I am a regular speaker at major industry conferences and private companies. Keynotes can be scheduled as a single event or as a series. Online keynotes are also available. Inquire about scheduling a keynote.

How to Take Charge of Your Career in Software

Steve McConnell has been recognized as one of the world’s leading software development experts for more than two decades. In 1998, readers of Software Development magazine named Steve one of the three most influential people in the software industry, along with Bill Gates and Linus Torvalds. Twenty years later, the Forbes Technology Council named his book, Code Complete, “the single best cornerstone book on good software development.”

In this talk, Steve shares the details of the plan he used to become one of the leading voices in software development. He discusses the roles of reading, training, directed experience, and personal reflection. He will challenge you to think about what part of your personal career investment should be in technology, what part should be in your business domain, and what part should be in underlying best practices. He will describe how to use this as input for your own short-term vs. long-term career planning, and how to make your own career as rewarding as it can be.

20 Years is Enough! It’s Time to Update the Agile Principles and Values

Agile originated as a reaction to twentieth century bureaucratic excesses. The Agile principles and values were created when Agile was in its infancy, and they were based more on aspiration than experience. Twenty years later, we have thousands of times more experience with Agile than we did in 2001, but the Agile principles and values remain unchanged. It’s time to apply Inspect and Adapt to the Agile principles and values themselves and bring them fully into the twenty-first century.

Individual Contributor to Software VP: Four Career Transitions, Many Challenges

Software leadership is hard! This talk covers the top challenges that emerging software leaders face as they pass through four distinct career transitions: I.C. to technical lead, then to manager, then to director, and ultimately to VP. Understand the issues that unnecessarily cause some potentially good leaders to drop off the path. Steve McConnell, the award-winning author of Code Complete, describes the detailed challenges involved in each transition and the key factors needed to navigate each transition successfully. He presents a holistic model for understanding how roles, responsibilities, and skills must evolve as a software professional’s career progresses.

Responsibilities and Personal Attributes of the Effective Software VP

Steve McConnell has worked with literally hundreds of software VPs, and this talk distills his insights into what makes some VPs markedly more effective than others. Some of the difference is related to how they conceive their responsibilities. Some is related to their personal attributes. See what Steve has to say about the importance of energy, passion, relationships, responsibility, ambiguity, positive attitude, growth mindset, and, of course, communication. This talk provides a perfect backdrop for leadership retreats that are answering the question, “What makes a strong leader in our organization?”

More Effective Agile Leadership

This talk distills hundreds of companies’-worth of real-world experience into the proven Agile leadership practices that work best. McConnell presents an impactful, action-oriented prescription that leaders need to know to attain the full benefits of modern Agile. Learn how to seek out ground truth on your Agile projects. See how to adopt the specific parts of Agile that will benefit your teams and your business. Understand how to work within the real-world constraints of multi-site teams, large projects, and industry regulations. This talk seamlessly threads together traditional approaches, early Agile approaches, modern Agile approaches, and the principles and context that underlie them all—creating an invaluable resource for Agile leaders, their teams, and their organizations.

Seven Unbreakable Rules of Software Leadership

Congratulations. You’ve earned a job as a software executive. Now what? Do you know what it takes to keep it? More important, do you know what it takes to excel? After more than 10 years of working with top software executives across a full spectrum of software-intensive industries, Steve McConnell has found a method for predicting which technical executives will be successful in their organizations and which will end up looking for different positions. McConnell describes the seven crucial rules that lead software executives first to satisfactory performance and ultimately to superior performance and superior results.

Succeeding with Software in a Complex, Chaotic World

As the world at large becomes more fluid, software teams continue to struggle with overly rigid practices that are not well-suited to software. One core flaw in these practices is how they deal with uncertainty. Software projects are beset by uncertainty in requirements, technology, technical designs, staff capabilities, business conditions, and numerous other factors. In this talk, the award-winning author of Code Complete presents models for understanding how uncertainty affects software projects and dives into means of addressing uncertainty effectively.

Secrets of World-Class Software Organizations

Construx consultants have worked with literally hundreds of software organizations. Among these organizations a few stand out as being truly world class. They are exceptional in their ability to meet their software development goals and exceptional in the contribution they make to their companies’ overall business success. Do world class software organizations operate differently than average organizations? In Construx’s experience, the answer is a resounding “YES.” In this talk, award-winning author Steve McConnell reveals the technical, management, business, and cultural secrets that make a software organization world class.

Measuring Software Productivity

One of the most elusive objectives in software business management is measuring productivity. Executives seek to measure it, while many software staff seek to avoid it. Which side is right, and is there a happy medium on this controversial subject? What are the research findings related to measuring productivity of software organizations, teams, and individuals? What measurement techniques have been found to work in practice? What are the organizational benefits and pitfalls? In this presentation, award winning author Steve McConnell summarizes the research, discussion, and application in this critical-yet-obstacle-filled area — and he presents surprising conclusions that are more effective and more readily available than you might think.

Stranger than Fiction: Developing Software Engineering Judgment

High-profile software project disasters have been commonplace for decades. Failed projects are followed by hand-wringing and cries of, “Where did we go wrong?” The people involved in the failed projects seem unable to determine the root causes of failure. Post mortem analyses typically settle on conspicuously incorrect answers, such as “We didn’t test enough,” “We should have been more agile,” or “We should have motivated our staff better.” The topic of judgment is ignored in the software engineering literature, yet development of sound professional judgment is key to correct and useful diagnoses of past failures and essential to creating future successes. In this talk, award-winning author Steve McConnell uses his Four Factors Lifecycle Model to dissect published reports of software project outcomes. He demonstrates how to use sound software engineering judgment to vastly improve understanding of software project dynamics, which in turn leads to correct diagnosis of failure, more effective corrective actions for projects already underway, and a significantly improved chance of success on every project.

Seven Diagrams Every Software Professional Should Understand

How can you assess the real value of software development’s next hot topic? How can you tell whether your project will be successful? Sometimes a picture truly is worth 1000 words. In this talk, award-winning author Steve McConnell presents a complete model of software engineering in seven essential diagrams–diagrams that collectively explain software quality, software requirements and design, Agile development, risk management, and many other essential software topics.

Business Case for Improved Software Practices

The average software company spends 2-3 times as much on each software project as best-in-class companies spend to deliver similar capabilities. The average organizations wastes 25% or more of its software budget on projects that are ultimately cancelled. Technical staff members are all-too-aware of the need for improved practices. But how do you make the case to upper management? In this talk, best selling author and industry leader Steve McConnell explains the dollars and cents of software process improvement and maps out the need for improved practices in a way that is meaningful to business executives.