Agile ALM imageAs development platforms, coding methodologies, and devices proliferate, Agile ALM tools support integrations with an ever-increasing range of systems.

Long-standing vendors in the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) space can trace their roots to the 1980s, or even earlier. Since the 1990s, ALM tools have played a key part in the project manager’s arsenal, allowing him or her to track project status and progress towards objectives.

Managers have paid top dollar for ALM suites that could track project data and provide meaningful reporting. However, as development environments have evolved, the tools and components being used to manage this process have grown to become integrated and convenient, covering all phases of the development lifecycle including architecture, testing, and deployment with a single common interface.

Process flexibility has become key. Instead of a strict adherence to Agile or waterfall development, most firms have pursued a middle path and customized their methodology to meet their own needs. Some Agile ALM tools cater to the need for flexibility.

Quality control has become a core part of ALM. Several major ALM tools are built around testing tools and process maturity.

Going forward, expect stronger integration between ALM tools and the ecosystem of products supporting development, such as testing, PLM tools and IDEs.

For more information, please see Info-Tech’s recently released solution set on selecting an Agile ALM vendor.

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How-To classJust as we are all bound to the circle of life, so too are our applications.  Each progresses from birth to retirement through the various stages of life.  At each of these stages there are best practices that can be applied to minimize the growing pains of the application lifecycle.

While the “birth” of a human being is not necessarily an area where many options exist in terms of acquisition, an application does not have to be born from the blood, sweat, and tears of your development team.  In fact, organizations that buy rather than build an application, deliver these projects on time and in budget more often than those that build.

As your application grows into an uncontrollably rebellious teenager, you could look the other way and attempt to change your processes to suit the application; however, 88% of companies choose to invest in changing this bad behavior on the application side rather than implementing changes on the business side.

Like teenagers, eventually the application will grow out of this phase. Of course, this phase is usually followed by the “independent young adult who moves out and doesn’t need smothering anymore and only calls for money” phase, and an application is really no different. Once an application has matured to this stage, don’t call every weekend to see if it has clean socks. Instead, only make business-driven changes if they are mission-critical, and apply at least half of the vendor patches/upgrades to maximize stability and satisfaction among users.

As the years pass, both applications and people reach a stage where they just can’t work anymore.  For people, retirement represents an opportunity to do all those things we always wanted to do, but never had time for.  Knowing when it’s time to pack it in differs from person to person, and the same approach applies to your applications.  Once an application loses its luster, either because it no longer meets the business need or has dropped off the vendor’s support radar, it’s time to suggest Sunday drives, early bird dinners, and lots of golf.

For more information about how you can make a difference in your application’s life, see Info-Tech’s solution set, Managing the Application Lifecycle.

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