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January 2, 2024

How AI Will Transform Software Development and Boost Business Performance  

By Summary by IT Revolution

We are on the cusp of a revolution in artificial intelligence that promises to profoundly impact how enterprises build software and deliver value. As Dr. Mik Kersten, CTO of Planview and author of Project to Product, recently highlighted in his 2023 DevOps Enterprise Summit presentation, developments in generative AI like GitHub Copilot have the potential to exponentially improve developer productivity. However, according to Kersten, to truly harness this technology and gain a competitive advantage, organizations must connect all work—not just code—and empower AI agents to optimize the entire value stream.

The Coming Productivity Leap in Software Development

The data shows that AI-powered coding tools can already make individual developers far more productive. In tests by GitHub, developers wrote code 55% faster with Copilot’s suggestions, which accounted for nearly half of all code written. And developers reported being 75% more fulfilled, freed from repetitive coding tasks. 

As Dr. Kersten noted, this 10X or greater gain at the coding level has long been the dream of the software industry. After years of expecting improvements from new languages and frameworks, AI is delivering, and virtually overnight. The implications are profound given developer capacity has always constrained how much software organizations can build and deploy.

Unblocking Teams to Realize AI’s Full Potential  

However, as Dr. Kersten warned, most enterprises will fail to realize AI’s full benefits if they stop at supercharging coders. In analyzing 36 enterprise IT departments, his team found only 8% of time spent delivering value is coding. Far bigger bottlenecks exist in upstream planning and downstream testing.

Without addressing these systemic constraints, efficiency gains in coding get drowned out. Indeed, per the data, teams still lose 40% of capacity to overload and bottlenecks. They take on too much work because leaders lack flow visibility. And they underinvest in tech debt, creating problems downstream.

So beyond tools like Copilot, leaders must connect and optimize the entire value stream—across strategy, portfolios, and teams. As Dr. Kersten explained, by linking data and objectives from project tools, AI agents can now assess bottlenecks for us, such as on team velocity, workloads, and defects to highlight overloaded resources and quality risks automatically.  

And these AI advisors are customizable for any role. We can coach them to explain flow metrics like a five-year-old or frame recommendations appropriately for executives versus engineers. Over time, they will grow smarter at directing technology transformations, upgrading architectures, and identifying redundant organizational structures.  

People x Machines for Lasting Performance Gains   

Of course, as much as AI changes how enterprises develop software, success remains rooted in people. Leaders who connect work and multiply human potential with machine assistance will thrive. Those who ignore either element will struggle.

As Dr. Kersten emphasized, all work must become transparent for AI to analyze and advise. So, identify disconnected tools and data across the value streams—from ideas to deployment—and start integrating. Then, supplement intelligent automation with the great management practices laid out in books like Project to Product to unblock flow systematically.

Doing so positions teams to gain up to 100X through combined people and AI leverage. Even modest productivity multiples will allow delivering far more value at lower costs – a definitive competitive edge for the AI era. The revolution is here. Will your business lead it?

To watch the full presentation, visit the IT Revolution Video Library here:

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