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Survey: Dev Outlook Shifting

The last couple years have been among the worst in memory for dev professionals, but a recent survey indicates that better times may be in the offing. ALM solutions provider Serena Software in November conducted a survey that shows shifting priorities among dev shops, which have until recently been focused tightly on cost reduction.

Serena VP of Corporate and Community Marketing Adam Frankl said his company surveyed attendees at the Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit held by Gartner in Los Angeles in November. The four-question survey drew some 200 responses from an audience of senior level executives and technical decision makers across dev and IT. When asked to identify top application development priorities, 61 percent of survey respondents included "Deliver applications faster" among their primary goals. By contrast, "Reduce app costs" was identified by only half the respondents. The results mark a sharp shift in attitudes, Frankl said.

"Over each of last three years, I can tell you that reducing application development costs was by far the number one priority," Frankl said. "There has been such a focus on cost cutting these last three years that most of these organizations have become really efficient."

Expanding the use of Agile practices was the third-most cited priority, appearing on 46 percent of responses.

The Agile Challenge
Frankl said the survey shows a rapidly increasing need to deal with escalating challenges posed by Agile development. When survey respondents were asked about management focus on ALM problems, the top concern was with disconnected processes and inefficient handoffs among dev and IT departments.

"The movement to Agile has definitely improved productivity for development teams, but it is causing a lot of pain for other departments in the organization," he said. "When the team moves to Agile they are producing a lot of incremental releases in a shorter period. And the people who have to deploy them are seeing an increase in workloads and no increase in budget."

According to the survey, 20 percent of respondents had seen the number of releases double compared to two to three years ago, while another 20 percent said the pace of releases has increased by 50 percent or more. Fifteen percent of respondents reported release frequencies increasing by five to ten times compared to two or three years ago.

"At some point in the last few years we crossed the tipping point for Agile and most of the teams are using Agile," Frankle said, "and that's when the release volumes just started going crazy."

Frankl said that managing release cycles is an immediate issue.

"A lot of pain points you see happening over years and years. This one is happening practically overnight."

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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