Employability & Skills


6 Top Success Factors for Agile Software Projects


There are many factors to consider when undertaking an agile software development. If you have ever wondered which are the key factors that you would need to focus on and why, here is the answer. This article also suggests the significance of the most influential factors compared to others too.

Software Success Measurements: Scope, Quality, Time, Cost

Measurements of software development success

In this post I present my summary of a piece of research conducted by Tsun Chow & Dac-Buu Cao on critical success factors in agile software developments. The success of software developments can be measured in may ways. The four criteria used to measure the success of a software development in this study are: Quality, Scope, Time and Cost. The top influential factors in the success of an agile project are:

  1. Correct Delivery Strategy - Considered to be the most influential factor on the success of a project and has a significant influence on Scope, Timeliness and Costs of the development.
  2. Agile Engineering Techniques - Considered to be the second most critical influential factor and impacts the Quality and Scope of the project.
  3. High-Calibre Team -  The final factor that is considered to be critical to the overall success of the project and directly impacts the Timeliness and Cost of the project.
  4. Good Agile Project Management Process -  The fourth most influential factor and is concluded to have a specific impact on the  Quality of the project.
  5. Agile-Friendly Team Environment also has an impact on Quality.
  6. SCRUM certified - WorkshopStrong Customer Involvement – is shown, perhaps not unexpected, to impact on Scope.

Interestingly the study also concluded that factors often widely considered to influence the success of an agile project, namely: strong executive support, strong sponsor commitment, ready availability of physical Agile facility or Agile-appropriate project types, could not be attributed to success in the software developments studied.

This study was conducted using 109 varied software projects via a web-based survey. One of a small number of limitations of the study cited by the authors, is that a not all agile approaches were represented in the study and over 50% of the projects used an extreme programming (XP) approach.

The full study is published by Science Direct.  I would like to hear from you what, in your experience, are the critical success factors in your software developments?

If you would like to learn more about Agile and SCRUM project management methodologies we recommend our "Certified SCRUM Product Owner" course taking place on March 18th in Swansea.  Register your place here.

Article by Dr Matt Roach, Software Alliance Wales

Email: m.roach@softwarealliancewales.com


Computer Vision Summer School Success


The 19th British Machine Vision Association (BMVA) Computer Vision Summer School was recently hosted successfully by Swansea University from 30 June to 4 July, 2014 (http://bmva2014.swan.ac.uk/).

Computer Vision Summer SchoolThe annual BMVA Summer School in Computer Vision aims to provide an intensive week of training to first-year PhD students from both UK and non-UK universities. Early-stage researchers are also welcome to attend.  Aside from the academic content, the summer school also offers a really great networking opportunity for attendees.

The 2014 BMVA Summer School was held in Swansea University from 30 June to 4 July, consisting of 19 1.5-hour lectures and 2 lab sessions that cover a wide range of topics in Computer Vision and Digital Image Computing. They were delivered by 17 renowned UK researchers in computer vision field from both academia and industry, such as Tim Cootes (Manchester University), Daniel Rueckert (Imperial College London), and Andrew Fitzgibbon (Microsoft Research, Cambridge). The lectures took place in the Faraday lecture theatre, while the lab sessions were held in the Digital Technium Building.

A total of 67 registered delegates from 14 different countries all over the world attended the event. Three awards including a Best Poster Award and two Second Prizes were awarded this year. The 20th edition of this event will hopefully take place next year. Registration and related information will be announced in early 2015.

