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Posted by Dave West on August 3, 2010
During a vendor conference, I sat down with 12 application development professionals and asked them a very simple question: "What will be the biggest themes for application lifecycle management be in the next 5 years?" The resulting debate and discussion highlights some key areas that application development professionals should look to when building their ALM strategy.
Who owns the code?
The reality of open source, partner-developed code and vendor value add-ins was not lost on the group. The overarching theme from this discussion was that customer organizations not only need to own the overall supply chain but also are responsible for ensuring its quality. That means, as writing code decreases, inspection, validation, and testing increase. The result is that traceability, workflow, and reporting are inclusive of customer code but also supplier code. For example, defects with an open source project need to be captured, shared, and tracked in a similar way to internal defects. The difference is that, unlike with internal development, those defects will also feature in the open source project and be fixed by people outside of the customer's organization. The implication of licenses and IP ownership was discussed, with one in the group painting a very bleak picture. He described a scenario where because of the result of one massive IP infringement a company is forced to stop operating, with the resulting fallout being a massive, wholesale movement away from open source software and associated complex IP and licensing issues. Though this example was extreme, the group agreed that licensing should be part of the governance for any ALM solution. This increased complexity of code ownership will require ALM solutions to:
Business will require even faster delivery
As one member of the group stated: "If the last two years are indicative of the next five, we will have to deliver software faster and faster. Maybe even before the business has thought of it." The need to deliver business capabilities at great speed is the reality. As software becomes increasingly important to the overall value of the business, it moves from supporting the processes to becoming the processes. The result is that the short-term needs of the business translate into short-term requirements of the systems. Time lags, invisible queues, and process latency will have no place in the modern application lifecycle. This requires ALM solutions to:
Security, security, and more security
Perhaps because of more-complex supply chains or the advent of cloud-based delivery models, the group highlighted that security of both development assets and the delivered security of the applications will increasingly be the responsibility of ALM. Not only will this require more-robust testing environments including a real mirror of production (an area that the majority of the group agreed was sadly lacking from their own environment) but also the management of security requirements, policy, and known problems in a way that is similar to how software vendors manage their assets. It also will require more frequent security patch releases for application code. The result for application lifecycle management is:
There were many other areas that the group discussed, including skills, outsourcing, compliance, mobile, mixed platforms, cross-functional teams, and end user development, all of which could be included in this blog, but I picked the top topics… Would love to hear your vision for ALM in 2016…
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