Collaborative software development is experiencing a period of rapid growth, according to a new report from the Linux Foundation.

The foundation defined collaborative development, for the purposes of the survey, as “software development that involves multiple individuals and companies, in many cases competing in the same industry, and in which the codebase is open source and a shared investment. Collaborative software development projects are managed collectively for the good of the whole community through code contributions and governance best practices.”

During the first week of March, an invitation-only survey polled 519 software developers and 167 business managers from companies such as Fujitsu, HP, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm and Samsung to gauge trends in open-source and Linux development.  Almost 69% of respondents worked at a company with US$500 million or more in annual revenue.

The result was the Linux Foundation’s 2014 Collaborative Development Trends Report, which shows that companies view collaborative development as a key to future success. The report projected growth and investment in collaborative development to continue because of its tangibly faster project time to market, improved business relationships and lower development costs.

The key findings of the report were:
• Ninety-one percent of business managers and executives surveyed said collaborative software development was somewhat to very important to their business. Close to 80% also said collaborative development practices have been seen as more strategic to their organization over the past three years.

• Investments in collaborative software development are on the rise. Forty-four percent of business managers and executives said they would increase their investments in collaborative software development in the next six months; 42% said they would sustain their current investment, and no one reported they would decrease their investment.

• Sixty-three percent of software developers surveyed said they spend more time now on collaborative software development, compared with five years ago. Fifty-nine percent reported increased participation in collaborative software development in just the last year.

• Eighty-three percent of software developers said they benefitted personally from collaborative development through exposure to new tools and development practices.

• Seventy-seven percent of business managers said collaborative development practices have benefited their organizations through a shorter product development cycle/faster time to market.

Linux Foundation survey

The Top 5 benefits of collaborative development for software developers were:
1. Exposure to new tools and development practices
2. Significant growth in skill sets
3. Large, strong knowledge base from which to draw expertise and support
4. Significant growth in professional networks
5. A sense of satisfaction in being involved in something bigger than any one company

The Linux Foundation 2014 Collaborative Development Trends Report can be found here.