ALM Is Dead — Long Live MAD

In the last 10–15 years, a lot has happened in the application development market; in my opinion, the advent of agile has been a bigger disruptor than what many might think, and still is. Many struggle to succeed with agile, especially in trying to adopt more agile, not less, and many insist on continuing to try to scale what they’ve learned, knowing it is a long journey, just like a long journey to Mars. There are no doubts that agile has had a ripple effect on many of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) components: from a renewed relationship between development teams and application/product business stakeholders, to the way that agile encourages and enforces MVP requirements, to the way testing has become a modern practice of continuous testing, to replacing all repetitive manual steps throughout the SDLC with automation everywhere, all the way through to deployment — this has all led to a revolution of development. ALM is dead — long live MAD: modern application development. What about services? And how have application development and testing providers evolved their workforce and services to provide efficient MAD services for their clients?

MAD Services

This is the stream of research that I have been focusing on this year, together with a few folks in Forrester, including Chris Condo, Ted Schadler, Jeffrey Rajamani, and Pascal Matzke. The first research report published is the Forrester Now Tech: Modern Application Development Services, Q1 2022. In the Now Tech, we define for the first time what MAD services providers are: vendors that work collaboratively with their clients to create custom modern applications, assist in the transformation and modernization of their clients’ software development practices, and help clients adopt modern development and technologies. We identified over 46 candidate MAD services companies, and of these, we selected the top 14 under the $1 billion revenue mark that met very strict inclusion criteria. We evaluated those 14 vendors in our comparative research, The Forrester Wave™: Modern Application Development Services, Q3 2022.

The Forrester Wave™: Modern Application Development Services, Q3 2022

In our 28-criterion evaluation of modern application development services providers, the vendors 3Pillar Global, Brillio, CI&T, CSS Corp, Eleks, Grid Dynamics, Infostretch, Kin + Carta, Maveric Systems, Perficient, Quinnox, Softtek, Thoughtworks, and Wizeline were researched, analyzed, and scored. The evaluation report shows how each provider measures up and helps technology architecture and delivery professionals select the right one for their needs. The true success of MAD services comes from business value delivered and client teams’ ability to maintain and improve the solution on their own, long after providers’ guidance ends. So a key focus was on business value and how it has become a modern metric that matters the most. But product design and development capabilities with agile, DevOps, cloud-native development, microservices architectures, and more, along with MAD transformation services, are not second to delivering business value. Why? Because leading modern organizations want to achieve some level of self-sufficiency in their own capability of being able to innovate and become a key contributor, along with providers, to their own success: a true and real partnership approach with new governance and contracting shying away from staff augmentation and fixed price.

I can also add that Leaders in this Forrester Wave distinguish themselves by balancing all of the above elements in the most optimal way. As a result of these trends, MAD services customers should look for providers that can deliver great products for and with them; increase their development business value; and also help them deliver a modern application development organization over time. For more information, download the Wave evaluation, and reach out to me if you need any guidance help or have any questions at