Survey Says: Private Sector and Federal Government Have Contrasting App Dev Priorities

At Serena, we pride ourselves on staying on top of relevant trends and application development issues in all the major markets. Thus we often run targeted surveys to dig deeper into the behavior of a select market. We ran one such survey at our annual Federal User Group meeting held last month in Washington, DC to learn more about the application development priorities and key issues that IT teams from the US Federal Government sector are facing. Serena has a long and successful history of exceptional Federal Government implementations, so the data uncovered in our survey is invaluable.

Respondents of the Federal User Group survey include a mix of IT people working in the Federal sector, including at civilian agencies, defense agencies, system integrators and government contractors. The results were particularly interesting when compared to a similar, private sector-focused study that Serena performed last year at Gartner’s AADI Summit.

For instance, Standardizing Methodologies was the number one application development priority in the Federal survey, but ranked number four with private-sector respondents (there were a total of eight priorities in both studies). In addition, Automating Tasks was more important to the Federal group, reported as the number three priority, but was near the bottom of the responses from the Gartner AADI Summit. At the other end of the spectrum, respondents from the Gartner AADI Summit ranked Agile Development near the top in importance (number two priority), whereas it fell near the bottom in overall importance for Federal respondents. Interestingly enough, the hype of cloud computing was lost on both sides as both Federal respondents and those surveyed at the Gartner AADI Summit had Moving Apps to the Cloud as their least important priority.

While development priorities may differ according to the research, all IT organizations agree on key initiatives including these three in the order below:

  1. Management of application development as a business process;
  2. Central or federated repository for all application development artifacts;
  3. End-to-end traceability from production back to requirements.

So what does this research tell us? While the Federal sector may consider Agile less important among all their different IT priorities (compared to the private sector adopting Agile methods more often), it has in fact adopted more forward-thinking automated development processes than the private sector.

Reducing overall application development costs and delivering applications faster are undoubtedly key priorities to both sectors. How each sector gets applications released into production is what varies.

Read more details about the top development issues for Federal IT professionals.

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