It seems like every blog in the last month has been dedicated to predictions, resolutions or trends in the coming year. And while I’m writing along those same lines, my hope is that the trends and areas that I focus on here will carry beyond 2013 and into the changing paradigm of information technology and social computing.
There are three areas that I would like to bring to your attention:
1. Agile Software Development: A development framework based on collaboration between self-organizing and cross-functional teams using iterative and incremental development methods. Agile methodology sits in direct contrast to “waterfall” development where projects are worked in a serial manner based on a complete set of requirements with testing on a completed application. As the cross functional teams associated with agile development include the business stakeholders, the deployment of agile methods could not only exponentially speed up the development process but also better integrate the interests of IT and their business partners. This has far-reaching implications beyond 2013 because it sets a new paradigm that should change the nature of application deployment for users.
2. Philanthropic Engineering: The current focus on “big data” has brought with it a series of questions in the commercial space centered on its productive use. The answers and business growth insights that massive databases were to provide have proved elusive. Alternatively, however, big data can be used in a human engineering context. The mission statement of Palantir Technologies, a software development firm based in Palo Alto, CA, nicely describes this concept. They state, “We build software that allows organizations to make sense of massive amounts of disparate data. We solve the technical problems so they can solve the human ones. Combating terrorism. Prosecuting crimes. Fighting fraud. Eliminating waste. From Silicon Valley to your doorstep, we deploy our data fusion platforms against the hardest problems we can find wherever we are needed most.” The long-term use of advanced technology to address human and environmental needs is a critically important trend.
While this is just a quick survey of a few trends, there is much more to be excited about in the areas associated with IT and computing.