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For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

Best Practices: Software Development Processes

A Framework For Improving And Modernizing Your Software Development Life Cycle

April 15, 2009

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  • By Dave West
  • with Mike Gilpin,
  • David D'Silva

Why Read This Report

Software development processes are in a state of transition, with lightweight Agile development approaches challenging traditional software development life cycles (SDLCs). Professional organizations add to the confusion with approaches such as The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), and Prince 2, adding more nomenclature to an already confusing world. However, the economic recession is adding urgency to application development professionals' need to improve their development processes in a pragmatic and focused way, making teams more effective rather than adding to their workload. To investigate the principles behind today's most effective software development processes, Forrester interviewed 25 companies in the telecom, financial services, and healthcare industries, among others. We identified process best practices in three areas: 1) define a milestone-driven software development life cycle; 2) allow teams to choose from a range of flexible, team-oriented approaches; and 3) encourage teams to learn and change the organization's DNA with communities of practice responsible for introducing new working practices and techniques without the overhead of a process group.

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Table of Contents

  • Current Software Development Life Cycles Often Reduce Team Effectiveness
  • Best Demonstrated Practices In Software Development Processes
  • Best Practice No. 1: Define A Milestone-Driven Delivery Life Cycle
  • Best Practice No. 2: Provide A Selection Of Team Approaches
  • Best Practice No. 3: Continually Identify And Evolve Practices
  • Forrester's Software Development Next Practices
  • Identifying Your Challenges
  • Case Studies
  • Supplemental Material
  • Related Research Documents