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Software

Preventive medicine for software change management

Preemptive fixes for software changes are the holy grail for IT managers. But how do developers know what's going to break?

Most businesses seek competitive advantage through some kind of change. Whether they want to beat the competition to market with a new service or introduce new product categories, disruption is the norm.

The challenge in today's IT-centric world is that every one of those disruptions requires a software change, introducing the potential for downtime and lost revenue.

Change control and the associated risk mitigation is a big problem that every large organization faces. Last year, the London Stock Exchange crashed during a software change and was down for more than seven hours, costing traders millions, if not billions of dollars in lost business. This year we've had high profile outages at Salesforce.com, Twitter, and Amazon's EC2, among others, affecting tens of millions of people.

No company is immune to this type of risk and companies that want to stay on the leading edge need to embrace these changes in order to stay competitive.

Coverity, a software integrity firm perhaps best known for its SCAN project of open-source software sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security thinks it has the preventive medicine to help organizations avoid the inevitable errors, defects, and failures that software change can introduce.

The company's latest release, Coverity 5, promises to mitigate the business risk of software changes across an organization's entire software portfolio. It claims this is the first product that lets developers automatically map and identify how a single defect impacts multiple code bases, projects, and products. Through a unified defect management interface, it also can help organizations review, prioritize and triage their C/C++, Java and C# defects in a single work flow.

This approach lets an organization quickly answer five key questions of software change management:

  1. How do I find defects introduced by changes?
  2. How do I know the severity of new defects?
  3. How do I know the impact to my code, my projects, my products?
  4. How do I fix them fast?
  5. How do I know I fixed them?

Today, market opportunities are changing faster than businesses can deliver. When your organization changes software, how quickly can answer the five questions above?