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Software Wasteland: How the Application-Centric Mindset is Hobbling our Enterprises

Book Description

Know what's causing application development waste so you can turn the tide.

This is the book your Systems Integrator and your Application Software vendor don't want you to read. Enterprise IT (Information Technology) is a $3.8 trillion per year industry worldwide. Most of it is waste.

We've grown used to projects costing tens of millions or even billions of dollars, and routinely running over budget and schedule many times over. These overages in both time and money are almost all wasted resources. However, the waste is hard to see, after being so marbled through all the products, processes, and guiding principles. That is what this book is about. We must see, understand, and agree about the problem before we can take coordinated action to address it.

The trajectory of this book is as follows:
  • In Chapter 1, we explore how bad the current state is. The three industries that address software waste are discussed, including the legacy software industry, neo-legacy software industry, and legacy modernization industry. Examples of application waste are illustrated from both public and private sectors.
  • In Chapter 2, we explore the economics of the software industry. Although the economic tradeoffs are changing at the speed of Moore's Law, our approaches are not keeping pace. Learn how information systems really behave in terms of actual application development.
  • In Chapter 3 we use "root cause analysis" to reveal the real contributors to this situation, which are dependency, redundancy, complexity, and application centricity.
  • Chapter 4 recounts the many failed attempts we've made in the past to deal with information system complexity, including relational databases, ERP systems, enterprise data modeling, service oriented architectures, and APIs, Agile, data warehouse and business intelligence, outsourcing and offshoring, cloud, Software as a Service (SaaS), data lakes, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
  • Chapter 5 dismantles seven fallacies that contribute to our remaining stuck. For example, the first fallacy is "We need detailed requirements or we won't get what we want."
  • The quagmire is not affecting all sectors of the economy equally. Chapter 6 looks at how this is playing out in the government and private sectors, large and small companies, and various parts of the IT industry itself.
  • Chapter 7 outlines some action you can take now to begin to extricate yourself, including a detailed assessment and defining metrics for measuring and preventing software development waste.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. CHAPTER 1 How bad is it?
    1. Waste in the information systems industry
    2. Industries that clean up the waste
    3. A thought experiment on waste
    4. How to spend a billion dollars on a million-dollar system
    5. Summary
  3. CHAPTER 2 The hidden levers driving waste
    1. How to think about information systems resources
    2. How information system costs really behave
    3. Summary
  4. CHAPTER 3 The application-centric mindset
    1. Dependency
    2. Redundancy
    3. Complexity
    4. Application centricity and complexity math
    5. Summary
  5. CHAPTER 4 Why what we’ve tried before hasn’t helped
    1. Relational databases
    2. ERP systems
    3. Enterprise data modeling
    4. Service-oriented architecture and APIs
    5. Agile
    6. Data warehouse and business intelligence
    7. Outsourcing and offshoring
    8. Cloud
    9. Software as a Service (SaaS)
    10. Data lakes
    11. Machine learning and artificial intelligence
    12. Summary
  6. CHAPTER 5 How we stay trapped
    1. Fallacy # 1 “We need detailed requirements or we won’t get what we want”
    2. Fallacy # 2 “It will cost more to reinvent the wheel”
    3. Fallacy # 3 “Software development is analogous to construction or manufacturing”
    4. Fallacy # 4 “Software projects can only be estimated by analogy”
    5. Fallacy # 5 “Having one neck to choke is an advantage”
    6. Fallacy # 6 “Each application has a positive ROI, therefore my IT portfolio must be returning far more than I am spending”
    7. Fallacy # 7 “We’re not in the information systems business”
    8. Summary
  7. CHAPTER 6 The quagmire by sector
    1. How the quagmire looks for government
    2. The death and rebirth of the application software industry
    3. Two industries under siege
    4. Outsourcing
    5. Offshoring
    6. The new platform vendors
    7. How application centricity robs productivity from small business
    8. Summary
  8. CHAPTER 7 Turning the tide
    1. Assessment
    2. Starting to extricate yourself
    3. Summary
  9. APPENDIX Size of the Enterprise IT market
    1. The industry by factor
  10. Index