What is your AD effort worth?
- By Jack Vaughan
In recent years in U.S. businesses, application development has become far
more effective, and a lot less expensive, said Robert Solon, research director
at the Gartner Measurement practice, speaking last week at Gartner Group's
Application Development Summit 2002 in Orlando, Fla.
''We were almost half as expensive in 2001 as in 1993. This is very
interesting news. We're always told we're spending too much,'' said Solon.
Solon estimates that cost of development per function point (FP) has declined
from $390/FP in 1993 to $254/FP in 2001. This is a substantial improvement,
especially when factoring in inflation. The year 2000 bug-fix effort did run
counter to the prevailing cost reduction trend, but that trend has continued
[Note: Function points, as described by the International Function Point
Users' Group, establish a numeric index according to type and complexity. These
indexes are totaled to give an initial measure of size, which is then normalized
by incorporating factors relating to the software as a whole, to measure the
overall size and complexity of software product.]
''Application development has controlled costs, especially in support,'' said
Solon. While Gartner has good evidence to back up this assertion, Solon admits
that AD managers will still get plenty of cost pressures in days to come.
Solon added that AD must measure itself in order to merge with its
business-unit sponsors. He advised managers to integrate key performance
indicators into their performance management systems. And while Solon urged
development leaders to contribute to corporate efforts to measure the benefits
of AD to the business, he cautioned that such ''Return on Investment'' (ROI)
questions can only be answered if the business side is truly ready to try and
measure business benefit.
Agenda for Gartner Group Application Development Summit 2003 - Sept 18-20,
2002, Orlando, Fla. http://www3.gartner.com/2_events/conferences/ad4/ad4_1.jsp
The International Function Point Users Group http://www.ifpug.org/default.htm
Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.