Three Megatrends To Master For Application Development

Mike Gualtieri
Vice President, Principal Analyst
April 6, 2011

Hockey god Wayne Gretzky said, "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been." For application development professionals, three megatrends show you where to skate to be more successful:

  • Megatrend 1: Get faster. The recession that started in December 2007 created a hunker-down mentality. The sentiment for IT became: "We need to do more with less." As we emerge from the recession, albeit in an unresounding way, the new sentiment is: "We need to get faster." The pace of business change continues to accelerate, and that in turn has intensified the need for application development professionals to deliver and change applications faster. The industrialization of application development has failed. Scrap it. You must get faster, and that means changing your process, changing your technology, and changing your organization. Software development is more akin to making a movie than to making widgets on an assembly line.
  • Megatrend 2: Design perfect user experiences. If you get the user experience (UX) wrong, then nothing else matters. The UX is the part of your application that your employees and/or customers see and use daily. You can do an exceptional job on project management, requirements gathering, architecture, data management, testing, and coding, but if the user experience is poor, your results will be mediocre — or even a complete failure. What has changed is that users expect great user experiences because consumer product firms such as Apple continue to raise the bar on UX expectations. This is your job. You are not genetically incapable of designing great user experiences. App developers are in constant learning mode about new technologies. Get in learning mode about how to design fantastic user experiences, because that is ultimately how your application will be judged.
  • Megatrend 3: Do mobile. Smartphone and tablet applications continue to proliferate. If you are not one of the proliferators, then get on it right away. Mobile is not just another channel. It is the channel. If you think mobile app design is about choosing the best development tools and designing for a smaller screen size, guess again. Sure, the platform is important, but great mobile user experiences don’t happen just because you chose the best development tools. To deliver apps your users will love, you must design a user experience that is useful, usable, and desirable in a mobile context of location, locomotion, immediacy, intimacy, and device. See megatrends 1 and 2.

You Must Master The Megatrends

Deliver faster, design great user experiences, and have the talent to develop mobile applications, and you will be among the top application development teams in the world. To achieve this, you need to make a list of all of your processes, technologies, tools, and talent and question every single one of them:

  • Is this still the best way to do this?
  • Is there a better way?
  • How will the combination of process, technologies, tools, architecture, and talent help us master the three megatrends: get faster, user experience, and mobile?

 Please Help The Community: A Question For You . .

How many of these megatrends have you already mastered, and what processes, tools, technologies, architecture, and organization do you use to achieve success?

Forrester's Application Development & Delivery team also looks forward to helping you master the megatrends at Forrester's IT Forum on May 25-27, 2011, in Las Vegas and our EMEA event in Barcelona on June 8-10. The common theme for our ten track sessions is: faster change, user experience, and mobile.

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