In a global survey of nearly 500 IT and business executives, Mendix found a widening app delivery chasm. This chasm has currently stalled 71% of businesses who report that their business demand exceeds their IT team’s readiness to deliver.
In addition to better understanding the current app delivery climate, this research found a discrepancy between how IT and business executives perceive results. Across the full survey, IT and business executives agreed on only two things:
- Business demand for custom applications is growing
- IT can’t deliver new apps fast enough
In fact, in almost every instance, business respondents were more critical than their IT counterparts. For starters, fewer business executives felt that their app delivery projects were successful. The chart below highlights success rates based on the four main factors of any successful app project: delivering on time, under budget, meeting business requirements and generating value.
The survey also asked respondents to share the degree to which they agreed with a variety of questions. Within that list, the business segment appeared wearier on a number of points. Most notably, the business segment expressed less agreement regarding IT and business collaboration.
Unfortunately, app delivery success relies heavily on close collaboration between business and IT teams. And while IT teams may feel like they’re collaborating, the business segment does not appear to agree.
Dr. George Westerman, research scientist at MIT’s Center for Digital Business, says it best in this webinar. The number one driver of perceived value is whether the business had effective oversight of IT projects. A transparent view into what’s happening in IT goes a long way.
Improving collaboration and transparency between departments is no easy feat, though. It needs to be a regular discussion point with constant refinement. And while collaboration between departments must always adapt based on the situation and team members involved, we’ve identified 7 keys to help deliver better apps through effective IT and business collaboration. This list offers a great starting point to ensure that your business and IT teams are aligned for each app delivery project.
- Align the project around the expected business value (over technical requirements of the project) – by focusing on the end goal, you automatically get to the root of the requirements (allowing IT teams to better solve for the true business need)
- Divide work based on user stories instead of specialties – in this process, developers are able to better solve for the business solution versus simply completing an assigned task. The result is better software and happier end users.
- Provide working demos or prototypes each sprint – so that you can validate assumptions by showing working functionality. Remember, the longer you wait, the greater the potential disconnect and more time to correct your course.
- Implement “walk-in” hours to synchronize with the business – so that developers can more easily interact with the business stakeholders, validate assumptions and refine requirements.
- Create the app logic together with the business – leverage their domain expertise to ensure that all business needs are immediately incorporated into the app.
- Work closely with end users for testing – so that developers can quickly identify and fix small issues on the fly.
- Implement feedback loops – to identify those details or issues which are not known within the smaller testing group responsible for building the software.
Does IT have an inflated view of their own performance? Or is the business merely a harsher critic? While it’s hard to tell precisely, it’s clear that IT and business teams need to bridge the historic divide in order to effectively develop apps that help the business innovate and compete.