Do Developers Lack the Customer Insights Required for Success?

Survey shows a disconnect between what developers need and what organizations provide.

This is an excerpt from
Think Your Organization is on Top of Your Software Development Game?, a research paper from CA Technologies with perspectives on a recent Freeform Dynamics survey of software developers.

In the past, IT has been largely inwardly focused, aiming to optimize and digitize internal business functions. The ongoing and accelerating revolution around mobile connectivity and apps everywhere means that enterprises of every kind have to be more externally focused.

IT organizations are being tasked with doing new things, and many of them are either at the very start of this process or still don’t really get it. Their developers—who are trying to define new ways of taking products and services to market, and aiming to connect with and keep the loyalty of their customers—are confused. And that means the companies they work for are also probably confused about direction and strategy.


Current software development processes lack discipline and customer insight.

All of us are seeing our attitudes and working practices revolutionized by the consumerization of technology. This has put technology on the path to democratization, so any developer can now access tools and resources at a mouse click. Big centralized IT is no longer needed to create value—this can be done today by freelance development teams using cheap open source tools, building highly targeted and localized “digital native” apps, often without even telling the CIO.

The right approach is not to impose restrictions on creative developers, but to get the enterprise in tune with those people who best understand the most efficient, frictionless ways to create new value. That means operating in new ways and adopting new methodologies. Above all, it means listening to what developers say. The move to agile methodologies, for example, is a reflection of developers’ desire to move more quickly and be freed from waterfall-type software building methods.

Going back to the first research finding: if developers feel they cannot connect with end users to understand how their work is accepted, or to pick up fast and usable feedback, then you have a problem. If there is a lack of understanding about the methods and a lack of consistency about how these are used, then you have another problem as well.

December 05, 2017