Considering how important software development has become for countless firms, it is imperative for organizations to embrace best practices in this field. Investing in the right tools and recruiting top-notch personnel are essential, but these resources can only deliver the best possible results if optimized strategies are in place.
Perhaps the single most critical strategic component to successful software development efforts is collaboration. When developers have the opportunity to work closely with one another and other stakeholders, the results of their efforts are significantly improved.
A new study offered further support of this notion. Conducted by the Linux Foundation, the Collaborative Development Trends Report found that software development collaboration between companies is becoming increasingly popular, delivering greater performance for participating organizations, InfoWorld reported.
Collaboration across boundaries
The report included responses from 167 business managers and executives as well as 519 software developers, many of whom work for leading companies such as Intel, Google and IBM, according to the news source. The study determined that these firms are sharing software development resources with growing frequency, and then expanding on these collaborative efforts to develop their own unique code.
"This is the new way the industry works together," Jim Zemlin, director of the Linux Foundation, said at the recent Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, the news source reported. "We don't go to standards-setting bodies. Interoperability comes from working code built under the auspices of large-scale development projects."
Among survey participants, 80 percent said collaboration development practices have, over the past three years, become integral to their organizations' strategies. Almost half of respondents said that they initiated collaborative development efforts to improve innovation or potentially transform their industries, according to the news source.
Nearly half of participating business managers and executives said that their companies will increase their investments in collaborative software development efforts over the next six months. Among developers, 63 percent said they spend more time on collaborative software development now relative to five years ago. Fifty-nine percent said they are more focused on collaboration now than a year ago, the news source reported.
The study further revealed that both business stakeholders and software developers benefit from this greater focus on inter-corporate collaboration, according to InfoWorld. Among the former group, more than three-fourths indicated that their organizations have seen advantages such as a faster time to market and shorter development cycle, thanks to the improved efficiency offered by collaboration. An even greater portion of software developers spoke highly of collaboration, with 83 percent saying that they benefit personally, as these practices expose them to new development practices and tools that they might otherwise never encounter.
Making collaboration work
However, despite the fast-growing popularity of these collaborative efforts, there are a number of issues which organizations must account for before enjoying the benefits outlined above.
Notably, firms need to invest in the ideal tools for their software developers to utilize. For example, static code analysis solutions are invaluable for testing and verifying code developed by multiple developers, even across different organizations. To maximize effectiveness, these tools must be able to integrate into existing development environments and flexible enough to meet the needs of unique businesses.
By enabling software developers to work across company lines and collaborate with other industry professionals, businesses can enjoy mutually competitive advantages, improving performance without sacrificing their unique offerings or brand identities.