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Why SLI Matters?

Published By Neelan Choksi
Why SLI Matters?

We’ve spent the last decade watching the shifts and trends in an industry that is eating the world. Software is increasingly becoming the basis for competitive advantage in nearly every industry. As Tasktop has evolved from an organization that focused solely on the developer to an organization that is now focused on the end-to-end aspects of delivering software from idea to plans to code to tests to operations, we’ve learned a ton about software delivery and what it takes to be successful.

Our customers have shared their challenges and struggles with us. All too often, these conversations are captured on white boards, where we help customers think through how they deliver software at a technical level but not necessarily as a business process.

Software Lifecycle Integration (SLI) is based on several decades of experience and knowledge. From Mik’s days at Xerox Parc and Intentional, Gail’s academic underpinnings, Dave’s experience with the Rational Unified Process and talking to thousands of customers and ISVs as a Research Director at Forrester, Nicole’s days at Borland working with their software lifecycle tools, Betty’s time developing go-to-market strategies at SmartBear, Lance’s experiences with modern requirements technologies at Accept, and even my view from a pure business world bouncing back and forth between startups and behemoth organizations developing software, we’ve all coalesced at Tasktop because each of us in our own way have lived the problems that we are trying to solve with SLI and our products. On top of the intuition that those experiences from our past provide us, the conversations with our customers and partners that we’ve been having since Tasktop started in January 2007 have been equally important. In many ways, it feels like this bootstrapped team of nearly 60 people have unbeknownst been working on Software Lifecycle Integration since the beginning. So needless to say, we think SLI is going to be big, really big!

As my colleague Dave West reminds me nearly every day, software has enabled the automation of nearly every business process (e.g., supply chain, customer relationship, purchasing, logistics) with one notable exception… itself. When you think about Software Delivery as a business process, it suddenly becomes clear as to why SLI matters. Integration is the underlying basis for automation. Without integration, business process automation is nearly impossible. Once information flows between the various constituents involved in the business process, all of sudden you have the basis for a tremendous amount of business value: – a powerful Build, Measure, Learn loop for continuous improvement – collaboration between disparate teams while still allowing the teams to have the freedom to choose tools and processes that make them most efficient and productive – visibility and traceability between stakeholders that are the underpinnings of business insight

So integration matters fundamentally. At a macro level there is simply more demand for technologists than there is supply and this divergence is growing. Many people outside of technology are recognizing this e.g., in the 2013 State of the Union, President Obama called for the country to produce a million more STEM graduates in the next decade. That’s one way of solving the problem. We believe that if you can reduce the failures and delays in software delivery, if collaboration across the silos becomes the norm versus the exception, and wisdom can be gleaned form the business process of software delivery, software delivery productivity will go up dramatically. We believe the smooth flow of information between the people who need that information to do their jobs is the missing and required element to driving these outcomes.

To learn more and for a step by step methodology to help you make the business case for SLI in your organization, please see the Business Case for Software Lifecycle Integration (SLI) white paper (registration required) or contact us. We’ve got a ton of white papers, videos, and other resources to help you learn more at Please provide feedback and help us grow the SLI community by participating.

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Written by Neelan Choksi

Neelan is president and COO of Tasktop, where he manages all go-to-market aspects of the company, and guides the company’s mission to connect the world of software delivery. He also serves as a mentor at the Capital Factory, as a director of the non-profit, TechGirlz, and as an advisor to several startups around the world. He has extensive technology management experience, serving as the COO of Lexcycle (acquired by Amazon), COO of SpringSource (acquired by VMware), and President of SolarMetric (acquired by BEA Systems). Choksi has also managed to wear an Aloha shirt every Friday for the past 8 years.