To understand the meaning of ALM, imagine a restaurant where clients are always satisfied. There is well-organised work in the kitchen behind this tremendous success, where the chef controls everything from products order to the final dish. The chef here is an ALM solution — the almighty power properly delegating tasks amongst employees, knowing everything about the surrounding, controlling changes, and mitigating financial and reputation risks. For comparison, if this chef were just a bug tracking platform, he would catch cockroaches in already made dishes before they are served.
This pushes us to the primary ALM definition — managing a product’s lifecycle, from concept to market. It covers project and requirements management, the entire software development cycle and quality assurance.
Importance of ALM
So what makes an application lifecycle management tool essential for companies?
- Project and requirements management
Any development needs a structured plan, precise requirements and a comprehensive but flexible workflow. And the more functions your ALM platform can provide, the better the final product or a program.
- Software Development
Bug report software for developers or an ALM test management tool can significantly mitigate unnecessary risks and issues. Traceability can show if there are human factor mistakes, proper communication under items can help address problems on time, and bug tracking feature to find out the consistent pattern of defects.
- Quality assurance
Since the Shift left approach takes more part in contemporary development, companies prefer concentrating on quality from the earliest stage instead of fixing defects after release.
It also explains why companies prefer tools with broad test capabilities instead of using a specific one, for instance, a performance test tool.
Stages of ALM
The stages of ALM in testing coincide with what makes ALM important for development:
This stage includes gathering requirements from stakeholders and decision-makers accordingly to the company’s business goals.
Once requirements are gathered, your project turns into the development phase. This phase includes three steps — creating, testing and deploying.
- Operation and maintenance
As the product is deployed, you need to monitor it throughout its functioning. At the same stage, you must test it for bugs and prioritise updates when required.
Best application lifecycle management tools
aqua ALM framework is created to meet all requirements of the actual application lifecycle management app. Covering all necessary functionality of the test management platform also contributes to easier regulation compliance, proper project management and even Agile practices. Traceability of aqua ALM goes above and beyond — you not only check bugs in the system but also create test cases and defects and get access to information about who has ever interacted with the elements.
Zephyr offers similar to aqua ALM functionality with great rolled-out reports and comprehensive traceability. However, Zephyr doesn’t have a flexible pricing policy and is mainly suitable only for large enterprises. Among other things, Zephyr has limited functionality for the Agile methodology. It can complicate the early implementation of QA of the shift-left approach.
Polarion, featured by Siemens, is a popular ALM tool, especially for QA testing for manufacturing. However, this ALM solution is not cost-effective for small and middle enterprises. It enables integration with continuous releases, testing, build, and automation. But you also need to consider that Polarion depends on outside tools since it doesn’t have the features to source code configuration natively.
What is the Future of ALM?
Even with the advent of new methods or the need to introduce artificial intelligence into all areas of development, ALM will probably remain the only solution for managing such processes. Of course, ALM will not stay in its original form and evolve into something more advanced. According to some experts, most likely, it will merge with Product Lifecycle Management and form Enterprise Lifecycle Management.
Global digitalisation made companies worldwide adopt new technologies to win this technological race. For most of them, it means increasing the quality of released software, which eventually burdens software development and quality assurance teams. As a result, it raises the urge to implement a single system lifecycle management process that can provide complete transparency and organisation. And Application Lifecycle Management tools can cover this demand.