Software trends survey…

This is an interesting update on software trends:

A recent survey of more than 6,000 senior-level business leaders and software development executives found optimism for higher IT budgets and a preference for outsourcing, agile methods, and enterprise applications. In the survey, sponsored by software consulting firm SoftServe, 60 percent of respondents reported increases in 2009 IT development budgets, despite the uncertain global economic climate. Some 26 percent indicated that budgets had increased by more than 10 percent over 2008. Some 38 percent said they use some type of software development outsourcing. Of those, 67 percent used locations in India, followed by the emergence of Ukraine, China, and other Eastern European countries.

Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) listed new product or software development as a top priority, while cost- and expense-cutting followed with 51 percent, and improving usability ranked third with 49 percent. Forty-two percent favored agile methodologies as their chosen development model, with only 18 percent preferrng the waterfall method. About one-third (36 percent) employed Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) as their process maturity and quality model with Six Sigma used by 25 percent. Some 62 percent of respondents were focused on enterprise applications, and 51 percent on Web-based applications.

Based on this survey, these are my observations:

  • Investments in IT budgets continue to rise, despite economic conditions. I guess the fact that any serious IT development is a long-led-time endeavor, the motivation might be to sit in the labs and work on getting stuff out just when the market comes up.
  • 67% are using India as outsourcing destination, which is a significant number, what will all predictions of anti-outsoucing sentiments, or a shrinking cost arbitrage, or low design skills in low-cost destinations such as India. They all can’t be wrong at the same time. I think hard numbers are almost always a stronger evidence.
  • CMMI is (still !) not dead! If one-third of industry uses CMMI, clearly there still must be benefits of it, and I think the non-believers might be well-advised to stop harping on CMMI as being a so 20th-centurish heavyweight, beaurecratic and document-intensive process and start learning how it adds value to the the compaies that still believe in it.
  • 42% favoring Agile methods is a good news, and I guess the 18% favoring Waterfall is the last post of resistance that will unfortunately still continue to wiggle its severed tail for many many years to come. I am more interested to know how these 42% of companies / professionals use Agile and how effective it is for them. If the only reason they are doing Agile is because that is the new ‘in thing’, and they have no clue how effective it is to them, I would argue that those 18% Waterfall loyalists are perhaps better than those neo-Agilists becuase they probably have a strong enough reason to cling on the their bad Waterwall ways – one of them could even be that it works for them! After all, these is no such thing as one single right way to Software Nirvana, and no one single method can claim to have monopoly over all the best practices 🙂
  • I could not understand how some 25% were using Six Sigma in the same breath as 36% were using CMMI as their process maturity and quality model. I think Six Sigma is not a ‘model’ in the same sense as CMMI (or even Agile for that matter). Secondly, if you are a Motorola making cellphones (perhaps not anymore), then six sigma production means less than 3.4 defects per million. If you are using CMMI for software development, you know that you are using a set of staircased practices (at each maturity level) that guide you on ‘what to do’ at each step. I can also understand using Six Sigma principles and methods to measure and statistically management processes like a peer review or a testing process, but I don’t undersand how Six Sigma qualifies for a full-lifecycle quality model in the same league as a CMMI. Or, am I completely missing the point???
  • I am surprised to find no mention of Lean, unless the Agile umbrella includes all shades of original Agile methods, as well as Post-Agile methods.

All surveys are sampling exercise and must be discounted for its inherent flaws, design constraints and execution issues. Despite this, it is always interesting to analyse trends over a period of time, as they indicate a movement and help us assess the wind direction and speed.

4 thoughts on “Software trends survey…

  1. TV Post author

    @Raj: I would say if CMMI has to remain relevant for the industry at large, it must embrace methods that promote lightweight, minimal documentation processes and the appraisal framework must recognize need of the hour, as well as the state of current technology and organizational realities. No point in imposing a 20th centurish framework that people are expected to followly blindly, no matter that is adding any business value or not.

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