Novabase Creates Software Engineering Group with Carnegie Mellon Portugal Alumni

NOVABASE SEG Group

From left to right: Pedro Saraiva, Filipe Martins, João Pina, Marco Jorge, Miguel Graça Oliveira, Carlos Simões, Pedro Abreu, Marina Santana, Pedro Mota

The first Novabase students that were enrolled in the Professional Master program in Software Engineering in the scope of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal program graduated one and a half year ago. Upon their return to the company, the question among the Novabase managers was: should these employees return to their former business area or should Novabase create a dedicated group exclusively focused on the software engineering field?  

Manuel Beja, head of Corporate Development at Novabase, explained that the implemented solution was quite challenging for the group: the Carnegie Mellon Portugal graduates should dedicate 80 per cent of their time to their former business area, and 20 per cent to the Software Engineering Group (SEG). This strategy would be effective threefold: it would generate knowledge transfer among their colleagues, it would potentiate career advancement, and it would create value to the customers. The results are already appearing. 

The SEG group was created in January 2010 with the mission of contributing to the adoption of best practices in the Software Engineering area, based on the knowledge acquired through the MSE program taught by the Universidade de Coimbra and Carnegie Melon University, in the scope of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal program. Initially the SEG group had 8 members, but this number has grown to 12 members that come from different business areas. Manuel Beja is the Software Engineering Group mentor and believes that it will be possible to integrate “more than 20 members until the end of the fifth year of this partnership.”

Alumnus of the MSE program, João Pina is one of the members of the SEG. “Rewarding and intense,” were the words uttered by João Pina about the MSE program experience, where he had the opportunity to develop his skills and knowledge with a group of international experts. Before entering the MSE program, João Pina, through Novabase’s outsourcing company was working as a developer for the Caixa Geral de Depósitos. After completing the MSE program, this Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program alumnus was invited to join SEG, and to work as a software architect and analyst. João Pina said “the 20 percent of our time that we get to work at SEG is extremely fulfilling as we have a chance to use what we learned at the MSE while helping people from all areas improving the way they work”.

The role of SEG is centered in analyzing the problem, suggesting new techniques, monitoring results, and validating what was done. The group activity is organized in three areas: Requirements Design (what should be done?), Software Architectures (how should it be done?), and SmartWorld (“soft” skills for team management). In each area, the members of SEG develop and detect opportunities to better apply these “components” in the different projects developed by Novabase.

During 2010, the Software Engineering Group was involved in 45 projects with around 450 Novabase employees from all areas, and gave more than 1500 training hours for a total of 150 people. “The evolution of SEG is the result of the good integration that this group has had with the customers, inside and outside, which lead the group to reorganize and diversify its offer” said Manuel Beja.

August 2011