In the past decade of the Tech Radar, lots has changed in the IT industry. Agile has risen to be the dominant software development methodology, cloud has prevailed as the de-facto platform, and the continuous delivery and DevOps revolutions have allowed us to get systems into production faster than ever before. But 10 years is a long time, especially in IT, and we didn’t always get everything right. In this article we’ll do a tour of some of our most prescient prognostications as well as our widest ‘misses’, which are both instructive and often have a story attached to them. Along the way, we’ll talk about some of the approaches we use to cull the list of possible blips so that we can make a Radar that isn’t too overwhelming.
We sourced these hits and misses both from the folks on the Technology Advisory Board who create the Radar, although that group has changed over the years, but also from the broader ThoughtWorks technology community. While the Radar is a collective, collaborative effort, I take full responsibility for the misses.
Our greatest hits
Our greatest hits often fit in the category of being well in front of the industry. For example, in the first year of the Radar, 2010, we had DevOps, Continuous Deployment, and Evolutionary Architecture in Assess. We followed this with the introduction of Infrastructure as Code first in 2011. It then returned again in 2020, nearly a decade later. All of these technologies have made a significant impact on how we deliver software quickly and effectively, with low risk. The first Radar also had Non-relational Databases in Trial, as we were already seeing their importance for more complex data architectures.
In 2014, we introduced both Docker and Cloud Lift and Shift to the Radar, albeit in very different rings. Docker came in at Assess quite early, quickly making it to Adopt by 2016. One meeting we had so many Docker items proposed as blips that someone put up a green +1 voting card labeled “Docker, Docker, Docker”. Cloud Lift and Shift debuted in 2014 in Hold and stayed there until mid-2016. It then made a reappearance in 2020 as we were still seeing too many workloads moved to the cloud without proper consideration of how they should be re-engineered to take advantage of these platforms. While Lift and Shift can work for some workloads, the practice is far too common and is contributing to the slowing of cloud adoption.