The CT-SPIN Steering Committee is a group of volunteers with an interest in software process improvement and software in general.
Brenna Excell works as a Product Manager at Digiata Technology Services. It is a position that brings many new challenges but she enjoys the diversity of skills it requires. She has been at Digiata for 5 years, starting out as a Systems Analyst responsible for automating and integrating financial processes. These roles have given her a comprehensive understanding of the financial industry as well as the importance of good software design in implementing a complete and user-friendly solution.
Brenna obtained a BSc(Eng) Electrical from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2004 and briefly worked as an Engineer at Denel before moving to Cape Town in 2006. She has completed courses in SQL Server, Business Analysis, Project Management and UX design amongst others.
Product Management is a relatively new field in South Africa but a critical one in many businesses. It should bridge the gap between the users, UX designers, developers and other stakeholders while ensuring that the Product is still useful. It is only through organisations like Cape Town Spin that the networks and collaboration between the different software professionals can be built, ensuring that individual skills are improved and horizons are broadened and ultimately better software is designed.
Ideas. I love new innovative ideas. Since I founded Polymorph Systems in 2001, I also started learning how to turn ideas into products. More recently I discovered I actually have a great passion for teaching and enabling others to develop their full potential. I love to train others in something I know well, and instill in them the same passion I have for quality and efficient software development.
I was born in Bellville, South Africa, got a B.Com Honours degree in Computer Science at the University of Stellenbosch in 1997, and now live in the relaxing town of Worcester, South Africa.
I have specialized in Java development, specifically the complex world of user interfaces, and more recently started playing a lot more in the mobile space, including the very attractive iPhone development arena.
I am very passionate about creating quality software, and believe that in order to do that we must put people above processes, as the Agile Manifesto so clearly states. Improving the software development process is in a big part about getting the communications between people flowing, and keeping it flowing smoothly. CT-SPIN is a core ingredient in this approach. It brings together people from different wavelengths in the software spectrum, and allow us to exchange ideas, collaborate, and have fun while doing it.
I have met some great people at CT-SPIN, and got some excellent input, and would like to help other people also experience this.
Johan Nilsson works as a Senior Java Developer at INTEC in Newlands, Cape Town. His interests in Software development are broad and span from designing user interfaces to server side processing, frameworks and the development process and practices in general.
Johan has more than 14 years experience that covers the whole software development process from analysis and design to implementation. He has worked with IT in the insurance, financial and telecommunication industry. Johan, who is originally from Sweden, relocated to Cape Town in 2006 after spending several years in London.
He first started working with Client/Server and Windows development after spending most of his time at University on different UNIX systems. Later he moved in to working with Java, J2EE, web-development and related technologies and has been doing so for the past couple of years.
Johan went to university in Sweden and obtained a B Sc in Systems Programming.
SPIN is a great place to come to if you want to keep up to date with what is happening in the IT industry. It provides a platform to share experiences and exchange ideas about IT, software development and processes. SPIN has also proven to be a fantastic opportunity to network with other people in the IT industry. In his opinion, interesting presentations is key; it makes more people attend the monthly meeting and SPIN can then attract more interesting speakers! (Yes it is circular ;-))
Christian has been working for very small and not-so-small-anymore companies since 1994 in the IT industry in Germany (Planta, Algos), The Netherlands (Quintiq) and South Africa (IFS, MagmaTec, Alacrity). He enjoys supporting enterprise processes by IT, designs and creates software in complex environments.
Christian strives to write great code and to implement efficient software development methodologies in existing or new teams. He likes the challenges of leadership and motivation to achieve great performance.
Christian has an Honours Degree in Computer Science and Economics from the University of Mannheim, Germany.
The CT-SPIN meetings are an excellent chance to contact with like-minded individuals in the Cape Town IT industry, and they give food for thought through great presentations and conversations. Therefore, I’d like to continue giving something back, by nominating myself for the CT-SPIN committee.
My mission statement: Supporting processes by IT is what I am passionate about, and I believe that it is still a long way to go until IT is a real engineering discipline. Possibilities of technology today are mind blowing already, a lot more can be expected, and in order to master the complexities of change, advances in software development processes and smart communication are required. CT-SPIN fosters good communication and helps mastering these complexities, that’s why I am glad to be involved.
Jan is an independent electronic engineer, software developer and product manager. Previously, he was CTO at NioCAD, a Stellenbosch based startup company focusing on the development of electronic design automation tools for the superconductive integrated circuit industry. Before that, he worked as an engineering project manager at Stone Three, where he was primarily involved with the company’s research and development projects in the industrial segment.
He enjoys working in small, dynamic companies where one has the opportunity to get exposure to a wide array of activities in development, management, business and innovation.
Jan holds a masters degree in electronic engineering from the University of Stellenbosch. His interests include entrepreneurship, lean and agile businesses, signal processing, pattern recognition, artificial intelligence, complex systems, robotics, photography, brewing and astronomy. His personal website is at PshyMorphic.com. You can also find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Jan is interested in improving all aspects of the software development cycle. Better tools, processes, management and business practices are critical for long term success and competitiveness in the industry. He believes it is up to each and every software professional to constantly improve their skills; both by learning new technologies, refining existing skill sets and learning to communicate in their teams, organisation and with clients.
He sees the CT-SPIN as an important role player in fostering relationships among software professionals and in creating awareness of best software engineering tools, practices and processes. Through the monthly CT-SPIN meetings and on-line material the community can grow and learn together and faster.
He wants the industry to mature to a point where all stake-holders (investors, clients, managers and developers) are consistently satisfied with the industry’s image, performance and ethical practices.
Hendrik is a Mathematician who after completing his M.Sc. in Algebraic Logic made his way into the engineering world. He started his career at a company that developed telecommunications software implementing various protocols residing mainly on the data link and network layers of the OSI model. He certified various protocol stacks on a number of real time operating systems.
He was then given the opportunity to work on the Southern African Large Telescope, on which he was the lead developer of the telescope control software. After a short stint in financial software he ended up at Optimal Energy where he is now the software technical lead on the Joule – South Africa’s battery powered electric car.
I believe there is a somewhat artificial divide between embedded and application software development and that due to this divide there is a lot of cross-pollination that is lost between the two worlds. They each have very different environments and challenges that they face but as much as embedded developers can learn from the processes that the agile community has developed so application developers can learn from the more “traditional” engineering approach and so give more credence to the title software engineer.