Business meet Software Development, Software Development meet Business

This article is part of my Better Return On Investment from Software Development series.
These articles are aimed at senior management funding Software Developer or IT Professionals attempting to show the ROI benefits of what can sometimes seem counterintuitive.
This ever growing library is provided free of charge and can be found here.

Welcome to the first in a series of articles introducing Business managers to Software Development. In the series I plan to look at common questions, concerns and general misunderstanding that occur.


Simply put: most businesses aren't getting the best ROI (Return On Investment) on their software development spend. My aim, through these articles, is to help you improve on the value you are getting.

If you commission bespoke software (even a website), you can quickly be investing very large sums of money. Even the smallest of internal development teams will be costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Do you feel that you are getting an appropriate return?

How does software development deliver value?

Software Development is no different than any other business activity in terms of its value stream. It should be delivering value in one, two or all of the following areas:

It’s often easy for management and the development team to lose sight of this.

Are you clear on what value you are getting from your investment?

And if you are within the considerable minority that believes the do, do you believe you are getting the best out of that investment?

Why do I need these articles?

"I should estimate that in my experience most troubles and most possibilities for improvement add up to the proportions something like this: 94% belongs to the system (responsibility of management) 6% special" Out of Crisis - W. Edwards Deming

Largely put, if you want to get better ROI from the Development Team, you will likely need to help them.

Optimal Software Development value is difficult to achieve through traditional management techniques. If anything traditional management can be detrimental for achieving the best.

That isn’t saying that you have to do all the work. The work is with the development team – you just need to provide them with the right support and environment. And a lot of this comes as a change of mind-set.

Side note: Software Development isn’t unique in this – other teams in your organisation will likely benefit from the same treatment. In this series of articles though, I’m focusing on just software development.

Why is software development different?

Software Development is complex.

Really, really, really complex.

So why is software development complex?

I’ll expand on this in my next article, but just to give you some idea; has 136,447 books in its “Programming” category. 690 of those have been released in the last 30 days.

Long story short, it’s a big subject and it’s growing day by day.

How will the articles work?

In each article I’ll look at areas of development that I believe would be useful. The initial few will likely act as primers for later articles. I’ll link back to these primers as appropriate – so feel free to jump backwards and forwards as suits you.

I'm happy to be driven by questions, so if there is something you've ever wanted to know, then just ask.

I will tie each article back to ROI so that it has context within the operation of the business.

While I'll avoid techno babble as possible, for where I do, I’ll include a glossary of terms.

And for most articles, I’ll also include links to further reading.

So when will you start?

I’d like to expand on the “why is software development complex?” above.

So much of that is key to understanding how to achieve the best ROI from software development that it makes sense to get that done – thus I can refer back to it in future articles.

I hope to have an article out every week.

I’ve got a question?

Good. As much as I have an ego the size of a small planet, even I get tired talking (or in this case writing) to myself.

This series is likely to be only as good as the engagement in it.

Feel free to ask the question via InMail, email, Twitter etc. Unless you specifically want, I’ll not identify you in any subsequent articles.

About the author:

Mark Taylor is an experience IT Consultant passionate about helping his clients get better ROI from their Software Development.

He has over 20 years Software Development experience - over 15 of those leading teams. He has experience in a wide variety of technologies and holds certification in Microsoft Development and Scrum.

He operates through Red Folder Consultancy Ltd.