software Process Education, Training and Professionalism – and introduced the development of an Manifesto in this area. This will be work for the SPICE community in the coming month – one of the important goal is to increase the awareness of software processes in education but also to professionalize the relation between management and developers etc.

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Conference dinner at the River Restaurant in Gothenborg – a great choice for a social event

It was a very nice event and the conference dinner was on a very high level and the mood of all participants was very positive. Gothenburg was presenting itself at least on the 1st and 2nd day from its best side – with beautiful wetter and getting close to midsummer. Only the 3rd conference day was a very very rainy day – “welcome to the real Gothenburg” i was told by the Taxi driver.

The next SPICE conference in 2016 will take place in Turkey – happy meeting you again!

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Gothenburg, close to mid summer -at the end of a long conference day

The second RAMSES training workshop took place

IMG_1525The second RAMSES training workshop took place in Cairo from 6.-12.6.2015 and was performed by Dr. Michael Boronowsky from the Innovation Capability Center, University Bremen. The first goal for this training session was to give an introduction to the collaboration tools that were selected for the RAMSES project. A shared document space in the cloud and several shared Google-sheets are used to synchronize the trainings and the “homework”.

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Dr. Michael Boronowsky introduces innoSPICE at Cairo University

One of these sheets has a representation of the innoSPICE model and the trainees will develop “translation” and explanations of the different processes and practices in the terminology and specific cultures of their faculties during the project. The innoSPICE training started with a set of pictures showing different collection of gears. Dr. Boronowsky explained the analogies of these assemblies with different types of organization. Another set of pictures showing plugs and devices was used to illustrate the relation of individual skills and the capability of an organization.

The innoSPICE training was focussing to improve the self study capabilities of the trainees. General difficulties for the trainees are to deal with the very abstract process descriptions and to relate them to real world process implementations. Dr. Boronowsky explained the motivation and the need of the abstraction in the standard based innoSPICE model, followed by a very active discussion of the group. To understand the meaning of a process it is important to catch the intention why such a function might be important inside an organization. The descriptions of the process purpose or the individual base practices of a IMG_1474process are similar to the text of a law. A law often should allow to regulate certain behaviour in an abstract fashion. If it is too concrete, it will only be valid for the concrete case described in the law. So a law will generally be formulated to be valid for a certain class of cases, even for future ones. To understand a law it needs an interpretation. And to have a good interpretation for a law it is helpful to know the intention of the law, to realize why this specific regulation became relevant for society. Similar things can be said about the process descriptions in the innoSPICE model. And like a law – the intention is not written as part of the law, maybe it is documented or research work for historians. As innoSPICE is based on standard procedures in innovation, knowledge- and technology transfer it is much easier to derive the intention of the process.

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Part of the RAMSES team at Cairo University

The important learning goal for this training workshop is to motivate the trainees to think about the intention of the process and to use the available process descriptions to develop the requirements to fulfill this intention. This way the group work became very complex with several longer debates. The current training will help to increase the efficiency of these discussions in the future.

IMG_1476A second help for a better analysis of the individual processes was given during the training. Several processes are based on a similar pattern in the order of the base practices – they follow a Plan-Do-Check-and Act cycle. E.g. the innoSPICE Process DEV 5 (Prototype Development) – Base Practice BP1-BP4 are concentrated on the planning of the prototype, BP6-BP6 are related to the design and implementation of a prototype (so the “doing”) and BP7-BP8 are about test and evaluation (Check) and BP9-BP10 are preparing at least the improvement of the prototype (so a not fully implemented “Act”). The awareness of such a pattern is an important support in understanding the process. In addition a second pattern was presented, that can be found e.g. in TTD1 (Technology Transfer Concept). In this process the base practices are requiring the collection of individual information (BP1-BP7) and the last practice BP8 is the aggregation of the information that is collected before in a report (here BP8 – the technology transfer concept).

