business team work ALM solutions are not solely about managing requirements, tasks, or dealing with bugs over the course of a project. ALM solutions are in fact the complete story. The reality in business (and elsewhere) is simply that every significant software development project includes many different people. Most of them are not necessarily writing code. Tracing an issue backward can mean more than finding the bug report that motivated a code change. We may need to go back further, back to the spec.

We might need to go back even further, back to the market research or the sales engagement or the customer support ticket that was the initial catalyst.

A truly comprehensive approach to traceability would archive, index, and link everything:

  • Requirements
  • Version control
  • Issue tracking
  • Marketing research
  • Wiki
  • Email, discussions
  • Tests
  • Helpdesk tickets
  • Etc.

The challenge of ALM solutions and tools is that they must support traceability across all stages of the software lifecycle. For more information on the leading ALM vendors read Info-Tech’s Vendor Landscape: Application Lifecycle Management.

Overcome the Barriers to Good Requirements Management – In this research we discuss the recipe for good requirements management. The research doesn’t necessarily address any vendor specific information, but can provide some useful insight into the overall process.

The following few (and there are more in the Info-Tech library of research) are all tools and templates designed to assist with the requirements management process.

Requirements Management Solutions are essentially a very focused subsection of the more complete ALM suite of tools. Info-Tech does not have any “official” vendor comparisons for specifically requirements management tools (RM), however, the market is rather heavily saturated with new vendors popping up from time to time. The range of offering is huge, from cheap, inexpensive, or free tools focused solely on requirements to larger, more cost solutions specializing in integration, niche market or industry segments. There are even some vendors providing mobile solutions for RM.

To discover some options in the RM market, read Info-Tech’s knowledgebase article, Do you have an overview of the requirements management market?

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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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