Five Reasons Your Organization Should Build a Software Factory

  • Article
  • Agile Transformation

In the world of federal software development organizations, Agile and even DevOps are no longer the cool new kids on the block. Following an Agile methodology is now a common expectation for most federal agencies, and most IT shops are actively implementing or working towards a DevOps based software lifecycle.

So, you may be wondering, what is next in the evolution of software development?

The answer is: software factories.

What is a Software Factory

When first introduced in the late 1960s, the term software factory referred to the use of a standard set of tools and controls, as well as systematic code reuse, to create new software systems. The function of a modern software factory, even though it uses different methods and technologies, is essentially the same.

The modern software factory leverages a standard framework of proven tools, processes, technologies, and best practices to support the rapid production of safer, higher quality software and more efficiently drive continuous improvement and innovation. As companies such as Google and Netflix began showcasing the value and effectiveness of software factories, the concept quickly gained traction not only in industry, but in the public sector as well.

Five Benefits of Building a Software Factory

In traditional software development, teams must start from the ground up, making decisions about operating systems, software languages, platforms, and overarching design. With a software factory in place, teams can ramp-up far more quickly by adopting pre-existing platforms, tools, shared utilities, and other best practices. This allows developers to spend more time on what they do best — developing and delivering high quality software solutions — more efficiently.

The centralization of standardized processes, development stages, and Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions within a software factory provide for streamlined execution across an enterprise. This allows teams to take advantage of more affordable, dependable, and flexible solutions. Having a centralized location to house solutions, processes, and practices enables easy reuse amongst cross-functional activities, including the implementation of solutions to common problems and knowledge sharing. While a software factory provides needed standardization across enterprises, it does not limit a team’s ability to customize SaaS, Paas, and IaaS offerings to meet their or their customers’ needs.

When a software factory is employed, DevOps concepts already built into your software processes, provide performance metrics, increased visibility, and enhanced security help drive continuous improvement. Automatically baking security monitoring into solutions from the start allows security experts to focus their efforts where needed most, resulting in production systems that are protected, dependable, resilient, and scalable.

In today’s rapidly evolving technical environment, the needs of customers can rapidly change or pivot. Using a software factory helps development teams more quickly execute on new customer requests as they already have the necessary solution frameworks and foundations in place.

Building software on platforms provides the ability to quickly pay off existing technical debt and avoid it in the future. By following this model, a platform can be upgraded to take advantage of the latest technologies instead of having to re-write solutions.

Getting started with your software factory

Building a robust, modern software factory can help any organization run better, faster, and safer. However, a software factory cannot be created overnight. It requires an iterative, Agile approach that fosters continuous learning and improvement. GovCIO is here to help you on this Agile journey. To learn more about the benefits of software factories or about how GovCIO can help facilitate your implementation, reach out below!

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