IT Leaders Address the Value of Software Measurement & Government Mandates Impacting Development

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IT leaders from throughout the federal government discussed the value of how software measurement can positively impact their development process at CAST’s recent Cyber Risk Measurement Workshop in Arlington, VA – just outside of the Washington, D.C. area. The event brought together more than 40 IT leaders from several governmental agencies, including the Department of Defense and Department of State, system integrators and other related organizations. The group shared their experiences in how their respective organizations are driving value to end users and taxpayers.

Measuring and managing software quality is not just about compliance with government mandates, but rather around the proposition that strong software quality, security and sustainability are paramount. However, compliance remains essential. Three primary points around software compliance voiced by attendees were:

Greater discussion on the latest iterations of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) were led by John Weiler, Co-Founder of the IT Acquisition Advisory Council and Executive Director of the Interoperability Clearinghouse, as he shared how government mandates are evolving to become greater industry standards. As a result, public and private partnerships have delivered best practices on requirements, architectural planning and application portfolio management that are critical within the federal sector. A demonstration of CAST Highlight displayed how measurement tools can help address FITARA requirements.

Agile development also became a clear focal point of conversation with several presenters discussing the value of Agile practices and how organizations are taking advantage of this methodology to deliver applications on-time and on-budget. They discussed how to introduce measurement throughout all development stages in Agile environments, providing greater opportunities to correct code and structural concerns during earlier periods of production to enhance business outcomes.

Growth in the governance of software initiatives was another key point made throughout the event. Speakers emphasized that organizations need to have strong control mechanisms in place to ensure that standards are followed and quality is maintained. They stated that this does not solely rely on measuring quality, but that governance is crucial throughout processes and procedures that take measurement results as inputs to act.

“80% of software development is not measured.”

Carol Dekkers, President of Quality Plus Technologies, Inc., shared valuable information on how function point testing can be used as a standard unit of measurement to assess functional requirements and identify the overall cost of a system. Of course, non-functional requirements can dramatically increase the overall cost; however, using function points enables the “square footage” of a software project to act as key input in determining application cost and productivity.

 “The cost of a system can double based on non-functional requirements.”

The event closed with a technical review of CAST Application Intelligence Platform (AIP) 8.0. This gave attendees an opportunity to openly discuss the added benefits of 8.0 and garner best practices for transitioning into the newest platform.

Overall, the day’s sessions provided organizational leaders an opportunity to discuss their overall quality measurement challenges and takeaway solutions to help them achieve greater time-to-market outcomes. Participants walked away with greater knowledge as to how software measurement tools are being leveraged to address the needs of the organization while increasing transparency into their application portfolio to enhance development strategies.

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