Serena's ALM Nirvana: happy programmers & quantifiable business return

Serena Software is known for its ‘orchestrated’ application lifecycle management (ALM) and process management (PM) products. The company has emerged from a brief hiatus over the last few years during which it reinvented (Serena would probably prefer “refined”) its technology proposition.

The company now sits in what is arguably a comparatively well-informed position to comment on software code optimisation and application delivery.

I worked on a Q&A with Serena senior VP or worldwide marketing David Hurwitz earlier this week, which in its entirety is not appropriate for this blog — so here’s a couple of highlights

How is “devops” developing?

NB: A definition: devops is generally considered to be defined as the set of communication, collaboration and integration methods used between the software application development and programming teams and the IT team that looks after administration and infrastructure.

“I think the future for devops will be around getting greater recognition within the application development side for [operations team’s] issues such as release management. Currently, this sits outside the application development team at a lot of the customers that I speak to, yet it fundamentally affects the success of application development projects. This is especially important for the business side, as they only care that things are in place and being used successfully,” said Hurwitz.


Are we getting better, faster and more efficient with application delivery?

The initial answer to this is yes with a “but”. Application development is getting quicker, but a lot of this is not really due to improvements in process. For example, employing the use of faster hardware will generally make an application run faster and that includes during the “build phase”. It does not improve how that app was actually put together — and [therefore] it does not translate into a marked difference in performance,” said Hurwitz.

Serena’s position is that optimisation of code is something that has to be considered as part of a long-term process and methods like Agile do make this approach something that is easier to take up. The barrier here for businesses wanting to take up Agile software development methodologies is that while it benefits the development team, it’s hard to quantify what benefits it will deliver to the wider business.

Hurwitz finishes by saying that in reality, “While happier coders and continuous improvement of the quality of software that is delivered should add up to a business return, it’s very hard to put a figure on.”