Beside this general aspects during the workshop DEV1 (Knowledge Creation Project Proposal Preparation). In this process there was a discussion e.g. to whom a proposal is submitted and other aspects like “according to programs objective” was clarified. DEV5 Prototype development was broadly discussed and the different types of prototypes were introduced (e.g. scientific prototype vs. industrial prototype). It was summarized, that a prototype is also a tool for communication with potential stakeholders – it is different to the prototype that was e.g. developed during the research. The prototype on DEV5 has the goal to transform the results into the context of an application, illustrating a function that is enabled by the research result.  As the Technology TransfIMG_1477er Concept (TTD1)  is very fundamental in the transfer chain and the trainees had several open questions, this process became the base for further discussions. Michael used this process and draw the relation to the prototype development process, to illustrated that these processes are in correspondence. It shows that there are interfaces between knowledge developer (the scientist) and the transfer drivers (e.g. technology transfer officers) – as prototype development can be supported by e.g. technology transfer office supporting the definition of features , definition of target groups etc. Same applies to knowledge creation processes DEV2,3,4.

The training workshop also had sessions with group work. The trainees were asked to present their descriptions of the TTD1 (Technology Transfer Concept) process. The groups were structured according to the different faculties and the individual presentation of the results made clear, that parts of the group were still oriented too strong in the wording of the process but the very activeIMG_1513 and intense discussion slowly generated the understanding  that the intention of the process is the better guide to learn the details of the processes.  The fourth day of the workshop started with a detailed discussion of the Work Environment process. The trainees developed a good understanding of this process quickly. Beside this several genreal aspects were discussed in this context, like:

  • Every process needs an responsible process owner. That does not mean that this person has to implement all practices. He or she has the responsibility to manage the process and ensure proper operation.
  • Several innoSPICE processes distinguish between maintenance of the plan and maintenance e.g. of the working environment  (so the implementation of the plan). It is important not to mix it up, as people maybe are aware to maintain the thing they directly connected with (like the work environment) but are not clear about update of the general plan.
  • To perform an assessment of an process you have not to be an full expert in the area being assest.
  • The processes in the innoSPICE model are a decomposition of activities within an organization related to innovation, knowledge- and technology transfer. According to the specific distribution of work and responsibilities within an organization, several innoSPICE processes can be (partially) executed  by a single person in the organization.

IMG_1527After this lightweight introduction for starting the day the trainees were facing the toughest challenge. The plan for this day was focused on the introduction to the universe of the Technology Transfer Driver processes (TTD1-TTD13). Even if the level of detail was very reduced it was hard stuff. The trainer Michael decided to give this introduction to explain how the individual processes are related to the innovation funnel. The individual processes have different functions at different phases of the innovation funnel. To understand the processes it is important to understand the innovation funnel and when a process is generally applied. However, the lecture was recorded, and Michael was referring several times that the trainees can look at the details again in the video. But he also promised to write down the details later on and make it available. The trainer had recommend the group to look for and study literature in the area of:

  • Innovation Managment (eg. http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-EHEP003053.html)
  • Market and Competitive Analysis
  • Go to Market estimation
  • Value proposition statement
  • Business plan and business case development

On the last day of the Workshop it is planned to discuss another 2-3 processes of the process reference model. Even if there is still a long way to go, the huge interest of the trainees in the particular topics and the active discussion of all participants is a positive motivation for the trainer but also for the trainees.

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Meeting at the presidents office. Prof. Nasser (middle), Prof. Ewiss (right) and Dr. Boronowsky (left)

The very intense workshop ended with a visit at the president office of Cairo University. Prof. Mohamed Ewiss and Dr. Michael Boronowsky informed the President Prof. Dr. Gaber Gad Nassar and the General Secretary of Cairo University, Yousry Ibrahim, about the progress of the RAMSES project. It was reported, that the trainees are very motivated and that they are very expertised to relate the processes in the innoSPICE model to the operation in the different faculties. According to the current state of discussion the innoSPICE approach is very suitable to be applied in the structures of Cairo University. The RAMSES project runs under direct responsibility of Prof. Nassar and he was satisfied about the state of implementation. It was agreed to communicate the RAMSES project also on a higher political level, as this project has the potential to generate an impact to the structure of the science system in Egypt. 

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