Application development professionals need to become "lean and mean" to emerge from the current economic recession, according to Forrester Research.
In a report titled The Top Five Changes For Application Development In 2010, Forrester details five key changes with the overall goal of becoming "lean and mean so you'll be ready to move as the Great Recession wanes, thus leaving no doubt of your development team's contribution to improving business efficiency and driving increased revenue."
Embrace cloud as an early-stage platform
Cloud offerings will continue to expand and evolve and companies should look at time-to-market, scale, and comfortable entry points into the new way of consuming computing resources. Users need to figure out where cloud fits into their overall strategy and take immediate advantage of the services available.
Follow in the footsteps of the Web giants and Web start-ups
Start-ups and Web-oriented companies tend to be more agile than their enterprise counterparts. Much of this is cultural and requires developers, and more importantly, management, to recognize that the status quo has changed
Favor flexibility and cost over platform loyalty
Open-source and Web-based applications may have quietly crept into organizations previously, but now is the time to reconsider all aspects of performance, how you define "good enough" and realize that developers have more power--and more tools at their disposal than ever before.
Become passionate about user experience
As fellow CNET blogger Matt Asay wrote recently, "it's not what the software can do. It's what it does. For normal people. Without training or user manuals." To that extent, application developers need to make applications more intuitive and visually appealing in order to provide a better experience and gain more sales.
Upgrade the talent on application development teams
During the past 10 years or so, there have been a number of efforts that support smaller, more focused development teams. Technology at start-ups tends to be developed by a small group, just as open-source projects tend to be developed and maintained by a core group. This changes the manager's view of putting teams together and also puts more pressure on star developers, which can present a whole new set of challenges.
Firms like Forrester tend to work with larger companies, and my reading of these recommendations shows the evolution of both application development as well as the analysts' role in providing practical advice. There is no question that this is a positive for the IT industry and analyst groups as a whole.