"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."
Digging in a bit deeper to specific tasks within the development process, Tam says respondents had the best opinion of their ability to get code quickly packaged for deployment once QA approves it. The survey also found that IT organizations have few rejected turnovers of code from QA to development and there are a reasonable number of turnovers to QA once code is initially frozen.
Tam says this indicates development and QA are actually working quite well together, even though they are popularly portrayed as antagonists. "Agile's principles of creating more collaborative teams and having QA involved earlier in the software development lifecycle are definitely helping development across all industries," he says. "This is especially impressive considering the growth of new development technologies and platforms, especially with mobile and cloud."
Requirements Management Needs a New Focus on Process While application development tasks all received high marks, the same is not true of the requirements management process.
"What is clear from the survey responses is that the "front end" of application development needs a lot more help when it comes to collaboration," Tam says. "This is true not only with external stakeholders, but with other development teams as well, especially when it comes to requirements reuse."
The three lowest scores among the requirements management processes were given to requirements clarification/approval, requirements reuse and requirements collaboration. Tam points to a number of potential culprits that are making these areas particularly tricky: a plethora of new form factors with mobile platforms, lack of standardization on tools and the sheer number of stakeholders involved.
"Unlike core application development, the survey responses for requirements management show that IT organizations are still struggling with the fuzzy front end," Tam says. "While all is not lost, IT organizations should invest in putting a process-not more tools-in place that helps everyone share requirements more easily across a complex technology and organizational landscape. By finalizing requirements early, IT will be able to deliver better software to the business."