The Software Practice Advancement Specialist Group of BCS the Chartered Institute for IT - is noted for its successful annual conferences that provide practitioners a rich programme of workshops, tutorials and presentations, over multiple days and streams.

The SPA conference has been valued by practitioners and generates a healthy surplus that supports year-round monthly evening events in London and a free showcase event - Mini-SPA, away from London. Mini-SPA provides a taste of Software Practice Advancement to a broader audience and includes sessions from SPA conference, as also complementary sessions around the broader theme of software practice development.

This year’s Mini-SPA, hosted in Leeds, showcases five such nuggets. The event will benefit a broad audience - software practitioners, professionals working with them, clients/consumers of software practice, students and academics. A few of the sessions will give a taste of the workshop environment at SPA conference.

The tutorial environment at SPA conferences is usually much more engaged and involved with longer sessions focussed on smaller audience. Mini-SPA though will give delegates a taste of the learning and good practice exchange opportunity SPA conference provides, with many delegates attending the annual conference on a regular basis. It is also our intention to record sessions from this event and make some of these available to an even wider audience online.


Tea and Registration 0930-0950

Introduction by Chair 0950-1000

Amit Bhagwat

First Session 1000-1200

Agile Governance & Continuous Improvement
Kevin Murray 60 min

Agile Governance is an open and tailored environment of trust and support to ensure teams can succeed. Continuous improvement needs continuous and unobtrusive governance that is shaped and evolved by the teams, not inflicted upon them. This session looks at governance anti-patterns, then provides positive and practical examples of Agile Governance methodology.

Kev Murray is Zuhlke’s new Regional Director for the North West. He loves working in amazing agile teams and introspects on achieving and improving high consistent standards of world-class digital services.

Values in Computing
Lucy Hunt, Peggy Gregory 60 min

Human and technical vulnerabilities (deliberate or accidental) exist in software systems with consequences that affect not only the end users of a system, but wider society. The Volkswagen emission scandal, fake news, data breaches and IT service outages are some of the stories you may have read about in the news. What values underpin these stories and how can we, as practitioners, learn from them? At an industry keynote in 2015, Grady Booch stated that he believes “every line of code you write has a moral and ethical implication”.

Values in Computing (ViC) is about understanding how human values influence software design, production and use. Our approaches include the systematic study of technology stories – in particular, how people experience and interpret the values and vulnerabilities in them. Pilot studies are giving early indicators that using stories are valuable learning approaches. Ultimately, our aim is to support software professionals with technical tools, foundational knowledge, and critical skills necessary to distinguish responsible decisions from those that are potentially harmful to self and society. Attendees will participate in an exercise, based on tools the ViC team have developed, to reflect on the values and actions of software teams.

Lucy has over 20 years’ experience as an IT consultant (software engineer and business analyst). She is now in her second year of a PhD at Lancaster University. Peggy is a senior lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN). She is a member of the Agile Research Network. Her research focuses on how people work together to design and build technology, looking at theory, practice, and ethics.

Lunch 1200-1300

Second Session 1300-1500

Live Legacy Code Refactoring with the Golden Master and the Mikado Method
Philippe Bourgau 60 min

“Yesterday, I continued my refactoring. I should be done today...” Have you ever been in this situation of repeating this same message over and over in for days and days? In a developer’s day to day work, refactoring (untested) legacy code remains one of the trickiest and complicated tasks. “Don’t touch it!” is the most widespread recommendation. Unfortunately, we spend at least 80% of our time in ‘Legacy’. Better be ready!

During this live coding kata, discover, with your own eyes, how to refactor untested legacy code with the Golden Master and the Mikado method techniques. You’ll understand how:

• The Golden Master can help you temporarily ‘snapshot’ the behaviour of a piece of code by assertions IOs
• The Mikado Method avoids the tunnel effect by splitting large refactoring in a graph of small deployable steps
• Both techniques reduce risks,
• Contribute to a sustainable pace,
• Complement each other for maximum effect

Philippe has been variously labelled Continuous Refactoring Coach, developer, architect, manager & agile coach, and is a popular blogger & speaker in the field.

Re-claiming the Future of Agile Software Development
Luca Minudel 60 min

How can the agile community be again a force for good and tackle the challenges agile is facing by becoming mainstream? Think for example the obsession on certifications and scaled frameworks, dark scrum, fake agile, etc. This session presents the result of the discussions that took place at SPA Software in Practice London conference, and it is an opportunity for further discussions and reflections that may perhaps involve a broader audience of a showcase event like this.

Luca Minudel is a Lean-Agile Coach & Trainer with 16 years of experience in Lean/Agile and 20+ in professional software delivery. He is passionate about agility, lean, complexity science, and co-creation. He contributed to the adoption of lean and agile practices by Ferrari's F1 racing team. For ThoughtWorks he delivered training, coaching, assessments and organisational transformations in top-tier organisations in Europe and the United States. He worked as Head of Agility, Agile Transformation Lead, Lean/Agile Practice Lead, and as Lean/Agile Coach. Luca is the founder and CEO at, a company that helps organisations turn their way of working to their competitive advantage

Tea 1500-1530

Third Session 1530-1630

Strangle Your Legacy Code
Amitai Schleier 60 min

Given an ancient codebase that makes refactoring risky and expensive, how do you clear a path to continued delivery? The old wisdom says the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the next best time is today. But if you already have a gnarled old source tree, preserve your software investment by planting a Strangler: a pattern for reaping continuous value from your existing system while growing new functionality alongside it. We'll define our terms, meet some legacy code and its Strangler (both open source), then test-drive new features into the system. You'll leave with a powerful strategy for extending the useful life of working, valuable software -- especially when it's hard to change.

Amitai Schleier is a software development coach, legacy code wrestler, non-award-winning musician, and award-winning bad poet. He publishes fixed-length micropodcasts at Agile in 3 Minutes, writes variable-length articles at, and contributes code and direction to notable open-source projects such as NetBSD, pkgsrc, ikiwiki, and qmail. Amitai's ideas, prose, music, and puns have manifested at Agile Roots, Agile for Humans, CodeMash, Self.conference, pkgsrcCon, Pittsburgh Perl Workshop, NYCBUG, the International Rachmaninoff Conference, and the Alfred Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest.

Conclusion by Chair 1630-1640
Amit Bhagwat


For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event please note that BCS does not issue invitation letters.




Mini-SPA Conference 2020 - Leeds
Date and time
Friday 21 February, 9:30am - 4:40pm
St George's Conference Centre
60 Great George Street
This event is sold out