As the use of IT within organisations matures, for many non-technical executives, Application Development still seems a very hit-and-miss affair. There is a frustratingly high incidence of IT project failures, where projects are either abandoned or delivered way over budget and without the required functionality.
Technology itself is rarely to blame for this failure, with a few notable exceptions, and IT managers are often at a loss as to how to improve things. There is great pressure to buy new tools to help developers become more productive, and yet coding only takes up 20% of the entire Application Development lifecycle. Improvements in productivity may have little effect other than getting to failure faster if they are not combined with improvements in the process of development. Butler Group believes that a formal, documented, Application Development Strategy is an essential part of the overall process of IT Governance.
Whilst technology may not necessarily be to blame, the whole IT environment is undoubtedly highly complex, making IT skills in demand, yet there is a shortage of many of the key skills that organisations are seeking.
Formal methodologies are often seen as a burden on the whole development process. However, a methodology is simply an encapsulation of a way that development has been successful, and can help to repeat the success in future.
Many of the issues surrounding the development of successful applications relate as much to the people and the process as to the technology that is used to develop and write code. Organisations need to encourage better project management skills in order to control projects more tightly.