Lean Agile and Fit to Purpose (more from Forrester ITF09)

This was a great session by John Rymer and Dave West.  They provided some interesting stats:
•    80-90% of IT spend is on software maintenance
•    Business are demanding innovation
•    Time to market is more critical now than ever before.

These three stats should be staring you right in the face – How can you be more innovative in shorter time frames than ever when 80-90% of your budget is spent on maintenance? 

A key message from this session is that software bloat is the biggest issue.  They pointed to five causes for software bloat:

1.    The sheer number of features we attempt to add to an application
2.    Specification and protocol stacks continue to grow
3.    Vendor consolidation leads to large suites which you have to purchase entirely
4.    Middleware continues to get more and more complex
5.    Traditional development processes lead to overly complex applications

Of course the key message is that lean software is the antidote to software bloat.  Agile methods can help us to focus on only the high priority features resulting in leaner software.  The key challenge is how to get your business to support an Agile approach and come to terms with the notion that, in many cases, it is more cost effective to not automate processes that seldom occur – they are better handled manually keeping your applications lean and focused on the key business processes.

Feel free to share examples where your business has embraced Agile and successfully de-prioritized application functionality as too low to implement.

About the author

Mike Jones

Mike is a professed 'hater' of complexity. He has been in the IT industry since the mid 80's where he learned his technical skills at EDS and Texas Instruments. He believes there is a simpler way for IT professionals to deliver business value that requires a pragmatic mix of agile methods and application development tools.

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