Gartner AADI: Application Strategies

Presenter: Andy Kyte

The title of this session is, “If You Had an Application Strategy, What Would It Look Like?” So far, I think I’m going to like it, because he’s emphasizing the need to manage the application lifecycle. That’s application lifecycle, not application development lifecycle. The application lifecycle ends when the last version of the application is removed from production. He’s emphasizing that an application is both an asset and a liability, with the liability being all of the people, technologies, and skills required to sustain it.

He’s now getting a ton of laughs by using a puppy/dog metaphor. He stated that we don’t buy a puppy, we buy a dog. It may be all cute and playful when we get it, but it will grow in a dog that sheds, eats, etc. Applications are the same way. Great quote just now: “Business cases are focused on putting applications in, and not on what to do after it. We are contributed to the problem by not addressing this.” He emphasizes that an application strategy should cover the next seven years, or half the expected remaining life of the application, whichever is the greater.

He’s now talking about stakeholder management and hitting on all the points I usually mention when talking about Service Lifecycle Management. The application is an asset, it must have an individual who is responsible for it, lifecycle decisions should be transparent, and all stakeholders (i.e. users of the application) must be identified and actively encouraged to play some role in the governance of the application.

The rest of the session is focusing in on the creation of the strategy document and making sure that it is a living, useful document. He’s emphasized that it is a plan, but also stressed the first law of planning: “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” It’s recognized that the plan is based on assumptions about the future. By documenting those assumptions, including leading indicators, leading contra-indicators, and expected timings, we can continually monitor and change the plan.

Overall, this is a very, very good session. What’s great about this is it is promoting a genuine change in thinking in the way that probably 90% of the companies here operate. Add a great speaker to the mix, and you’ve got a very good talk.

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