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Term Paper Ideas - Business Driven Software Development

Updated on September 8, 2011

Organizations do not deploy new technology for the technology’s sake. Although maintenance activities and hardware rotation may lead this perception and hence the ongoing debate as to whether technology companies exist to support business or businesses exist to support technology. Successful organizations consider the Return on Investment (ROI) to determine which projects to pursue toward completion.

To determine the ROI for a project organizations weigh the proposed project against exactly four business drivers, as Machavarapu (2006) stated, which include the following:

  • Expense reduction – will the new system lead to a decrease in operating expense?
  • Revenue increase – will the new system lead to an increase in revenue?
  • Strategic advantage – will the new system place the organization at a strategic advantage over the competition?
  • Legal/regulatory/security – is the new system necessary to comply with government regulations, or to reduce litigation, or increase security?

How would these drivers differ for non-profit organizations?

Pfleeger and Atlee (2006) claimed that money captures the government’s view on ROI; specifically focusing on operating cost reduction, forecasting savings, and determining TCO for new technologies. Since non-profit organizations are government regulated the implication suggests that these organizations follow the government’s lead and do not include the revenue increase or strategic business drivers in their equations.

Change in the business world never ends. Along with change come adjustments to business strategy, which leads to corresponding changes to the weights of the business drivers. This in turn could cause a project with a high priority to move down the priority ladder in favor of other projects. This priority change may cause some projects to fail if there is a resource reduction that causes time lags that postpone deployment.

The CHAOS Report of 1994 stated that 84% of all IT projects resulted in failure. (The Standish Group International, 1994). This percentage has improved in recent years and some of that improvement resulted from improved evaluation techniques.

The software development process is comprised of the following nine activities:

  • Requirements analysis and design
  • System design
  • Program design
  • Writing the program (program implementation)
  • Unit testing
  • Integration testing
  • System testing
  • System delivery
  • Maintenance
    Pjleeger and Atlee, 2006, pp 24-25).

These activities are normally iterative and may stretch over several months or years. Best practices dictate periodic evaluations of a project during each of these activities. When an evaluation of the business drivers show that a project may not deliver the predicted results, management should abort the project to ward off an expected failure.


Bernard, A. (2003). Why implementations fail: The human factor [Electronic version]. CIO Update. Retrieved January 7, 2008 from

Machavarapu, S. (2006). Prioritizing IT projects based on business strategy [Electronic version]. CIO. Retrieved January 7, 2008 from

Pfleeger, S., L. and Atlee, J., M. (2006). Why software engineering. Software Engineering Theory and Practice (3rd wd.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

The Standish Group International, (1994). The CHAOS report (1994) [Electronic version]. Available from


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    • Dumbledore profile image

      This Old Guy 6 years ago from Somewhere in Ohio

      Thank you for the acknowledgment, Cherotich.

    • profile image

      Cherotich 6 years ago

      Good work!