SPIN: Pitfalls of Iterative Development

Lois Zells, an international author, lecturer, and business consultant, will be presenting at our Atlanta SPIN (Software Process Improvement Network) meeting on Wednesday, March 14th, at 6:30pm. This will be a combined meeting with the AQAA (Atlanta Quality Assurance Association), and will be held at the Dunwoody Public Library.

The topic will be “Still Searching For the Silver Bullet: Pitfalls of RAD, Agile/XP and Other Forms of Iterative Development”

Abstract: In our never-ending search for faster, as well foolproof, ways of doing development, we continue to chase after promises that often fall short of expectations. Come hear Lois Zells give a brand new presentation about the project management pros and cons of RAD (Rapid Application Development,) Agile/XP, Evolutionary Development, Iterative Development, and Prototyping. Hear the latest on why these types of projects are still failing and how to avoid the pitfalls. Have a common sense discussion of how to manage realistic expectations before projects go awry. This session is apropos for all levels of the IS organization from analyst/programmer to CIO, from business unit user to business unit project participant, from project lead to program manager, albeit technical or non-technical..

Bio: Lois Zells is an international author, lecturer, and business consultant, specializing in software engineering consulting. A popular speaker at European and United States conferences, she has spoken at the American Society for Quality Control, The Quality Assurance Institute, the Association for Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Cap Gemini Institute, the Association for Systems Management, the Berlin COMPAS Expo, ComputerWorld Germany Software Forum For Europe, PC Expo, Cap Gemini London, Technology Transfer Institute America, Technology Transfer Italy, IBM’s Users Groups: Guide and Share, the Data Processing Financial Management Association, the Canadian Information Processing Society, the Project Management Institute, the Data Processing Management Association, the Federal Computer Conference, the Structured Development Forum, the Structured Techniques Association, the National Computer Conference, the AFIPS Office Automation Conference, the Year 2000 Conference & Expo, and Brainstorm Group’s Y2k Conference.

Ms. Zells is the Co-founder and Past Executive Advisory Chair for the 20,000-member Information Systems Specific Interest Group of the Project Management Institute, a worldwide organization of 80,000 plus members. She was honored as a PMI woman of the Year in 1993; and is co-honoree of the PMI Wilson/Zells Scholarship Fund.

Because of her acknowledged expertise in software engineering and project management, Ms. Zells frequently serves as an expert witness in multi-million dollar software litigations. She has also served as an examiner for the Arizona Statewide Baldridge Award and served for several years on the review committee for the revision of ISO 9000-3 (International Standard ISO/IEC 12207.)

Ms. Zells was also on the Advisory Board for PC Expo, one of the two largest PC conferences in the world. She has also served on the Board of Governors of the Brainstorm Group. Ms. Zells is the author of (and consultant in) several popular management workshops in strategic planning, project management, total quality management, strategic systems planning, process maturity assessments, systems development methodologies and techniques, business process re-engineering, and systems maintenance.

She has authored the best seller, “Managing Software Projects” and has published many articles in the major periodicals of the industry. For several years, Ms. Zells was a contributing editor for “Application Development Trends.” She is also the developer of the Total Quality Management seminar series “Software Excellence Through Total Quality Management.” Her most popular seminar series is the totally-integrated, three-tier learning program on software engineering project management called “Successful Projects: The Common Sense Approach.” Ms. Zells has written the introductory chapter for “Total Quality Management for Software,” published by Van Nostrand Reinhold and the information systems chapter for the AMA’s “Program and Project Handbook.” She is now also working on her second book: “The Practical Guide To Successful Projects.”

Ms. Zells has been a significant contributor and participant in a long-range strategic planning innovation search—sponsored by the Advanced Systems Concepts Office of the U.S. Army Information Systems Command and jointly managed by SRI International and Mandex, Inc.

Ms. Zells’ other clients range from the Fortune 100 firms to new start-up ventures and are spread across a broad array of industries. She has worked with a large international computer manufacturer, a major international steel manufacturer, several large nationwide insurance companies, an international telecommunications company, a major food processor, a large health-care provider, a major aerospace manufacturer, and two international electronics firms—in helping them to turn around and improve their software engineering processes, by defining their requirements for achieving software maturity and creating an environment conducive to successful high-quality projects, by also developing their software engineering and project management programs and seminars, and by consulting on several significant projects.

Highly specialized in Structured Analysis, Structured Design, and Structured Programming, she taught these subjects for five years at Phoenix College as well as for three and a half years with Yourdon, Inc. (an international seminars/consulting firm), where she also developed their popular project management curriculum, the Project Planning and Control Workshop. During this time, she was personally trained as a disciple of Ed Yourdon, Tom DeMarco, and Tim Lister: the leaders in the field. She has also used the structured techniques and various CASE tools on many projects that she either participated in, consulted on, or managed.

Ms. Zells graduated Summa Cum Laude in Data Processing Management from the University of Baltimore and did her master’s studies in Computer Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and Arizona State University.

Having served as consultant, department manager, project manager, systems analyst, operating systems programmer, and applications programmer/analyst, Ms. Zells has over twenty-five years in data processing. With many years of job-related experience in hospital applications, manufacturing applications, banking and finance, and with also 17 and 1/2 years in systems management consulting for the banking, insurance, and manufacturing industries as well as the government, she has managed the implementation of an in-house end-user time sharing company, office automation, strategic systems planning, business process re-engineering, a multimillion dollar client/server processing system, an interactive project control system, an automated teller machine network, a 100 station local and remote distributed customer information and network switching system for charge card data entry and authorizations, entree into charge card duality for MasterCard and Visa, and a patient billing system.

Ms. Zells has also managed the development of standards in project management, programming, documentation, change management, planning, prioritizing, and quality control. She has developed project estimates of time, resources, and dollars for small projects with a few hundred tasks to large projects with many thousands of tasks. Ms. Zells has worked extensively with a telecommunications company in helping them to turn around their declining business position by guiding them through an innovative strategic planning process and then repositioning their product distribution channels.

Ms. Zells has presented seminars in systems management for the personnel department of a large state agency, so that they could rewrite their existing job descriptions. She has also served on a federal government committee that was established for the purpose of evaluating job classifications as well as to aid in enlisting and keeping exceptional workers in government.


Ms. Zells is the author of (and consultant in) several popular management workshops in strategic planning, project management, contingency planning, litigation planning, total quality management and quality assurance, MIS planning for the corporate executive, software process maturity assessments, product development, business process re-engineering, selecting and implementing systems development methodologies and techniques, managing client-server development, managing emerging technologies, and systems maintenance.

Her most recent efforts include the new Managing Emerging Technologies and the Total Quality Management seminar series Excellence Through Performance and Excellence Through Total Quality Management. She has also authored the popular, totally-integrated, three-tier learning program on software engineering project management called Successful Projects: The Common Sense Approach.

She has authored the best seller, Managing Software Projects: Selecting And Using PC-Based Project Management Systems published by QED Information Sciences. Ms. Zells has written the introductory chapter for Total Quality Management for Software, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold and has contributed a chapter on Information Systems Project Management to The Program and Project Handbook, published by the American Management Association.

She has contributed to and published many articles in the major periodicals and proceedings of the industry such as Investor’s Business Daily, ComputerWorld, the National Computer Society Proceedings, the PMI National Symposia, PMI’s PMNet Journal, The Structured Techniques Association, ProjExpo, ACR’s Managing System Development, IEEE’s Software Process Improvement Conference Proceedings, The Federal Systems Journal, and Application Development Trends.


See you there!



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