IT Should Forget Development, Focus on Requirements and Release Management

Despite all the changes to application lifecycle management (ALM), IT organizations are doing just fine when it comes to core development processes. It is the "bookend" processes of requirements management and release management that need help.

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Fri, May 18, 2012

CIO — In the past decade, application development has undergone a revolution: the Agile Manifesto, cloud computing development platforms and the explosion in the iPhone, iPad and Android device markets have changed everything. But despite the many changes in application development, most IT organizations are doing an excellent job with their core development processes, according to a recent survey by Serena Software Development. It's the "bookend" processes-requirements management and the delivery of software into production-that need help.

"The survey findings strongly suggest that IT organizations can "forget" about core development processes, and instead, spend more time focusing on the "bookends" of ALM-requirements management and release management," says Miguel Tam, senior product marketing manager of Serena Software. Serena, a specialist in IT orchestration, recently conducted a survey on application development processes with nearly 1,000 IT professionals across a range of industries. "These findings are consistent across all industries that were surveyed. Nailing what customers really want and actually getting it into their hands without many bugs are the things that IT organizations need to focus on going forward."

IT Has Application Development in Hand

The survey found that respondents across all industries rated development the highest of the four major application lifecycle management (ALM) processes, with an average score of 2.77 on a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 being "excellent."

Development encompasses the process of developing and managing software, including QA collaboration, development audits and peer review. Demand management-the process of capturing and reviewing demand, including submission of requests, approval of project proposals and customer status updates-also received generally high marks, with an average score of 2.74. Release management entails the process of deploying releases into production environments, including release automation, post-production fixes and component reuse. The average score came in at 2.65. Finally, requirements management-the process of defining and managing requirements, including stakeholder collaboration, requirements reuse and traceability-trailed the list with an average score of 2.58.

Communication with the Business Is a Sticking Point

While the scores for all areas were above a theoretical average of 2.5, Tam notes that it is the areas where the IT organization has to communicate and work with the rest of the business that consistently receives the lowest ratings.

"I'm not suggesting you can just forget about development completely and go on your merry way," Tam says. "You need to continue working with your developers. But looking across the IT landscape, if you're the CIO or the VP of applications, you want to really look at how you interact with the business."

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