March 29, 2021
Complete Guide to Software Development
This comprehensive guide digs into all things modern software development, from industry trends and general best practices to more technical topics like governance, test automation, and metrics that measure success from many different angles.
Throughout the series, 3Pillar software development experts will share insights, best practices, and lessons learned from their years on the job to help you make the most of your software investments. They’ll also offer honest advice for hiring and managing software teams based on their experience as team members and leaders.
Current State of Software Development
We’ll kick things off with a look at the state of the industry right now. We’ll discuss emerging trends from big data and API implementation to top languages and technologies. We’ll also discuss what’s driving these trends, along with a high-level look at some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in today’s digital landscape. Read more
Importance of Software Development
You might not realize it: software development touches just about all aspects of modern life.
We’re talking about everything from smartphone apps and online marketplaces to innovative solutions like AI analytics, blockchain, and the IoT.
Software development has also redefined how people access information, make purchasing decisions, and what they expect from companies. And, of course, it’s transformed how we work on a fundamental level.
In this section, we go beyond trends to examine the critical importance of software development in our society and how the rapid pace of change has impacted how businesses operate and compete in the digital age. Read more.
10 Leadership Traits for Modern Software Development Leaders
Leading a modern software development team requires a rare combination of skills that range from the hard and technical to the soft and strategic. In this section, we’ll look at 10 must-have traits for leading teams in an uncertain, ever-changing tech landscape, including adaptability, emotional intelligence, and a customer-centric mindset. You’ll also hear from 3Pillar experts who share their own insights from their experience as both team members and team leaders. Read more.
Importance of Good Governance Processes in Software Development
In the “early days” of software development, governance processes were put in place to support centralized, on-premise IT processes, development projects, and digital assets. In other words, they were designed to bring control and security to the way we used to work.
Today, governance is a whole new game. We now operate in an environment defined by cloud-based business tools, storage, distributed teams and networks, and an ever-growing big data ecosystem that’s fast becoming harder to control.
In this section, we’ll discuss the role of good governance in modern software development, touching on key concepts like Agile governance models, different frameworks, best practices, and the KPIs that measure success. Read more.
Insights for Recruiting and Retaining Great Software Talent
Regardless of industry, if your business requires software developers or engineers, you’re probably aware that we’re in the midst of a massive global skills shortage.
Per CTA’s 2020 Future of Work survey, 75% of participants say it’s hard to find qualified candidates right now, and only 15% say they think things will improve by 2025.
Solving this problem is especially crucial, as your business lives or dies by your ability to put together a winning team of talented developers.
In this section, we’ll talk about essential hard skills, soft skills, and lay down some effective strategies for recruiting, hiring, and retaining perfect-fit team members. We’ll also discuss strategies for developing internal talent and what makes employees stay around for the long haul. Read more.
Developing a Software Training Strategy That Rocks
Now that we’ve covered the recruiting and hiring process, let’s shift our focus toward training. Once you’ve hired the right people, you’ll need to have an effective system for onboarding, training, and upskilling your team in place. This is critical because technology changes at lightning speeds. Meaning, the skills that matter right now might be obsolete in a handful of months. In Chapter 6, we’ll discuss how to build a sustainable training program so that your talent evolves at the same rate as the technologies they use. Read more.
Best Practices for Creating a Software Culture Where Teams Can Thrive
Company culture is one of those “buzzy” topics that comes up all the time in conversations about work. But what does it mean—and more importantly, what does a healthy software development culture look like? In Chapter 7, we look at the key ingredients of a software culture that sets teams up for success, including shared values, goals, and best practices, as well as the importance of empathy and setting up the right work environment. Read more.
Building and Managing High-Performing Teams
In software development, quality outcomes start with great teams. Chapter 8 digs into what goes into building the right team for the project—from selecting your “skills stack” to considering things like chemistry, culture, and alignment. 3Pillar’s software development experts also share some best practices for building and maintaining high-performance teams based on their on-the-job experience. Read more.
Critical Metrics for Measuring Software Development Team Performance
Measuring development team performance is an important step in making sure you get the highest possible returns on your software investments. It allows you to identify which strategies are working, which ones aren’t, and where improvements can be made. But—determining which KPIs are worth tracking isn’t exactly straightforward—especially when you’ve got a system full of data points, some more valuable than others. In this section, we’ll explain what to look for in a performance KPI based on your business objectives. Read more.
Strategies for Improving the Performance of Software Teams
In chapter 9, we went over the best metrics for measuring team performance. But what happens if the data says your team isn’t producing the results you were hoping for? In this section, we’ll look at some strategies you can use to boost team performance and set the stage for long-term success, including better technical design, creating feedback loops, improving the high-level architecture, and more. Read more.
Managing Distributed Software Teams in the Age of COVID-19
Chapter 11 covers some of the ways managers can update their approach to leadership to align with the realities of working in the COVID era. We’ll discuss some of the unique challenges software development teams face when working remotely and how to overcome them and share some tips for establishing new norms around communication and collaborative work. Read more.
Preparing for the Future with Legacy App Modernization
For many organizations, modernizing legacy applications is the biggest transformation effort they’ll take on. It’s a complicated, high-stakes process, and there’s a lot that can go wrong. In this chapter, we’ll walk you through some best practices for nailing your app modernization, including how to define a business case and select a strategy. Read more.
Creating an Agile Enterprise with Minimum Viable Architecture
Here, we explore the idea of creating an Agile enterprise with minimum viable architecture (MVA)—an adaptable model that supports Agile development and makes it easier for teams to respond to changing consumer needs, new technologies, and shifting priorities.
We’ll break down the concept of MVA in more detail, lay out a basic roadmap, develop a communication plan, and more. Read more.
