Software Development: Unsafe at Any Speed?

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Five Business Process Management Pitfalls to Avoid

As a general rule, the faster anything goes the less ultimate control there is. As businesses become more dependent on each other than ever, the inherent conflict between the need to deliver software projects quickly while still maintaining control over those projects is at an all-time high.

Speaking at the IBM Innovate 2012 conference, Dr. Kristof Kloeckner, general manager for Rational at IBM Software, says that software development today is synonymous with business innovation. That change, says Kloeckner, is creating a perfect storm of societal, technical and business drives that are forcing organizations to change the culture within their development organizations where agile developers, also known as "hippies," all too often are at loggerheads with "control freaks."

There can be no compromise, says Kloeckner, between the speed at which a software development project is created and the amount of control that the business needs to exercise in order to ensure both quality control and compliance with any number of regulations. After all, without governance the software development project is likely to fail. But too much governance usually means that the project will be delivered too late to make a significant business impact. Kloeckner says that one of the biggest benefits of an application lifecycle management (ALM) platform is that it allows organizations to capture best practices and more easily reuse code that is proven to work.

Kloeckner says this issue is becoming even more critical as everything on the planet becomes programmable. IT organizations are inherently assuming more responsibility for projects that in many cases result in a cascading series of catastrophic events if anything goes wrong. In fact, IBM officials say that 25 percent of the recalls made by the Federal Drug Administration are software-related. That means bridging the gap between developers and IT operations people, also known as DevOps, has become a critical business issue.

To help address that issue IBM further opened its ALM platform to include support for a broader set of open source and third-party development tools while also extending the reach of the collaboration capabilities of the platform. The IBM Collaborative Lifecycle Management and related services are now available as a cloud service and can be integrated with IBM's Worklight platform for building mobile computing applications. The Jazz collaboration framework that is at the heart of the IBM Collaborative Lifecycle Management platform will also be integrated with the work coming out of the Linked Data Platform Working Group project led by the W3C that IBM is making a standardized part of the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) core specification.

In a world where every business process is tied back to software, the increasing complexity of that software is not only increasing costs, it's pushing the risks associated with deploying and managing that software ever higher. To what degree any of the software is unsafe is still anybody's guess. But as the complexity of that software increases, the law of averages dictates that it's only a matter of time before one thing or another goes tragically wrong.

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