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The Importance of Governance in Software Development

In this article I would like to highlight the importance of governance in software development life cycle. 
What does 'Governance' means; in Oxford dictionary the meaning it has is:
  • the action or manner of governing a state, organization, etc.
  • rule, control

In software development life cycle we can think of governance as monitor, measure and management of software. Now what aspect to governance in software depends on the stage at which software development is currently?

In the following table I am trying to show the various software development stages, what entities need governance and tools/techniques used for governance:

Development Stage

What needs governance

How do we (or tools/techniques used for) govern?

Business Problem

  • The source of problem statement (real business case vs. developer’s wish)
  • Project roadmap, timeline and resource constraints
  • Process exists to ensure right stakeholders are engaged, agreed upon project roadmap is defined, and resource pool, delivery timeline and risks are identified

Requirement Gathering

  • Use Case and Requirements
  • Effort level and Risks
  • Requirement document reviewed and signed off from all major stakeholders (business, development and testing teams)


  • Alignment with corporate IT
  • Non FRs like Performance, Security
    • Architecture Review


    • Design guidelines
    • Design review


    • Code Quality
    • Feature implementation
    • Code Review
    • Code Coverage
    • Feature Demo


    • Test Plan and Strategy
    • Test Results and Coverage
    • Score card on Non-FRs
    • Review of Test Plan, Strategy, Coverage, and Results
    • Review of Non-FRs score card or compliance report


    • Documents
    • Documentation Review


    • Deployment Instructions
    • Deployment document review
    • Deployment team’s feedback on ease of deployment and 1st few weeks report from production

    Service / Maintenance

    • Ease of troubleshooting
    • Number of Customer found defects
    • New feature request
    • Tracking production defects and ensuring root cause analysis done on the same
    • Assess and feed feature requests to next release’s project requirements
    • Process to have regular feedback from service team’s

    In summary what is required for effective governance is a right process along with checklist, handoff templates, check points, retrospection meeting, open feedback culture and guidelines/standards.

    The software life cycle and architecture management frameworks like ITIL, TOGAF do help to implement an effective governance process in in software development life cycle.

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