The Mythical IT Budget – Part 1: Introduction

November 24, 2010 Leave a comment

If you’re a CEO, CFO or private business owner, chances are that you have experienced software that is late, over-budget and under-delivered.  Or perhaps even worse, one or more of these has taken place without you knowing it! How do you know if that 4 million dollar budget is cost-effective? What is the metric by which you determine effectiveness?

I would submit that most organizations are not enjoying a very high rate of return on their development dollar. I would further speculate that many decision makers don’t even know that this is the case. After all, how is an executive supposed to fully understand the ramifications of their budgets when those who are in charge of the budgets aren’t making the right decisions in the first place?

The subject is a complex one and as is often the case, there is no simple answer or magic bullet. That being said, there must be a methodology in which one can measure effectiveness. Many have attempted to create business models to verify the effectiveness of this often costly line-item. Some of them have had limited success for a time period and then as technology changes, the model itself fails to deliver on its promise.

Surely there must be some something that an organization can do to ensure that they are not wasting money.  In short, there are many steps that you can take. This series of blogs will attempt to outline in various levels of detail, the best practices of software development.

Part 2: Leadership, Attitude and Culture

As is the case with most of the subjects in this series, the issues are quite involved. Each of them could be and have been the subject of an entire book. Part two of this series will attempt to push your thought process in the right direction.

Part 3: Software Methodologies – Beyond Agile and Waterfall

Certainly choosing the right methodology (Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, Extreme or others) is very important and Part 3 won’t attempt to delve into each of these. Rather, it looks at methodology through a broader lens from the perceived pain point all the way through solution and deployment.

Part 4: Software languages and databases, religion or engineering?

Which is better, Java or Microsoft’s NET? Should you use Oracle or SQL Server? While we won’t delve into this hornet’s nest, I will discuss the attitude that your technical leaders should have in choosing tools. Disclaimer, I currently have a higher level of expertise in .NET than I do Java.

Part 5: QA vs. Development – the constant battle

QA and development have a similar relationship to architects and contractors; in a word, it is typically a contentious one. I will discuss the role of each department and who should have the final word in each phase and why.

Part 6: Architectural Standards and Frame Work

Hopefully, your organization has and pays serious attention to these. If not, stop reading this blog and turn your attention to it immediately as it is money going out the window. I will explain why these are so vitally important to a healthy organization.

Please stayed tuned to this blog for Part 2 of this series.

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