Article by Feng Zhao, Workshop Developer, Software Alliance Wales

Email: f.zhao@softwarealliancewales.com


News: Swansea City FC app development project

Swansea City Football Club and Software Alliance Wales today announce that they have completed a year-long joint app development project. The project saw the football club utilise the IT skills of three of Swansea University’s third year computer science students to develop mobile applications that would enhance fan engagement.
Last October, the football club was looking to take its fan engagement strategy to the next level by researching and developing apps that would inform and entertain fans as well as streamline with business processes. Swansea City’s commercial team heard about Software Alliance Wales’ student development projects, which match up students doing final year projects with businesses looking to enhance their IT strategies, which then offered them the skills of students Bradley Coles-Perkins, Sam Lucas, and Jon Phillips.
The projects were as follows:
  • Bradley Coles-Perkins created an iOS (Apple) app that would enable fans to purchase half time home and away flyers.
  • Sam Lucas developed an interactive quiz app for Android devices.
  • Jon Phillips created a mobile web app that would enable the football club to create competitions that fans could also enter via the app.
Leigh Dineen, Vice Chairman at Swansea City Football Club, said: “We are committed to investing in the local community, and this includes investment in people and skills. Software Alliance Wales and Swansea University are renowned for producing best-of-breed IT students so we were delighted to be able to utilise the enviable IT skills of three of their brightest students and at the same time give them some business experience for their CVs.”
The opportunity to solve real life IT business issues has given the students a wealth of knowledge to take with them into their career after they graduate. Student, Bradley Coles-Perkins, explains, “It’s been a great experience working with the football club. I’ve been given a lot of flexibility and autonomy which has enabled me to be creative with my project, but at the same time knowing that I have the support of the business, the university and the team at Software Alliance Wales.”
Dr. Neal Harman, Project Director for Software Alliance Wales and Head of Teaching at Swansea University said: “It’s key for Software Alliance Wales, the University and the students to work closely with business to harness and nurture skills, jobs and the economy here in Wales. Swansea City Football Club and Swansea University are such huge local institutions and it’s been a fantastic opportunity for all involved to work together on this. We are very much looking forward to working with them on other projects in the future.”
The club is now assessing how the apps can be further developed and integrated into their business systems. Mr. Dineen concludes: “These are three very strong mobile apps that are all capable of fulfilling our objective of enhancing our fan engagement strategy. We’re looking forward to attending the upcoming Project Fair in June to see what other exciting things Swansea University students have to offer us and how we may be able to further harness these locally grown skills in our business.”
Software Alliance Wales is focused on bridging the IT skills gap in Wales, from student employability to professional upskilling right through to IT company accreditation, it’s committed to technology and its role in a growing Welsh economy. Last week, all of Swansea University’s final year computer science student’s projects were showcased at Software Alliance Wales’ annual fair at TechHub Swansea in front of a wealth of local businesses looking for new IT recruits.

Computer Science in Action


On Thursday 5 June 2014, Swansea University led projects, Software Alliance Wales, Technocamps and Swansea University's Computer Science Department, opened their doors to business at the Computer Science in Action: Student Project Demonstration Fair.

The event, held at TechHub Swansea, offered 'soon-to-be' graduates the opportunity to showcase their computer science skills to prospective employers in Wales.

Over the course of the afternoon, Swansea University computer science students, benefited from an inspirational careers talk from Aimee Bateman of careercake.com, whilst also having the opportunity to network and interact with prospective employers during the exhibition later in the evening.

Attendees at the event - ranging from students, academics and industry representatives – each had the opportunity to vote for the ‘Best Student Project’. Resulting in, three ‘soon-to-be’ graduates, being recognised for their hard work, throughout their academic studies.

Winner of best student project as voted by school students:

Kieron Jewell for Who's Watching Me? The Little Brother Concept

Winner of best student project as voted by the IT industry:

Ryan Wong for Visual Assessment Boundaries

Winner of best student project as voted by the academic assessors:

Matthew Poskitt for OSMOSIS: A Leap Motion Java Game

There was a great atmosphere in TechHub Swansea with both businesses and students taking advantage of the opportunity to share their experiences and expertise.


Here’s what some of the local employers – DVLA and IntaPeople - had to say:


For a full selection of images taken at the event click here.

For a comprehensive list of the courses and workshops available this year, take a look at our events calendar. And, if you would like to be updated regularly on Software Alliance Wales activities please signup up to our fortnightly mailshot.


RUCK Workshops: Registration Open!


Registration is now open for Software Alliance Wales’ first Really Useful Computer Workshops (RUCK) on 26th and 27th June 2014 at Aberystwyth University. Don’t miss out - click here to register for two days of neatly packaged business and technical know-how.

Is this event for me?

Are you a techy who would you like to become more business-savvy but just don’t have the time? Or do you want to learn about some of that essential techy stuff you’ve been side-stepping?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to one or both of the above then RUCK workshops is most definitely for you! In just two-days you can gain the basic knowledge and expertise you need to take that first step to boosting your business acumen; streamline your working practices; and learn some essential techy skills along the way.

Why should I go along to this event?

Take part in 2, 3 or 4 practical sessions that cover off hard-to-tackle topics in easy to digest pieces. Topics range from javascript, one click product building, automated testing, version control and securing your business assets through to marketing, photography and much more.

What will I take away from this event?

With both tech and business experts on hand, we’ll deliver each session to suit your way of thinking. So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to discover something new, meet like-minded people and gain valuable skills and knowledge to take you and your software business to the next level.


Visit www.ruckworkshops.comRUCK ‘At a Glance’:

Day 1

Day 2

To find out more, visit: www.ruckworkshops.com, click here for the full workshop schedule or register here to pick the sessions designed specifically for you.

Join in the discussion on Twitter by following #RUCK14, on Facebook or on LinkedIn

For a comprehensive list of the courses and workshops available this year, take a look at our events calendar. And, if you would like to be updated regularly on Software Alliance Wales activities please signup up to our fortnightly mailshot.



