What does a 21st century software development process look like?

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During the last three months I have been talking to many people on what a software development process looks like to them in the 21st century — you have seen some of the initial thoughts and ideas posted in this blog.

The community seems full of different views as to what makes a process, or even if process, as we currently think of it, is right for software development teams.

It is clear that software development is NOT the same as other manufacturing processes, and that organizations that approach software development in that manner do not exploit the opportunity for innovation or develop an efficient process.

In the pursuit of building better software, it has always been the belief of most senior managers that if you have a good process you will get great software; that problems with software can be attributed to problems with process.

Many people are now questioning that traditional mindset, believing that changing the tasks, work products, and responsibilities within the process does not lead to success, but a focus on culture, knowledge, and skills will instead improve the end product.

This change in emphasis is embodied by the Agile methods movement and described nicely in one principle in the Agile manifesto ‘Individuals and interactions over process and tools’.

Initiatives around process improvement such as the CMMI seem to be drying up, with companies either at the level they desire or seeing no real value from such work. A focus on professional development with content such as PMBOK and BABOK are gaining favor with an increased focus on the practices of software rather than the processes.

Are we seeing a tide change? Is software development process changing focus? A new survey is currently underway to help uncover the truth about process in the 21st century. If you have 10 minutes please take it, your contribution and support will help shape how we think about process in the future. You will also receive a copy of the report when it is published. Access survey here.

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