Software Quality and Developer Productivity took center stage last week during a software development and productivity event hosted by Leda and CAST.  Findings from two studies showed that application benchmarking is essential to measure software quality and development team productivity.
Merino, CAST’s Solutions Designer explained that, “It is necessary to understand the state of applications, and to base your strategy on that data. In addition, measurement, to be effective, accurate and accepted by others, must be based on standards.” Merino further explained how software measurement and analysis has different objectives, the primary purpose is to make better decisions based on real data; decision that help increase revenues or reduce costs.

Software Quality and Developer Productivity: Together Improve Efficiency

In the current tech scene, it has become common practice to refer to programmers as engineers. It seems that if you aren't part of sales or marketing teams you are now entitled to being designated as an engineer. However, what has been forgotten over the 50 years of looking to turn software development into a legitimate engineering practice, is that we still haven't reached the aspiration of being just that: a legitimate engineering practice. Traditional engineers have to go through stringent regulation, certification, and apprenticeships in order to gain the title. This creates an implicit responsibility of providing reliability and public safety. Software development hasn't reached this point yet - software quality and standards are not universally valued.

So why is the tech industry using the engineering title to describe its technical workers?

Faltering Software Quality and Standards: Why Programmers Should Stop Calling Themselves Engineers
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There is always a battle between the amount of time you have to get things done and the amount of work you have to do to get those things done. There is usually less time than what you need to complete all that work. This time vs. work dynamic is what creates technical debt. Hitting a release deadline is often valued over writing clean code, which leads to technical debt build up. This means the next release you are working on is going to take longer, leading you to take on more debt. A cycle like this is dangerous because it leads to poorly constructed code and can even result in system failures.
Defining Technical Debt: What It Is and What It Is Not

Southwest Airlines is the latest victim of the airline scandal. What scandal? It’s the one where airlines continue to cause travel delays due to poorly managed IT systems. It’s the one that caused Southwest to delay 836 flights on Monday and distribute HAND written tickets to passengers because of a ‘software glitch’. Southwest isn’t alone. United Airlines grounded hundreds of flights in July and American Airlines did the same in September and April. How long will consumers have to wait before these organizations figure out that the glitches are caused by bad software quality, which creates bad service?

Bad Software Quality Crashes Airlines’ IT Systems, Again: When Is Enough Enough?
Open source is part of almost every software capability we use today. At the  very least libraries, frameworks or databases that get used in mission critical  IT systems. In some cases entire systems being build on top of open source  foundations. Since we have been benchmarking IT software for years, we thought  we would set our sights on some of the most commonly used open source software  (OSS) projects. Quality of Open Source Software Projects Report

Reifer Consultants LLC’s recent white paper, Software Benchmarks and Benchmarking, discusses software benchmarking process and provides information on industry

Software Benchmarks and Benchmarking
In the development cycle there are many places where technical debt can rear its head and cause problems down the line for the product you’re developing. In order to tackle the problem of technical debt first teams need to know what it’s comprised of, how to identify it, and, then, how to address it’s presence in a system.
The Symptoms and Causes of Technical Debt
In our 29-criteria evaluation of the static application security testing (SAST)  market, we identified the 10 most significant vendors — CAST, CA Veracode,  Checkmarx, IBM, Micro Focus, Parasoft, Rogue Wave Software, SiteLock,  SonarSource, and Synopsys — and researched, analyzed, and scored them. This  report shows how each measures up and helps security professionals make the  right choice. Forrester Wave: Static Application Security Testing, Q4 2017  Analyst Paper

Last week, CAST, a global leader in software analytics, invited more than 100 IT professionals to participate in a software risk and analytics roundtable in New York, NY. The daylong exchange included CIOs, industry analysts, systems integrators and IT advisory firms. As an outcome of this gathering, CAST published an IT Trends 2016 Report. The following post attempts to capture some of the exchange between participants and key takeaways.

