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CMU Alumni Chapter in Portugal Organizes Session at OutSystems


2015 CMU Alumni Portugal Chapter Event at Outsystems When we took the chapter leadership our top priority was to build bridges between the innovative companies and the CMU community. At the end of November, we had an incredible event hosted by OutSystems that built on the two previous events at Feedzai and PT-Inovacao and took it to the next level.

Lúcio Ferrão (Principal engineer and OutSystems co-founder) gave an inspiring talk on how the company grew from its humble beginnings in writing software that eased the development of WAP sites for domestic telcos to a large company whose software is deployed worldwide. He also talked about company values and culture – if you haven’t read “The small book of the few Big Rules”, please do – there is some inspiring stuff there. Lúcio also showed us around the office, I especially appreciated how pretty much every surface can be (and is) used to jot down ideas, discussions etc.

Afterwards, João Rodrigues (UX Expert, MHCI’11 alumni) presented a heartwarming and funny presentation on how listening to your customers can make your software better but also improve their quality of life (he presented how repetitive strain injury could be prevented by improving user interface design). We also had a lively discussion on how ensure UX works together with engineering and how to cope with conflicting priorities. I’ve shared a bit of my experience on the HMRC digital project where along side with a shared UX services we also had dedicated UX resources for every team (I’m convinced that this was a critical success factor on having won the UK IT industry Digital Project of the Year award)

Ricardo Marques (Software Engineer and Security expert MSIT-IS’08 alumni and who also shares chapter leadership) talked about his role on the SWAT team. I’ve worked in the past in companies where either high customer priorities were not addressed in due time or the trade off was product backlog and team morale disruption due to ever changing priorities. OutSystems has a special commando team – appropriately named SWAT – whose goal is to quickly create new customer-triggered product functionality to address critical field needs. Since these changes may be customer specific at first, the SWAT team makes changes anywhere (from the product installer to user interface localization) while mitigating the risk to the rest of the customer base. SWAT does these customer-triggered changes but also works along with core product teams to make sure the changes are integrated to the main product line.

Following the great event at OutSystems, the next event will be hosted by Talkdesk (Talkdesk is disrupting customer care by allowing anyone to setup a call center anywhere in 5 minutes.) on the 1st Quarter 2016! More information will be provided in the near future.

*Leaders of the CMU Alumni Portugal Chapter

December 2015