Feature Focus: Portfolio Advisor for Software Maintenance

Managing an application portfolio is like leading a basketball team. Just like a coach needs to carefully balance their team’s offense and defense to win games (and hopefully the playoffs), a technology leader needs to manage their application portfolio to ensure applications are performing at their best. Our new capability, the Portfolio Advisor for Software Maintenance, acts like a coach’s playbook, helping you identify which areas of your team need attention and which applications are performing well. See how the feature works.

The Portfolio Advisor for Software Maintenance automatically segments your application portfolio and recommends actions based on key metrics such as business impact, development team skill level, turnover ratio, and software maintenance effort. Just like a coach divides their team into different positions based on the game plan, this capability helps you divide your software portfolio into segments that require different levels of attention and resources, based on factual results, statistics, and current aptitudes.

With segments such as Invest Resources, Reallocate Resources, Develop Team Skills, Reduce Turnover, Get Deeper Software Intelligence, and Role Models, the Portfolio Advisor for Software Maintenance provides you with the tools you need to manage your software applications like a sports coach. This capability is like a coach’s playbook, giving you the ability to balance your software applications between offense and defense to ensure each application is performing at its best. See in this article how the capability works.


How CAST Highlight’s Portfolio Advisor for Software Maintenance works

In CAST Highlight, we have developed a flexible and robust “Portfolio Advisor” foundational capability that is now progressively introduced in the product. Here is how it works.

The six segments in the Portfolio Advisor for Software Maintenance recommend specific actions to take on applications and are defined as follows:

  • Invest Resources: Business critical applications that would benefit from more development resources (according to the COCOMO II model recommended maintenance effort).
  • Reallocate Resources: Less business critical applications that are healthy and may have more development resources than necessary (according to the COCOMO II model recommended maintenance effort).
  • Develop Team Skills: Applications with lower Software Health and Open Source Safety scores where team members have less experience.
  • Reduce Turnover: Business critical applications with development teams experiencing a high turnover rate, representing significant future risk.
  • Get Deeper Software Intelligence: Business critical applications with high complexity that require deeper insights using CAST Imaging to centralize application knowledge and better understand software interactions.
  • Role Models: Applications with high Software Health, high Open Source Safety, and appropriate allocation of resources (according to the COCOMO II model recommended maintenance effort).

The table below summarizes the formula used to score each application within each segment.

Business Impact Software Maintenance Software Health Open Source Safety CAST Survey Answers
Invest Resources High Recommended Effort > Recorded Effort
Reallocated Resources Low Recorded Effort > Recommended Effort High
Develop Team Skills Low/Medium Low/Medium Skills: 1 year or less
Reduce Turnover High Turnover: 25% or higher
Get Deeper Software Intelligence High Skills: 1 year or less
Turnover: 25% or higher
Role Models Recorded Effort > Recommended Effort High High Skills: more than 3 years
Turnover: Lower than 25%

For each application, CAST Highlight blends relevant software intelligence, weights, and benchmarks together to determine the recommended segment. Below are the indicators the Portfolio Advisor for Software Maintenance uses to establish the segmentation recommendations:

  • Business Impact scores (from the Business Impact survey)
  • Software Maintenance recommended and recorded estimates (from CAST Surveys and automated COCOMO II calculation)
  • Software Health scores (Software Resiliency, Software Agility, Software Elegance) and benchmarks
  • Open Source Safety scores and benchmarks
  • Survey answers from CAST’s Software Maintenance survey

The segment calculation is quite simple. For a given application, CAST Highlight evaluates each segment criteria separately and gives points to these segments. These segment points accumulate and the one having the highest number of points will be the recommended segment. In the case of score ties on segments, the ultimate recommendation is based on this sequence: 1. Invest Resources 2. Reallocate Resources 3. Develop Team Skills 4. Reduce Turnover 5. Get Deeper Software Intelligence 6. Role Models.

How to use the Portfolio Advisor for Software Maintenance capability

All you must do is click on the “Compute” button to visualize segments for your existing application portfolio, or to refresh this segmentation with new application results.

Portfolio Visualization: The output is a unique dashboard where you can quickly view the relative size of each Software Maintenance segment. The parliament chart on the left displays the portfolio distribution for each segment. Clicking on a specific segment will drill down, automatically filtering the bubble chart on the right to the applications recommended for the selected segment, enabling further prioritization.

Case-by-case application segmentation: Since the segmentation created by the Portfolio Advisor for Software Maintenance is a recommendation (other aspects not captured by CAST Highlight may be considered), a Portfolio Manager can manually change the segment of an application. These changes are maintained by clicking on the “Save” button. At any time, users can roll-back to the original CAST-calculated recommended segments.

Export: from the Portfolio Advisor view, click on the “Export” button to generate an Excel report listing all applications with their corresponding segment recommendations and key metrics used for the segmentation.