The CT-SPIN Steering Committee is a group of volunteers with an interest in software process improvement and software in general.
I used to work for myself as Naga. I worked with small companies, helping them start or improve their web presence in a way that let them have control over the content. This mostly meant setting them up with WordPress and putting together all the add-ons they need. I like working with small businesses because it’s easy to make a real difference. I currently work at Unboxed Consulting.
After obtaining my MMath from the University of Sussex I worked in the finance business for a few years before moving to Cape Town in 2005 and opening a retail business. I started doing web development as a sideline, but enjoyed it so much that I quickly moved into it full time.
I’m interested in promoting the One Web approach: people should be able to access all of a web site quickly and easily, regardless of the device they’re using, the type of connection they are on, or any disabilities they have. Recently this has meant I have been focusing on mobile, particularly the lower end of the scale that’s relevant to South Africa. This is a great foundation for building code that is light, robust, and will flow well into whatever containers the web goes into next.
I’m also keen to bring more modern and solid software processes into the smaller business web development world. Even simple tweaks to existing workflows, based on larger-scale processes, can make people happier and more productive.
I think SPIN helps the community by providing exposure to a broad range of approaches and process, which makes for a more balanced view and a better software professional. On a personal level, I enjoy interacting with people from different experience levels and backgrounds.
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.
Since Jan 2011 I have been the CTO of Nomanini Mobile Vending, a Cape Town based startup that has developed a low cost point of sale terminal for use in informal markets. I lead a highly skilled, cross-functional technical team consisting of electronic engineers, embedded firmware and server back-end developers, consulting industrial designers and manufacturing partners. We use tenets from XP, TDD, Scrum and lately Kanban; all of our hardware and software is under CI; and we are pushing toward continuous delivery (CD) in to the embedded environment. My daily job consists of a mix of product manager, product owner, scrum master, internal technical evangelist, mentor and software developer.
My first start-up was One Over Zero Product Development. Some friends and I found an angel investor and formed the company several weeks after graduating from UCT in 2004 with a with BSc in electro-mechanical engineering. We offered a one-stop design shop for entrepreneurs who had an idea but not the technical knowledge to develop their own product. One Over Zero cultivated my passion for product development and embedded systems.
I’ve also put my mechanical engineering skills to work for three years as a project and design engineer building and commissioning a steel rolling mill. During that time I spearheaded the development of the factory’s maintenance planning software, acting as the product owner for the client.
I am a strong proponent of agile project management, lean product development, self managing teams and pride in ones craft; I believe in creating amazing products by helping teams perform at their best. I lead from the front and live for continuous improvement.
I have learnt so much from others who have shared their experiences through books, blogs and talks and I think it’s about time I started giving back to the community.
Johan Nilsson works as a Senior Developer at Polymorph. His interests in Software development are broad and range from user interfaces and UX to server side processing, frameworks and the development process and practices in general.
Johan has 15+ years experience spanning the whole software development process from analysis and design to implementation. He is currently involved with mobile- and web-development but has also worked 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.
SPIN is a great for networking, sharing ideas and keeping up to date with the trends in the industry and in the Western Cape. It provides a platform to share experiences and exchange ideas about software development and processes. SPIN has also proven to be a fantastic opportunity to meet with other like minded people (Nothing beats face time). In his opinion, arranging interesting presentations is key; it makes more people attend the monthly meeting and SPIN can then attract more interesting speakers!
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 at Actualiser. 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.