Efficient software and systems delivery requires speed and agility: IBM

Efficient software and systems delivery requires speed and agility: IBM

IT vendor highlights speed and innovation as being crucial in effective software delivery

For the first time, CEOs are identify technology as the most important external force impacting their organisations

This observation comes the way of IBM Rational offerings strategy and delivery vice-president, Michael O’Rourke, who spoke about how technology has never been more important to business at IBM’s Innovate 2012 event in Sydney.

One of the market trends O’Rourke identified was that software sourcing is shifting rapidly towards non-traditional models.

“Enterprises are rapidly increasing their use of multi-source options for software and systems delivery strategy,” he said.

As a result, enabling technologies have the capability to provide a dynamic way to manage the process across “a continuum of options.”

“This growing trend provides compelling benefits while introducing significant challenges,” O’Rourke said.

When it comes to the supply chain, O’Rourke says that there are several key pain points impacting business outcomes.

“You have multi-source decision planning, requirements management, and contact and compliance,” he said.

“Not to mention financial and resource management, capacity planning, project visibility, and so.”

The hypothesis put forward by O’Rourke is that effective software delivery in the software supply chain depends on speed and innovation being combined with delivery and management discipline.

[x/hd]Why software projects fail

“The world we live in is exciting, with mobile business, social business, and next generation user interfaces,” he said.

“We also have home channel strategies, Cloud computing, and consumerisation.”

As to why software projects fail, O’Rourke pointed to research done into understanding the software engineering lifecycle by software specialist Caper Jones.

“Unstable, changing requirements was the top reason at 98 per cent, while inadequare quality control and poor quality measures came second at 90 per cent,” O’Rourke said.

What implications this has for software and systems delivery is that it requires more speed and agility, such as a compelling user experience, rapid iterations, and continuous delivery.

“Better control is also needed for regulatory compliance, end-to-end security, and financial predictability,” O’Rourke said.

He also highlighted that accelerated delivery demands a quid pro quo approach.

“Engineering practitioners should address uncertain things first and be adaptive to change,” he said.

When it comes to succeeding in this new reality, O’Rourke narrowed it down to being able to “integrate, early and continuously,” as well as “collaborate in context across the extended lifecycle.”

The inhabitations to accelerated delivery tend to be slow feedback between customers and line of business, ineffective iteration between line of business and development, and inefficient linkage between development and operations.

“Having poor end-to-end customer requirement visibility and a complex network of stakeholders and actors also does not help,” O’Rourke said.

Some of O’Rourke’s recommendations for overcoming these challenges included making integration, test and deployment continuous, creating an elaborate user experience earlier in the lifecycle, and linking requirements management to the test.

When speaking about software development on IBM Rational’s Agile platform, O’Rourke said “delivery discipline does not equal development discipline”.

“Smaller scale Agile development experiences need to be adapted to enterprise software delivery,” he said.

In order for Agile adoption to be successful, O’Rourke suggested users be explicit about their Agile goals, understand the dimensions of scale up/out, and use measures to govern behaviour.

“Focus early on quality as a team issue and re-skill your project/program planners,” he said.

“Grow with a clear adoption plan, and think globally while acting locally.”

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