The explosion of software over the last decade has, quite literally, changed everything. It’s changed how we live, how we work, how we interact with one another — in fact it’s more difficult to find something that it hasn’t changed.
For instance, PewResearch Center reports that 77% of Americans own a smartphone and 88% of American adults use the internet as of 2017. According to the Financial Times, this widespread adoption has had major political, social and economic impacts, changing how countries, leaders and humans interact with one another. It has also paved the way for the rise of eCommerce, the introduction of the sharing economy and the transformation of industries like music, media and film.
One of the less talked about implications of this software explosion is what goes on behind the scenes. After all, software doesn’t just magically appear on the market. People like to talk about ideas and the end results of those ideas, but there’s a lot that happens in the middle that gets overlooked. The coding, building, testing, etc. required to bring those ideas to life might occur behind the scenes, but those activities are just as important as anything else to putting the software on which we now depend into the hands of users. With the increased adoption of agile development processes, it is more important than ever to make sure that the right tools are in place to accelerate the entire software development lifecycle.
It is more important than ever to make sure that the right tools are in place to accelerate the entire software development lifecycle
It’s curious that the software development process doesn’t get discussed more though, as the field has grown tremendously over the past several years, even becoming quite the lucrative career path. Perhaps nothing else demonstrates this growth better than a look at the enormous amount of technology now available to assist at every step of the software development lifecycle. So without further ado, we give you the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) Technology Landscape 2017.
About the Software Development Lifecycle Technology Landscape
As we sat down at Tricentis and spoke about the movement happening in the field of software development technology, it began to boggle our minds how much had changed so quickly and how difficult it was to break down everything going on in this complicated field.
Taking a page from the Chief Marketing Technologist, we decided that the best way to let people in on everything we’re seeing was to create an all-encompassing graphic that illustrates all of the technology players in the software development field and how they fit into the typical software lifecycle. After months of planning and research, we ended up with what you see here — the SDLC Technology Landscape 2017. What follows is everything you need to know about the graphic.
- The graphic features just under 1,500 different tools from hundreds of different companies
- Solutions are broken into seven main categories to represent the major phases of the development lifecycle (Plan, Track, Code, Build, Test, Deploy, Monitor), each of which has at least three subcategories of technologies that assist with that phase of software development
- The most crowded subcategories include Safe (Scaled Agile Framework) (77 solutions), Collaboration (114 solutions), User Experience (62 solutions) and BI (53 solutions)
- The least crowded subcategories include Unit Testing (15 solutions), Exploratory Testing (13 solutions) and Logging Error Traces (13 solutions)
- The graphic captures the state of the software development landscape as of April 2017
When we decided to put together an all-encompassing look at the software development technology landscape, we knew we had our work cut out for us. We knew that we wanted the landscape to show a comprehensive picture of all of the solutions on the market in order to:
- Illustrate the state of the field and its movement over time
- Break down an increasingly complex class of technology into easier to grasp categories and differentiate between different types of solutions
- Provide software development and testing teams with a lay of the land to help understand what they need as they build out their software development technology stack and the vendors to whom they should look for those solutions
- Note: The SDLC tools are not listed in any particular order
Based on those goals, we decided to break out the landscape into seven main categories that characterize software development, creating subcategories within those larger buckets to further classify and differentiate the variety of solutions available and the use cases for them. Upon determining what each of those subcategories would be, it was time to hit the pavement and get started on the painstaking work of reviewing the wealth of available solutions and bucketing them into the appropriate categories. We were even shocked by the wide array of solutions available on the market in each category.
We were even shocked with the wide array of solutions available on the market in each category.
To be clear, we did our best to include EVERYONE (including companies that could be considered Tricentis competitors) in this graphic — be they industry giants or fringe and emerging players — in order to provide the most comprehensive picture possible and inform software development teams of all of their potential options when building out their stacks. The result is a whopping nearly 1,000 solutions from hundreds of companies.
Our goal for the Software Development Lifecycle Technology Landscape was not only to create a comprehensive view of the field as it stands today, but also to track the evolution of the field over time. As a result, this graphic will be a living, breathing document that we update on a yearly basis.
Over time, these updates will allow us to report on how the field is growing and changing, keep tabs on emerging trends and make more educated predictions about what’s to come in the future.
Along the way, if you notice a solution that you believe is wrongly categorized or is missing entirely, please let us know. You can make the case for recategorizing or adding a solution by contacting us. In order to keep the integrity of the graphic intact, we will evaluate every suggestion before making a final decision.
And feel free to use this graphic in your own articles, presentations, etc. — we just ask that you link back here as the source of the graphic and research.
Using the Landscape to Understand & Evaluate SDLC Tools
If you’re anything like the team here at Tricentis, when you first saw the graphic you let out a whistle and had to take a step back from the screen. We get it — staring down at nearly 1,000 different SDLC tools is staggering to say the least.
But we promise, if you approach the graphic in the right way, it will go from staggering to insightful — you just have to know what you’re looking for. With that in mind, we’ve put together a few of our top tips for how to actually use the landscape to your advantage.
1) Window Shopping
We all like to window shop from time to time, just looking around to see what’s there without the intention of actually taking action. For a first pass of taking in the graphic, window shopping might be just what you need.
