Forrester Research has identified what it claims is a disconnect between application development groups and the enterprises they serve.
The analyst firm said in a Best Practices report that application developers have fallen behind the learning curve as enterprises rush to adopt new technologies, and could find themselves slipping further down the skills ladder as post-recession investments increase.
Forrester explained that developers fall into three distinct camps: Solid Utilities, Trusted Suppliers and Partner Players.
The report recommended that more groups turn themselves into Partner Players, and increase their flexibility while improving performance.
Forrester suggested that groups should be managed and recruited like professional sports teams, paid above the average and motivated to perform and thrive.
"IT leaders have shifted their priorities toward growth, but many development shops struggle to support it," said report author Jeffrey Hammond.
"Partner Player development shops are in the best position to enable business growth, because they're flexible and staffed with creative software development professionals assembled in high-performance development teams."
Hammond suggested that lean software development and attractive benefits are key elements of any such recruitment plan, and that companies should "hire pros, not Joes" and be prepared to pay above average salaries for the best workers.
Constrained economic times have created development teams that are content with "keeping the lights on", according to the analyst. No new programmes have been started, and others may have been postponed owing to cuts in resources.
"Their current processes, staff and tool sets lack the ability to support innovation and fast growth. As a result, these shops have to ramp up to meet their business peers' elevated expectations," said Hammond.
Development teams should prioritise the projects that are most beneficial to the organisation, and put the most creative members of the team on the most exciting and forward looking projects to keep them happy, motivated and inspired.
Dead weight should be cut, according to the report, while any "prima donna" developers should be shown the door.
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