Forrester Finds Lots of Dissatisfaction with Traditional Software Methodologies

Many companies are using software development methodologies other than waterfall in an effort to speed development times, increase flexibility and, ultimately, produce software that performs better. According to …

Many companies are using software development methodologies other than waterfall in an effort to speed development times, increase flexibility and, ultimately, produce software that performs better.

According to a survey by agile development planning and management company VersionOne, plans to implement agile software development grew from 59 percent of organizations in 2011 to 83 percent in 2012. Nearly half of organizations that had already adopted agile said they had five or more agile teams, compared to only 33 percent in 2011.

Devops, a software development approach that emphasizes collaboration between teams in development, operations and QA, also is gaining in popularity.

New approaches are obviously needed, as there appears to be a great deal of dissatisfaction with enterprise software. According to a Forrester Research study conducted on behalf of software design and development firm EffectiveUI, just 39 percent of business decision makers said their internal IT organizations have the ability to regularly deliver projects on time and on budget – not exactly an encouraging number.

Only 34 percent said their IT organizations possessed strong business analysis and business process design skills. This is a shortcoming that, in theory, should be addressed by devops.

Among other interesting tidbits from the survey: Though mobile applications are undeniably hot, just 20 percent of respondents said that investing in mobile applications for employees, partners or customers would be their top development priority in the next 12 months. The top priority, selected by 48 percent of respondents, is supporting business requirements and corporate growth. This is a bit disturbing, as it suggests that a number of organizations may be struggling with this basic business need.

Either that, or it’s all they can do to keep up with demand. That may well be the case, given the responses to a question about the top five obstacles faced by development teams. The top obstacle, mentioned by nearly 60 percent of respondents, was constantly changing business and user requirements. A close second, cited by half of respondents, was “we are trying to do too much all at once.”

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In the report, Forrester recommends an approach it calls “integrated thinking,” which to me sounds a lot like devops. It describes the approach this way: “Integrated thinking is about combine and conquer — making design decisions from all perspectives: business goals, customer experience, business processes, employees, technology, architecture and integration. …”

Further, it says integrated thinking requires “application development teams to understand the big picture and take responsibility not just for building the applications but for their positive (or negative) impact on the business.”

This article was originally published by NSAM sister publication Global Delivery Report.

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