by Prof Barry Dwolatzky
So why do I write this blog? The answer is simple … I’m on a crusade. The sub-title of my blog makes it clear what this crusade is (broadly) about. It says I’m “passionate about the SA software industry”. My focus, however, is much sharper than that. Put quite simply … I’m on a crusade to ensure that the SA software sector grows in size and international reputation over the next 5 years. Furthermore I need to be able to accurately monitor and measure this growth.
Is this a pointless crusade? Am I a Don Quixote figure tilting at windmills?
Obviously I believe strongly that my mission is achievable. I also don’t, for one moment, underestimate the difficulties I face.
So – let me lay it down in front of you! Here is my action plan:
1. My first step is to clearly define what I mean by the “SA software development industry”.
2. Having agreed what the “industry” is I need to measure its current performance. After considerable thought I’ve decided that the performance of the industry will be determined by collecting a set of 5 numbers from as many software development projects as possible. These numbers are:
- Size: Number of people in the team.
- Schedule Performance: What was the difference (in days) between the promised completion date and the actual completion date?
- Cost performance: What was the difference (in Rands) between the promised budget and the actual cost?
- Project size/complexity: How big and how complex was the application developed in the project?
- Quality: How many defects (or “bugs”) were discovered during system testing?
These – per project – measures will then be averaged to give a measure of the state of software development in South Africa.
3. I will then implement a strategy (see below) to improve the performance of the industry. My strategy also aims to increase the number of people employed in developing software in South Africa.
4. On an ongoing basis the measures listed above will be collected and reported on.
5. If my crusade is to be a success, I would want to see improvements in both performance and the number of jobs.
Before you say that this is “pie-in-the-sky”, or “mission impossible”, let me ask what else we should do to sustain and grow our local software industry? We need to have ambitious plans, and (I believe) we need to monitor progress. I accept that it’s going to be difficult, but I’m ready to try!
I’ve developed a strategy (see point 3 above) that aims to achieve my mission. I call it the JCSE’s “Thousand Job Strategy”. It aims to create 1,000 new software development jobs in South Africa over the next 3 years. It also aims to achieve a significant and quantifiable improvement in the performance of local software development teams.
Are you interested in finding out more about the “Thousand Job Strategy”? It will be unveiled at the annual JCSE Process Improvement Symposium on 26th October 2010 from 8:45 to 12:45 at the Sunnyside Park Hotel, Johannesburg. I will be inviting comments, both supportive and critical.
The Symposium will also be addressed by the eminent international software engineer, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Manfred Nagl, Emeritus Professor of Software Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Germany.
Visit www.jcse.org.za to find out more about the Symposium. Documents describing the “Thousand Job Strategy” will be posted on this blog after the Symposium.