Forrester Forum: Software development must become a ‘zero day event’ to meet mobile and IoT demand

Software will need to be updated on a daily basis, according to Forrester Research analyst Michael Facemire

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Software development will become a ‘zero day event’ as businesses are forced to move faster to meet customer demands for new web, mobile and internet of things applications.

That is the view of Forrester Research principal analyst Michael Facemire, who told delegates at the the Forrester Forum in Lisbon that, while traditional application development has often taken over a year to complete, there is now pressure to update software on an almost daily basis. 

“The challenge right now is that the pressure is to get mobile, web and IoT [applications] out in roughly two to four months,” he said.  

“So we are going from a 12 to 18 month lifecycle to one that is two to four months. How do we make that transition? That is incredibly difficult and the biggest challenge with this is that software is approaching a zero day event. 

“Today when executives come and they say we need to build something and they say they need it today, they mean today. And because there is so much choice, if [a business] can’t provide it, somebody else will.”

Facemire cited the example the example of online retail giant Amazon, which updates its software over a hundred times a day, and even more than a hundred times a minute at times. “We don’t need to go that far, but we do need to listen to our customers, understand what they need, develop and give it to them. 

“So build that minimum viable product and quantify the feedback you are getting.”

However, he said that as development frames are reduced, many organisations are failing to get input from end users. “We just write code and ship - no testing, no talking to customers, we just put it out there and ship it. The problem is we still need to get it done right.”

He added: “We have to move from a model where [developers] are in a room isolated by themselves to come up with software, to a model where it is feedback driven, where we actually talk to our customers and ask them what they want,” he said. 

“So many times we have ‘feature creep’. We have to define what is the core objective and success criteria that we need to deliver to our customers, and then build just the core”

Facemire said this means moving to a feedback driven development model using analytics to gain a better understanding of customer requirements. 

“If you are building software without analytics you are building it wrong - it is like building in the dark. Understand what your customers want, listen to what they want, align that feedback and rinse and repeat," he said.

“Know what they want and have data on what they want, and use that data to make product decisions. If you do this you and your development teams will become much closer to your customers.”