10 Components of an Effective Change Management Strategy
The hardest part of any digital initiative is convincing people to embrace change. In this chapter, we offer a basic 10-step framework for building an effective change management strategy that changes along with your business goals. Read more.
Choosing the Right Cloud Platform
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what objectives you’re targeting—digital transformation doesn’t happen without the cloud. Whether you’re ramping up investments in IoT solutions, embracing automation, or rebuilding legacy applications, you’ll need to choose a cloud provider that can support your efforts—and keep them secure, compliant, and easy to access. Read more.
Key Decision Criteria for Selecting a Software Development Framework
Selecting a software development framework is a big decision. While there’s a lot to consider, your selection tends to break down into three main factors: business strategy, team experience, and your end-customers. Each of these factors holds equal importance and can make or break a project before development gets underway. In this chapter, 3Pillar experts will share their insights on how to choose the best software framework for your business goals. Read more.
Shift Left Benefits in Software Development
Shift left testing is a proactive approach to testing that streamlines workflows and prevents quality issues from slipping through the cracks. In this chapter, we’ll explain how shift left works and look at its impact on the software development process—and the end product. Read more.
The Business Impact of CI/CD
Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) is closely linked to business value. The process enables software development teams to bring products to market faster, reduce costs, and avoid major risks. In this section, we’ll discuss the key advantages CI/CD brings to the table, such as how it supports cloud-based app development, improves quality, and allows developers to work on the projects that make the best use of their time. Read more.
Building Software Better, Cheaper, and Faster with DevOps
The benefits of a successful DevOps transformation are well-documented—we’re talking better retention employee rates, happier customers, and increased profitability. Yet, many companies still struggle to implement DevOps, whether that’s due to a problem with culture, tools, or automating bad processes. In this chapter, we’ll explain how to implement DevOps to ensure that you get the most out of your software investments. Read more.
Everything You Need to Know to Create a Test Automation Strategy
Test automation is a practice that, as you might imagine, involves running tests automatically. However, it’s important to understand that the practice is much more involved than setting up some new tools—it’s also about managing your test data and using your findings to improve software quality.
Our experts share their thoughts regarding tool selection, strategy, and setting up a test environment. We’ll also explain how testing has expanded beyond the realm of the QA team and is now owned by the entire development team and implemented at all stages in the development process. Read more.
Developing an Enterprise Software Strategy
Modern enterprises need to be able to make accurate, data-driven decisions and change the game-plan in real-time as circumstances evolve. And those that can’t keep up will soon get left behind. This chapter looks at the key ingredients of an effective enterprise software strategy: a clear business goal, a sound data strategy, and a culture and system architecture that can support the big-picture plan. Read more.
Build or Buy? A Decision-Making Framework for Software Development Investments
In this section, we’ll explore key decision criteria for deciding between COTS/Open Source and building internally. We’ll talk pros, cons, and considerations of off-the-shelf software and custom builds. We’ll also discuss when it makes sense to choose one approach over the other and what factors should inform your decision. Read more.
Strategies for Getting Approval for Software Development Projects
Whether you’re modernizing a legacy app or migrating to the cloud, all software projects begin with a detailed proposal—otherwise, it’s going to be hard to get buy-in for your idea—no matter how great it is. This chapter covers topics like performing a technical analysis, putting together a proposal, selling your idea to the team, and executing project approval workflows. Read more.
10 Software Development Issues and Challenges
Software development teams run into a lot of challenges throughout the development lifecycle. In chapter 24, we take a look at ten “big ones” facing modern development teams, including AI and automation, data privacy, CX, and cultural change—and how to overcome them. You’ll also hear from our experts, who share advice and insights from their own experiences working with a diverse range of clients. Read more.
Software Development Best Practices
Software development best practices are always changing-—however, 2021 marks a critical turning point where we’re starting to rethink industry standards, tools, and the way we work. In this section, you’ll hear from 3Pillar subject matter experts who share software development best practices for today and discuss the importance of using the right tools to capture and analyze data, automate testing, and provide a complete picture of everything that impacts your business. Read more.
Biggest Reasons Software Development Projects Fail
The exact numbers may vary based on who you ask—but most sources agree—the chances your software development project will succeed are slim. A 2020 CISQ report estimates the total cost of failed software projects among US companies is around $260B, while poor quality software is responsible for $1.56 trillion in damage caused by operational failures. The Standish Group’s 2020 CHAOS report estimates that two-thirds of software development projects fail. And, according to BCG data, around 70% of digital transformation efforts miss their targets.
These are some pretty sobering stats if you consider how many business functions—and basic life functions—rely on software in some capacity. This section examines some of the main reasons why projects fail and offers some solutions that can prevent you from becoming another statistic. Read more.
Measuring Success of Software Development Projects
Measuring the impact of your software development projects isn’t as clear-cut as you might think. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes business leaders can make is using the wrong data to analyze a project’s performance. In chapter 27, we’ll explain how to measure the success of a project based on a few different business goals—from customer success and team productivity to more traditional metrics that measure business performance. Read more.
The Importance of Integrating the User Experience into Software Development
UX, or “user experience design,” plays a critical role in the entire development process. It’s not only essential for making sure the final product aligns with customer requirements, it’s also critical for keeping costs down and releasing a product to market that people actually want to buy. In chapter 28, you’ll hear from 3Pillar experts, who explain the many ways UX, along with Agile and DevOps best practices, is key to a product’s success. Read more.
Throwing the Bones: Predictions About Future Trends in Software Development
In this final chapter, we’ll bring things back around to the topic of software development trends—this time with an eye toward the future. 3Pillar experts weigh in with their best predictions of where the industry is headed next, from hyperautomation to human augmentation and a shift toward more simplicity in programming languages. Read more.