Throughout my career I had worked at companies that had a collection of different environments for different purposes. We always had more or less our desktop environment, a test environment, a QA environment, a staging environment and a production environment. This went for both servers/applications and any data sources we were using.
When I started at my current company I found that 90% of the apps were either developed on a desktop environment against production data sources or developed directly on the production server depending on the platform. I wasn't fazed because I was hired in part to make changes to improve the way the development team functioned, which was clear from my interview process. We slowly started to turn the philosophy and pretty soon, most of the apps could be run in either a desktop, test or production environment. Not too long after that staging came around as well.
Now most of our developers see the benefit of this methodology and defend it vigilantly. However, we have a number of legacy apps that never got migrated. We also have a number of legacy programmers who think of this as a waste of time. Unfortunately, we got lip service but never full buy-in from management. We got what we thought was a commitment to invest substantially in this about a year ago, but nothing materialized despite the considerable planning that we put into it. Now we are finding that we need more and more environments. We need help from the server/network administration teams for setup and we need participation from the business stakeholders to support the release cycle. We are at a place now where a project can function what reasonable developers would consider "normally" only if you have the right people on the project and the time to set up the proper environments.
I'd love to present a complete argument, but management really has no time and interest in hearing me out until there is a critical issue. I can't really articulate the benefits simply as it always just seemed second nature to me. I was wondering if there are any good, simple, irrefutable reasons for the separation of environments that would get managers lacking development experience to support this idea. Are there any good resources/literature on the topic?