IT Trends 2016: Insights from the CAST CIO and IT Leaders’ Roundtable Discussion

Topping the list of IT Trends 2016 is helping CIOs take advantage of Big Data for themselves, while cutting through the clutter. Accelerating the time from data to decision requires analytics that highlight areas of risk and opportunity in support of business decisions, not technical ones. Proactive, predictive insight arms CIOs with the ability to ask the right questions, to challenge the status quo and surface technical risks that jeopardize revenue, reputation or brand. Real-time solutions that improve the signal-to-noise ratio top the CIO’s wish list for 2016.

IT Trends 2016
This study by CAST reveals potential reasons for poor software quality that  puts businesses at risk, including clashes with management and little  understanding of system architecture. What Motivates Today’s Top Performing  Developers Survey

Legacy Code

When a business develops software, new technologies eventually outgrow the software. But that doesn’t mean the software stops working, which is why businesses continue to use legacy software. In fact, after all the fixes and patches, the legacy software still gets used because it simply works, even if it means the users are forced to run older operating systems and older web browsers to use it.

Measuring Legacy Systems for Technical Debt and Quality

DARPA's quest for better software quality is honorable but misguided.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Carolco Pictures

Software Quality Gets Better through Standardization NOT Innovation

Recently, the U.S. government has implemented healthcare reimbursements based on the outcome of medical treatments, rather than a traditional fee-for-service approach.   These performance-based programs are designed to improve healthcare quality while lowering treatment cost.  It’s this outcomes-based approach that Fortune 500 companies are considering as a way of reducing ADM costs while improving software quality.

What Do Software Analytics and Your Doctor Have in Common?

Shravan Dantu joins CAST as VP and Country Manager, India, from Avanade, a technology services and IT consulting company. During his 18 years of experience, playing various roles in IT consulting and outsourcing services, he has consulted customers across a range of industries such as: Life Sciences, Insurance, Healthcare, Retail, and Financial Services. Shravan has also been involved in setting up large IT, BPO global delivery, and offshoring programs. With such dynamic experience, Shravan is a crucial addition to the CAST team

We’re Growing! Linda Calabrese Joins CAST from Oracle

If you've read the news lately, you've seen headline after headline (some, even on our blog) about computer glitches, technical failures, software risk, and hacks.  The health of applications is now under more microscopic attention than ever before - because no matter whether internal or external causes prompt a software outage, the security and stability of your applications are paramount.

The Importance of Checking Software Risk and Software Quality: A Wake-Up Call to Firms Across the Globe

In 2014, the IT infrastructure at the Federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was upgraded from a security rating of "material weakness" to one of "significant deficiency," according to The Wall Street Journal's CIO Report. Which means that the OPM, even after upgrading to mitigate software risk, wasn’t up to snuff. That is - to put simply - unacceptable. It is also both a dismal and infuriating fact to learn - especially for those who were among the 21 million present and past Federal employees, revealed last week, to have had their Social Security numbers and other personal information stolen in the recent data breach.

Software Risk: A Tale of Technology Woes and Failures

We’re sure that by now, you’ve seen all of the stories about last week’s computer turmoil at the New York Stock Exchange, United Airlines, the Wall Street Journal, and TD Ameritrade.  And as a top-level executive you’ve probably launched an internal review, or at least asked yourself, “Could it happen here?”
The simple answer is, unfortunately, “yes, it most definitely could.”

An Open Letter to the CIOs of Global 2000 Companies

The events of last Wednesday proved that things often do come in threes. The “rule of three” reared its ugly head, as technical failures occurred at three large American organizations: the New York Stock Exchange, United Airlines, and The Wall Street Journal. United Airlines grounded all flights nationwide, wasn't able to conduct background checks of passengers, and left flight attendants handwriting tickets (many of which were not accepted by TSA agents). Then, the NYSE suspended trading for almost four hours, the first time in a decade that trading was halted during regular business hours. The Wall Street Journal's homepage also faced difficulties and was offline for almost an hour.

The Rule of Three: NYSE, UAL, and WSJ Operations Foiled by Their Own Systems

When Electronic Health Records were first installed into hospitals and networks, it was seen as a great innovation. However, an important step in their implementation was glazed over: ensuring their security. According to Politico, hacks related to security lapses have cost the healthcare industry around $6 billion a year.

Healthcare Giants and Consumers Are Both Victims When It Comes To Security Violations