MSE Seminar Tour provides critical link between university and industry

MSE Seminar Tour Every year, Paulo Marques, coordinator of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal / Universidade de Coimbra Master in Software Engineering (MSE) Programs, and his team organizes a Seminar Tour about Software Development. Between October and December of 2009, the MSE Seminar Tour was attended by more than 200 professionals and touched cross-sectional issues such as: Risk Management for Software Projects, Agile Software Development with SCRUM, Dynamic Teams and Groups, Software Development Methodologies. 

Q. The MSE Program organizes a Seminar Tour about Software Development. What is the importance of organizing this kind of event in Porto and Lisbon? What were the main goals?
A.
Every year the Master of Software Engineering organizes a seminar tour about “hot and current topics on software engineering.” These [tours] are directed at software professionals in industry. The objectives are twofold: on one hand, it allows us to interact with industry and try to pass on the current best practices and state-of-the-art knowledge in the area. Thus, in a very direct way, we are trying to improve how software and innovation is done in our economic fabric. On the other hand, it allows us to promote the MSE program and show the relevance of having professionals enroll and do this Carnegie Mellon | Portugal [professional] master’s program.

Q. The Seminars touched very cross-sectional issues. Is there a reason for this?
A.
When you develop software there are three main components that must be in place for a project to be successful: technology, people and processes. In fact, may times projects fail not due to technology but do to improper management of people (e.g., customer expectations and relationship, team dynamics, interactions with management, conflict mitigation) and processes (e.g., not systematically doing quality assurance, tracking project progress, risk management and mitigation, etc.). As the MSE programs train professionals for assuming key roles as team leaders, project managers, and software architects, it’s only natural that we put a great emphasis on people and process.

Q. Some seminars occurred at companies, like PT Inovação or Novabase, . What was this experience like?
A.
It’s true. We did specific seminars for PT (both PT-SI and PT-Inovação) and Novabase employees. It is always thrilling to see companies recognizing and investing so heavily in advanced training. Only by having the best professionals and the best knowledge are companies able to succeed in today’s competitive world. PT and Novabase, not to mention the other industrial affiliates, are exemplary in that regard. We are thrilled to collaborate with them.

Q. Do you intend to do something similar next year?
A.
Sure. If anything, this initiative is only going to grow. It provides us with a critical link to interact with industry and act as agents of change in our economic fabric. The University of Coimbra, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon, feels a particular obligation in contributing to the society at large and to advance the stage of knowledge and practice in industry. These seminars are a way to do so.

January, 2010