All about Application Lifecycle Management Software
Yet, most companies are forced to rely on emails, spreadsheets, Access databases, and a variety of other disparate systems to coordinate and track the various activities and resources involved in software development. Compounding the problem is the fact that teams of engineers, developers and programmers, and quality assurance professionals possess different skills, and utilize different tools to manage their “piece” of the process. As a result, disjointed activities, combined with a lack of communication and information-sharing, can hinder collaboration, slow time-to-market, increase related costs, and negatively impact software quality.
What is Application Lifecycle Management?
An application lifecycle management (ALM) package is a robust, comprehensive technology solution that allows companies to carefully manage, control, and monitor all aspects of software development. From design and development, through testing, deployment, and ongoing enhancements and maintenance, ALM applications help companies more effectively manage software development, implementation, usage, and improvement from end-to-end.
With an ALM solution in place, organizations that develop software as a core business function can significantly improve the way they design, build, implement, and adapt new applications. As a result, they can better address customer needs, support new internal business initiatives, or successfully achieve other mission-critical goals and objectives.
Key Benefits for Your Company
An application lifecycle management package can offer dramatic benefits to any organization that relies on their ability to quickly, affordably, and effectively design, build, and roll out software. Some of the advantages that can be achieved include:
- Improved productivity and cost-efficiency through the creation and enforcement of standards and best practices across all processes, as well as more accurate allocation of resources, and greater communication, collaboration, and information flow among all stakeholders and involved teams.
- Accelerated development and time-to-market through automated and simplified project management, resource planning, integration, and other critical functions.
- Increased flexibility through an ability to rapidly build or enhance software applications to instantly respond to changing customer demands or emerging business needs, as they occur.
- Enhanced quality, and the ability to ensure that all software is designed and built to meet all end user requirements.
- Maximized investments in skills, technologies, and other resources.
- Minimized maintenance requirements through the effective synchronization of application and design.
Does My Company Need Application Lifecycle Management?
If your company frequently develops software in-house – whether it’s for sale to customers, consultants, or resellers, or for internal purposes only – it can benefit greatly from the purchase and use of an application lifecycle management application. With an ALM solution in place, your company can complete its most mission-critical software development projects in the best way possible – on time, within budget, and according to all specifications.
Common Application Lifecycle Management Features
There are many ALM solutions on the market today, and most are robust, feature-rich applications that deliver a broad range of functionality that enables the effective management and tracking of all software development activities throughout the entire lifecycle. These packages support the broadest range of procedures, including project management, requirements planning and definition, development task workflow creation and tracking, and quality assurance planning and testing. They accomplish this by delivering such capabilities as:
- Requirements management to enable the definition, control, and communication of internal goals, customer needs, and regulations.
- Software design to ensure accurate creation of and adherence to technical specifications.
- Project management to simplify resource scheduling and allocation, task assignment, deadlines, schedules, task interdependencies, and more.
- Testing to allow for immediate detection and correction of bugs and other problems before the software is deployed
- Change management to help keep projects on track, even when change requests to requirements, designs, and finished software are made.
- Monitoring and reporting,to enable project leaders and others in supervisory roles to continuously track project and task status in real-time.
What to Look for When Choosing an Application Lifecycle Management Solution
Not all application lifecycle management solutions are created equal. Only the most advanced features and functions set the world-class ALM applications apart from the rest. To achieve maximum benefit, choose a solution that offers all the capabilities needed to streamline and enhance all software development activities from start to finish, including:
- Modeling to allow developers to dynamically design the program’s central architecture.
- Configuration management to enable the efficient maintenance of evolving features, changing components, and varying configurations.
- Build management to schedule and automate repetitive development tasks.
- Release management to provide end-to-end tracking of enhancements over time.
- Deployment managemen to facilitate fast and cost-efficient implementation and roll-out.