DevCSI Stakeholder Report 2010 – 2011
The DevCSI (Developer Community Supporting Innovation) project, established in 2009, was based on a number of assumptions about developers in Higher Education; how they support innovation and the benefits of having a developer community.
The main priority for the first year of the project was to provide events and begin to establish a developer community. After securing the second stage funding, a more strategic approach was taken and it was decided to partake in a stakeholder analysis exercise to test the assumptions the foundations were laid on and help shape the future of DevCSI.
This stakeholder analysis was carried out by Jo Alcock, Pete Dalton and Angela Conyers from Evidence Base at Birmingham City University. Their report was published in December 2010.
In order to complete a comprehensive stakeholder analysis of DevCSI (Developer Community Supporting Innovation), a number of semi-structured interviews informed a wider survey which was completed by developers, users (academics/librarians/researchers), managers of developers, senior managers, funders and vendors. 481 people responded to the survey, and the data combined with the 14 interviews.
The aim of the exercise was to test a number of assumptions that are key to the DevCSI project regarding the value of local developers and their role in supporting innovation within their institution and the wider education sector; the career development and training opportunities for developers in education; and the perceived benefits of a developer community.
The results demonstrated strong support for many of the assumptions, with a few exceptions whereby results were not clear and further investigation is recommended. In particular, there was strong support to suggest that developers understand the local context of their institution, can utilise software and customise it to meet the needs of their users, and where applicable share this with the community (the software code, workflow, or experience). A number of different barriers to innovation were stated, demonstrating a number of issues for supporting innovation at both an institutional level and within the sector.
There was also strong agreement that career development opportunities are poor for developers within education (progression often meaning a move into management which removes them from development work), though there are training opportunities that are very valuable. It is evident that further opportunities would be beneficial to the community, and many identified that the work of DevCSI so far is helping support that need. Having said that, many of the respondents had not engaged with DevCSI yet, and others felt that there was work to be done on raising awareness of DevCSI to improvement engagement.