Engage, Educate and Energise


On 9th and 10th June 2014, tech experts from Software Alliance Wales will deliver a smorgasbord of ‘lightening talks’ in the Developers Corner at Digital 2014.

The informal format is designed to encourage individuals to ‘drop-in’ during the 2-day event to say ‘hello’ and to meet new, likeminded, people.

The tech talks range from agile development to artificial intelligence and from software testing to user experience.

Sign up for the Hackathon at Digital 2014Specific topics include:

  • Trust software with your life?
  • Use software to diagnose disease?
  • Mobile security in the Cloud
  • Visualisation of Big Data
  • Collaborative software development made easier
  • SMS and the Crazy Frog!
  • What’s in the box?
  • The hackers honeycomb
  • Tobii and good interface design
  • Software as a coach?
  • Is agility for you?
  • Mapping your customers
  • Why we need machines that learn

Delivered to small groups or one-to-one, the tech savvy team will tailor their talks to suit the needs of students, software developers and business people. The talks and demos will also inform decision-makers and other stakeholders about trends and developments in established and emerging markets.

During the event, the Hackers, tech experts and delegates will be able to view the live streaming of the main plenary session from www.digital2014.com in the Software Alliance Wales demo area.  Delegates are also invited to ‘sit-in’ on the talks for the Software Alliance Wales Digital 2014 Hackathon.

By way of example, Professor Chris Price from Aberystwyth University will outline what will happen over the course of the 2-days at 10.30am on Monday 9th June and highlight the criteria that will be used to judge the winning team. This talk will be followed by a tutorial introducing the Hackers to the geolocator technology - iBeacons and Android Beacons – that has been selected for the Hackathon.      

At 1.15pm on Tuesday 10th June, Dr Matt Roach from Swansea University will then give the Hackers a few tips on ‘how to pitch an idea in 2 minutes.’ At 4pm, delegates are then invited to hear each team pitch their ideas, concepts or prototypes - depending on the progress made –  before the judges announce the winner of the Software Alliance Wales Digital 2014 Hackathon.

To find out more, visit Software Alliance Wales in the Beaumaris 1 Theatre, Convention Level 2, Celtic Manor Resort, Newport.

We look forward to seeing you there. 


Software Alliance Wales at Digital 2014

Monday 9th June 2014 - Beaumaris 1 and 2

09.00am - 05.00pm             Lightening talks and demos

10.30am - 10.45am             Introduction to the Hackathon

10.45 am – 11.30am            Tutorial: State-of-the-art Beacon technology

04.50pm - 05.00pm             Progress review and round-up of the day

Tuesday 10th June 2014 - Beaumaris 1

09.00am - 05.00pm             Lightening talks and demos

1.15pm – 1.30pm                 Tips on how to pitch your idea in 2 minutes

04.00pm - 05.00pm             Hackathon teams ‘pitch’ to panel of judges - Winner Announced!

05.00pm - 05.00pm             Close

For a comprehensive list of the courses and workshops available this year, take a look at our events calendar. And, if you would like to be updated regularly on Software Alliance Wales activities please signup up to our fortnightly mailshot.



Official sponsor of Made In Wales Awards


Yesterday saw Wales’ leading business magazine, Wales Business Insider, launch this year’s Made In Wales awards and Software Alliance Wales was proud to be there and announced as one of the official sponsors of the awards, to be held in Cardiff on 23rd October 2014.

The awards celebrate the very best of the Welsh the manufacturing, design and product development industry as it’s a sector that’s rapidly flourishing here in Wales. One of the key themes flowing through the panel debate focused on the quality of skills needed to grow and sustain the industry and it was mentioned that if we are to maintain a strong sector we need to invest more heavily in homegrown talent. This is a notion that Software Alliance Wales is built upon, harnessing the talent and skills bred here in Wales and retaining and building on those skills is at the heart of what we do through our CPD courses, accreditation and partnering students with Welsh businesses.

The awards are in their fourth year and are bigger and better than ever! The categories open to all manufacturing companies in Wales next week. For more information visit - http://www.insidermedia.com/event/made-in-wales

For a comprehensive list of the courses and workshops available this year, take a look at our events calendar. And, if you would like to be updated regularly on Software Alliance Wales activities please signup up to our fortnightly mailshot.


Next generation of IT stars gather at Project Fair


The next generation of Swansea’s IT stars are to gather at a Project Fair in the city which will showcase their computer science skills to prospective employers in Wales.

IT businesses are being invited to the event where they can watch demonstrations and presentations from around one hundred Swansea University computer science students and learn how the cream of this young IT talent can help solve real life business dilemmas.