So, if you find yourself surprised that there are so many types of SDLC tools (let alone so many different solutions to satisfy those needs), we recommend taking yourself on a window shopping expedition. Simply take some time to get familiar with what each of the categories and subcategories entails from a high level and get an understanding of what capabilities different solutions that fall into those buckets might offer by picking a few at random and reviewing them in more detail. Our research started with sites like G2 Crowd, TrustRadius and Gartner, all of which are good places to start if you’re interested in learning more about any of the solutions included in the graphic.
Whether you’re just getting started in the field or are a tried and true veteran, this type of window shopping can help you better understand the state of the software development field and the ways in which new SDLC tools are changing (and improving) how things get done.
2) Process & Stack Development
If you’re building out your software development process and/or technology stack — or even if you simply want to re-evaluate or get a gut-check on what you already have in place — the landscape graphic is a great jumping off point.
In terms of process, there are a lot of moving pieces that go into getting everything right during the software development lifecycle. And with the speed at which today’s users expect new software to come to market, a lot is changing within that lifecycle. Reviewing all of the categories in the landscape and understanding how the categories and tools within each of them fit with one another can help you think about what you need from a process perspective. To be sure, there’s a lot more that goes into developing a sound software development process, but this type of consideration should certainly be a part of the mix.
Next comes stack development, and this is a big one. Perhaps somewhat ironically, technology has become an increasingly critical piece of the software development lifecycle, which makes putting together an optimal software development stack of utmost importance. But as evidenced by the 35 subcategories of different SDLC tools, understanding what your stack needs to look like can become quite complicated.
The landscape graphic can help in two ways:
- Understanding the potential different capabilities you need to include in your stack
- Reviewing the relationships between those capabilities, where each fits into the larger stack and the processes associated with each type of technology
Beyond that, how do you know where to begin? First and foremost, you should start by finding and removing any impediments in your software development lifecycle. Whether you’re a small shop that does all its planning through sticky notes on a wall but desperately needs a production monitoring tool to validate customer usage or a large company that needs to better organize its teams around a central planning and issue tracking system, there’s likely a roadblock in your software development lifecycle that technology can help solve. The key is to identify the bad patterns and then focus on evaluating the types of SDLC tools that can help.
Start by finding and removing any impediments in your software development lifecycle
3) Solution Evaluation
After you determine the types of technologies and capabilities that will fill out your stack, you then need to narrow in on the SDLC tools that will actually become a part of your stack and help you execute on your processes. Once again, the landscape graphic can help in a big way.
As is the case with solution evaluation for any technology stack, one of the most common questions centers around building a platform-specific stack versus using best-in-breed point solutions. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, we’ve found that there needs to be a balance. On the one hand, there’s a lot of benefit in having all (or at least the majority of your solutions) come from a single vendor, as it makes managing the relationship easy and allows for a seamless working experience. On the other hand, picking and choosing solutions based on their ability to provide exactly what you need can ensure you have the best possible tools for each requirement.
One of the most common questions centers around building a platform-specific stack versus using best-in-breed point solutions.
The best approach is usually to meet somewhere in the middle. As you evaluate SDLC tools, it’s extremely important to consider how the different solutions work with and integrate with one another since you want to make sure everything on the back-end is as seamless as possible for the front-end users on your development and testing teams. Along the same lines, as you evaluate vendors, be sure to pay close attention to their ecosystem of partners, as this is where you’ll learn what makes for easy integration and a complementary working relationship.
What to Expect for the Future of the Software Development Lifecycle Technology Landscape
As we mentioned previously, this is only the first iteration of the SDLC Technology Landscape graphic. We plan to update the graphic each year to reflect changes in the landscape, monitor trends and help software development leaders get a handle on this growing and ever-complicated field.
So what can you expect from the next iteration? Our experts have issued a few predictions that we think are pretty safe bets:
- The landscape will only get bigger: There’s no doubt that the nearly 1,000 SDLC tools included in this year’s landscape is quite a lot, but we expect to have even more represented in the 2018 landscape. The software development lifecycle is evolving at such a rapid pace that it only makes sense for new technology players (and perhaps even net-new categories) to pop up to help solve the growing pains that come with such changes. Additionally, the amount of effort required to build a new software solution is becoming lower and lower, meaning that more up and coming tools should enter the landscape and force the larger players to continue to innovate on their solutions.
- Larger companies will beef up their stacks: We also expect larger companies to start acquiring technologies from the aforementioned smaller players in order to offer a more complete stack. This type of activity happened recently when CA Technologies, which was traditionally focused on the Agile ALM space, acquired Blazemeter to get more ingrained in the testing category, and it’s something we’ll very likely see a lot more of going forward.
- Companies will continue to move to the cloud: As cloud development platforms continue to become more pervasive, affordable and secure, more and more teams are looking to rid themselves of the hassle of maintaining on premise environments and tools. As teams adopt this new way of working, they will look to implement tools that both use the cloud for their own hosting and allow for the specialized monitoring and testing that cloud environments demand.
What else will change in the 2018 iteration of the SDLC Technology Landscape? Only time will tell. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for new solutions to add or solutions that should be recategorized, please reach out to us.