What is ALM?

ALM is a process of specification, design, development, and testing of a software application. It covers the entire lifecycle from the idea of the application through to the development, testing, deployment, support, and ultimately user experience phase. The full form of ALM is Application life cycle management.

Depending on the software development methodology (for example, waterfall, agile, or DevOps), ALM might be split into various phases. ALM process is mainly broken down into three elements: Governance, development, and operations.

In this ALM tutorial, you will learn:

ALM Process

Here are some key areas of ALM:

Governance:

It includes requirements management, resource management, data security, user access, review, audit, deployment control, and rollback. It also provides resource management, data security, and user access.

Benefits of Governance:

Here are pros/benefits of Governance:

  • Aligned business strategy
  • Developing a business case
  • Offers continuous monitoring
  • Funding projects which deliver the highest value
  • Clear accountability and control

Application development:

It includes identifying current problems, planning, design, building, and testing the application. This area consists of the traditional developer and app maker roles. This stage includes identifying current issues, planning, design, building, testing, deploying, etc.

Application operation:

The next important element of ALM is Application operation. This area includes the deployment of the app and the maintenance of the technology stack. In the waterfall software development method, operation is a separate stage from development. DevOps team brings operations and development together into a fully-integrated, continuous process.

Why ALM is important?

The following are the main reasons for using ALM:

  • If you are using ALM, then you have good visibility into project status.
  • Teams are able to communicate effectively.
  • It is easy to track or define requirements.
  • The software was tested adequately.
  • The cost of maintaining and operating the solution remains limited.

Stages of Application Lifecycle Management

Here are the different stages of ALM:

1) Requirement management:

Requirement management is the first ALM stage that helps you in documenting, analysing, tracking, prioritizing, and agreeing on requirements. It is a continuous process that will continue throughout a project life cycle.

2) Design

Design management is a process that helps to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving usability. It also provides interaction among the customer and the product.

3) Build Management

Build Management is also known as code management. It is the process of converting source code files into standalone software component. In this stage, an application idea transforms into an actual application.

During this stage, the application is built, tested, and deployed, and the tester begins preparing their tests-cases and write a test script for the testing phase.

4) SCM

Software Configuration Management(SCM) is another ALM stage where the development team systematically organizes, manages, and controls the changes in the documents, codes, and other entities during the Application Development Life Cycle process.

5) Operations and Maintenance

Operations and maintenance is the next phase. In the ALM phase, the process of monitoring, Management, and the development of the applications will begin. In DevOps, this ALM phase it covers "release," "config," and "monitor".

In this stage, you find and resolve bugs. This phase helps you to plan and prioritize the next updates to the product.

6) Test management:

In the testing phase, the testers need to verify that the application is complying with the requirements defined in the initial steps of the process.

They also need to ensure that, even if this is not properly defined in the requirements phase, the application will meet the user expectations and all the other stakeholders that will require to support it throughout its lifecycle.

7) User experience:

Maintenance or user experience is traditionally the longest stage of ALM. Still, it is also the one where the participation of the testing and development teams is usually the lowest.

After the application is developed, the role of the users comes to play. They check the entire application and share their experience base on their feedback. The final application will be delivered.

Advantage of ALM

Here are pros/benefits of using ALM:

  • ALM helps you to control the system by organizing and tracking
  • You can share defects across projects, reducing risk by helping.
  • ALM offers integration with other testing tools
  • It provides a clear direction for an app before it is built.
  • Without ALM, it is hard for a software development team to produce software at the speed and agility needed to stay competitive.
  • ALM efficiently delivers software with minimum 'tax' on the team.

ALM Tools

Here are some important ALM tools:

1) Kovair ALM Studio:

Kovair is most of the comprehensive Application Lifecycle Management product. It can handle end to end development lifecycle stages from Requirements to Release.

Features:

  • Adopt a 100% web-based solution with no client-side software for reducing the support burden
  • Practice any of the development methodologies waterfall, agile or hybrid
  • Implement a configurable task-based workflow engine for increased efficiency and productivity
  • Get real-time notifications at every actionable stage
  • Provide complete coverage of development about every step, enabling compliance with standards.
  • Allow real-time viewing of artifacts status, which increases transparency and releases predictability.

Link: https://www.kovair.com/alm-studio/


2) Microfocus

Microfocus ALM is Lean, Agile and DevOps software and solutions help organizations to release software faster. This tool allows team of all sizes to deliver high-quality apps with greater speed. The tool was orginally developer by Mercury, later acquired by HP and finally taken over by MicroFocus.

Features:

  • Deliver Apps with Speed, Quality, and Scale
  • It allows stakeholders to interact and coordinate to achieve the project goals.
  • It provides robust tracking & reporting and seamless integration of various project-related tasks
  • It allows detailed project analysis and effective Management.
  • ALM can connect to email systems and send emails about any changes to all desired team members.

Link:https://software.microfocus.com/en-us/select/free-trial


3) VersionOne:

VersionOne simplifies product planning with easy backlog management. It is built for DevOps and provides end to end continuous delivery. It has a drag-and-drop interface.

Features:

  • It allows users to prioritize stories and defects using the drag-and-drop function.
  • Manage Business Initiatives with Portfolio Items
  • Allows to group Items by theme
  • Provide result according to Business Goal
  • Capturing all Feature Requests in One Place
  • Helps users to ensure alignment between corporate objectives and product deliverables
  • It provides a forum for engaging with other customers to learn from peers.
  • Provides insights and end to end visibility to project manager.

Link: http://info.versionone.com/v1-trial-free.html

Use case scenario of ALM from a Developer perspective :

  • Developer starts his work
  • Check the task list which is assigned to him
  • He checks tasks with priority and picks up one.
  • He then change the status of the task to In Progress
  • Check out code from the source code repository.
  • He implements a unit test with the testing framework.
  • Execute test with the standard build script. Code inspection displays illegal naming convention or potential bugs.
  • He fixes the code and re-test the script.
  • After confirming the code, the coverage rate meets the target rate. He commits the code with the task ID.
  • Then he checks out the code and runs build script.
  • Compile and deploy the code to the staging machine.
  • Run the test case. In case if it is broken , it automatically sends a notification to the developer and project manager.
  • Developer then rolls back the code in the source repository and staging machine.
  • If the test is passed, it invokes code inspection and coverage analysis. If there is a problem. It will report the problem; otherwise, the developer notifies that all of the implementations have been done successfully.
  • He writes his work history in a task management system
  • Project manager gets the notification that the task is resolved.
  • He check-up the note of the task result.
  • Developer completes his working day.

Use case scenario of ALM from a Project leader perspective:

  • The project leader executes a web browser and goes to the ALM dashboard page.
  • Each project has a page dashboard.
  • It displays the number of open tasks, the number of pending tasks, and all the critical tasks that are opened.
  • The project leader is notified of potential risk and project a healthy status by using the dashboard.
  • All of the commit and change are automatically reported.
  • Here, the ALM process helps the team in such a way that they do not need to make a meeting or phone call to check the CI process of the critical tasks.

Summary:

  • Application Lifecycle Management acronym ALM is a process of specification, design, development, and testing of a software application.
  • Key areas of ALMS are defined as 1) Governance, 2) Application Development 3) Application management.
  • If you are using ALM, then you have good visibility into project status.
  • Requirement management, Design, Coding, SCM, Build Management, Test management, and User experiences are important stages of the ALM process.
  • ALM helps you to control the system by organizing and tracking.
  • ALM process is useful for Developers, Project managers and all entries of the system management process.

 

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