What is internal software development

Episode 16: Evaluation of internal software development

ERP implementation

December 14, 2020

In the context of make-or-buy decisions in large IT and process projects, the question occasionally arises as to whether a development contract should be awarded internally or externally. Regardless of capacity restrictions, the alleged lack of competitiveness of your own IT is quickly brought up as an argument. In my work as a trusted advisor, I recommend having an independent assessment of the skills of internal development carried out. In this episode of the "Trusted Advisor" I explain how we do this.

The IT assessment is clad in a satisfaction survey of the IT staff. Their results provide valuable information about the internal culture in the department and about the relationship to the rest of the company. The following subject areas can be assessed not through inquiries, but only through one's own expertise:

Technology used. Here it can be determined whether the IT technologies used are state-of-the-art. If, for example, you are still working with 32-bit compilers or if the generation of the interfaces does not take the HTML5 standard into account, if synchronous or operating system-dependent procedure calls are generated, then the technologies used are out of date.

The Target architecture the in-house developed systems and the existence and scope of architecture management are to be assessed. Good for internal IT when decisions about the implementation of business requirements are explicitly addressed and answered with architecture questions.

Development processes and tools are also to be assessed. How agile is the development really? Do the processes match the environment? Are there e.g. modern tools for code management? These and other questions are the focus at this point.

Organization of IT: Here it is necessary to assess whether IT is essentially concerned with itself or whether it is able to understand business requirements and reflect them in its own competence. On the side, IT management issues also play a role.

Finally, there should be a map of the existing IT Competencies to be created. These include the processes and procedures used as well as the five layers of modern software architectures (user interface, workflow, application, data, infrastructure).

An open question about improvement options at the end of the satisfaction survey of the IT employees also provides valuable information. Conclusions can be drawn from the answers that help to provide a comprehensive answer to the question asked at the beginning.