Increasing ProductivityBy Baselinemag | Posted 2005-08-04 Print
Building solid, efficient software that runs a business often requires as much management and discipline as erecting an office building.
"This is definitely aimed at developer productivity," says Tom Gimpel, chief software architect at GMAC Commercial Mortgage. But he adds that any improvements will be incremental: "I'm not expecting a quantum leap."
For many, though, the toughest part of a software project remains the human part of the equation: answering the question of what the system is supposed to do. "That's fundamentally a business issue, not a software issue," says says Paul Takemura, director of information technology at Health Alliance Medical Plans, a health maintenance organization in Urbana, Ill.
Software can help outline and manage the business requirements for an application, but there's no magic wand to solve the issue, Takemura says. "You just have to sit down and figure it out. It's getting the business side to understand they need to tell us what they need to accomplish, not whether the technology is available to do it."
Software sometimes seems intangible and infinitely malleable. But building solid, efficient code that runs a business often requires as much management and discipline as erecting an office building.
GROUP DYNAMICS: Application development management
What It Is: Software for developing and managing software assets and projects. Allows teams to gather business requirements for how the software should function; design, program and test applications; and manage changes to software.
Key Players: Borland Software, Computer Associates, Compuware, IBM, Mercury Interactive, MKS, Microsoft, Serena Software, Telelogic
Market Size: $2.2 billion, application life-cycle management software worldwide, 2004 (IDC)
What's Happening: Vendors are building in features that more precisely identify what a business needs from an application, and then track those goals through to its deployment and operation. Microsoft and Borland, which have historically focused on programming tools, are trying to extend their suites to handle the entire software life cycle.
Expertise Online: CM Crossroads (www.cmcrossroads.com) provides discussion forums, newsletters, job listings and a library of resource links related to managing application development.
Companies in italics are featured in dossiers this month.
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