The event run by Swansea University’s Computer Science Department and Software Alliance Wales will be held on Thursday 5 June 2014 from 5.30pm – 7.30pm at the Techhub Swansea 11 Wind Street, Swansea, SA1 1DP. Businesses interested in coming along can register at www.softwarealliancewales.com/SAW-Project-Fair-14

At the event prospective employers will have the chance to discuss their business requirements with talented computer science students like Ryan Wong who has designed a mobile application for the Android platform. Ryan’s app allows the user to record their location and then visualise the length and efficiency of their route.

He said: “As my project was in collaboration with an industrial partner, I had access to additional resources, help and advice as well as the support of my academic supervisor. I have learnt to develop web applications using a variety of different languages such as HTML, PHP and CSS. The knowledge and experience gained will hopefully stand me in good stead when I start my career, ideally as a Software Developer or Engineer, as I really enjoy planning and building software and finding solutions for computational problems.”

Dr Neal Harman Project Director at Software Alliance Wales and Head of Teaching, Computer Science, Swansea University said: “The ‘Project Fair’ provides an ideal forum for employers to recruit from the pool of Swansea University’s home-grown talent with the high-level IT skills required to help businesses grow sustainably in the increasingly competitive marketplace. They can also meet with the academic and industry representatives who supervised the project work; and, as importantly, to network with like-minded tech companies, innovators and entrepreneurs.”

Businesses regsietr to attend here

For a comprehensive list of the courses and workshops available this year, take a look at our events calendar. And, if you would like to be updated regularly on Software Alliance Wales activities please signup up to our fortnightly mailshot.



Computer Science EXPO - The Highlights


On Thursday 3 April 2014, Software Alliance Wales and Bangor University opened their doors to business at the Computer Science EXPO.

The event, held on Campus, offered undergraduates from the School of Computer Science the opportunity to present their final year projects to local employers looking to recruit individuals with specific IT skills.

Over the course of the afternoon, attendees at the event benefited from talks from Stephen Johnson of Puppet Labs and Andy Goodman of Pontio Bangor. There were also plenty of opportunities for students and prospective employers to network and interact during the exhibition.

Stephen Johnson, an IT professional with 13 years’ experience, discussed the importance of transferrable skills and how best to demonstrate these skills during the recruitment process. With his top tips for gaining a career in the tech industry, Stephen proved popular amongst the soon to be graduates.

Other attendees included TE Connectivity, a locally based technology company who had also attended the EXPO in 2013. Andrew Roberts, Software Team Lead at TE commented that the event had helped his company to recruit students to work as ‘interns’ on challenging IT issues over the summer months while, as importantly, he felt the events helped the IT industry identify and retain the best talent in Wales.

There was a great atmosphere in the Reichel Hall at Bangor University with both businesses and students taking advantage of the opportunity to share their experiences and expertise.

The event set the scene for future Software Alliance Wales events, including the Swansea University Computer Science Student Project Fair on Thursday 5 June 2014.

For a full selection of images taken at the event click here.

For a comprehensive list of the courses and workshops available this year, take a look at our events calendar. And, if you would like to be updated regularly on Software Alliance Wales activities please signup up to our fortnightly mailshot.


Computer Science EXPO at Bangor University


Software Alliance Wales and Bangor University will host a Computer Science EXPO on the afternoon of Thursday 3rd April. The event will take place on campus at Bangor University and will see up to 50 of Bangor’s brightest computer science undergraduates present their final year projects to local SMEs who may be looking to recruit IT graduates for their businesses.

Software Alliance Wales’ Student Development Projects match business needs with the skills of the University’s final year students. Whether it’s an app, a website, or an IT system, students work closely with their chosen business to create workable IT solutions to real-life business problems.

The event will see the University’s most talented computer science students showcase their projects in front of an audience of potential local employers who may be looking for the key IT skills that computer science graduates have to offer.

Liam Kurmos, Software Alliance Wales academic liaison officer at Bangor University, explains, “The Expo provides students with an ideal platform to showcase the business knowledge and experience they’ve acquired from working directly with a business over the past year and encourages them to kick start their careers in IT when they graduate this summer.”

Dr. Saad Mansoor of Software Alliance Wales, and Head of School of Computer Science at Bangor University, added: “At Software Alliance Wales we know how wide the IT skills gap is across the UK and we’re doing all we can to launch our computer science graduates into careers right here in Wales.”

“Our work doesn’t end when our students graduate. The Expo is just the start of our involvement. We also offer training for IT professionals throughout their careers; enabling them to retain the skills demanded by employers as the market evolves.”

During the event Stephen Johnson of Puppet Labs will talk about the future of technology and Andy Goodman from Pontio Bangor will talk about the new arts and innovation centre which is set to open later this year.