Five Imperatives for Application Lifecycle Management

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Summary:
Customers are often looking for their software to be built quickly, and to remain competitive, developers have to follow suit. Application management allows for increased productivity by also increasing efficiency. Learn how ALM coordinates people and tools to all work smoothly together.

Many organizations are faced with hastened delivery schedules due to competitive pressures and the need to innovate. Yet software development is difficult, and the software systems that are maintained and delivered by the world’s IT and device development organizations are astoundingly complex. Teams challenged by reduced time to delivery must do so without increasing their budgets or sacrificing quality. Their strategy, instead, must be to improve software development efficiency. A solution to this dilemma is to improve Lifecycle Collaboration with Application Lifecycle Management.

Designed for the execution of a software delivery project, Application Lifecycle Management solutions coordinate people, processes, and tools in an iterative cycle of integrated software development activities, including planning and change management, requirements definition and management, architecture management, software configuration management, build and deployment automation, application security, and quality management. In addition to the capabilities, the fundamental features of an ALM solution include traceability across lifecycle artifacts, process definition and enactment, and reporting.

The most important benefit of an ALM solution is coordinating the people, processes, information, and tools involved in a project to deliver innovation to your stakeholders. Because there is no one-size fits all solution, we advise our clients to focus on the following imperatives as they implement an ALM approach best suited to their environment and culture:

    • Integrated planning
    • Traceability of related artifacts
    • Development intelligence
    • Automation and Collaboration
    • Continuous process improvement

Integrated Planning
We plan because we want to know when we are done. The only way to know when the work is complete is to ensure the plans are fully integrated with project execution and always up to date. The following table provides several typical dos and don’ts related to planning. 

    Don’t
 

    Do

Have plans that live outside of ALM environment.

Use plans that are fully integrated with execution, manage tasks for the entire team, not just the tasks of developers.

Provide Plan transparency, where plans are visible and accessible to everyone on the team.

Use plans that make it easy to understand the load, easy to see what your team is currently working on in taskboards.

Rely on manual, error-prone updates.

Use plans with information at your fingertips, and a user interface that makes it trivial to update plan information in the context of the work.

Use a plan that provides multiple views on the same data such as Ranked Lists, Planned Time, Taskboard, Work breakdown, by Iteration, or Roadmap (traditional) view.

Practice continuous planning using lifecycle queries and project dashboards to respond to changing events on the team.

Create an environment where requirements, development and test Plans are disconnected and managed separately, or not at all.

Plan across the entire team, not silos, by linking and populating development and test plans from requirements. Ensure individual requirements, development work items and test cases are all linked.

Separate from team activities and assignments.

Updating time spent directly from the work item makes easy to keep accurate plans.

Instantly see the impact of changes to delivery dates. Use Planned time to balance the load across team members.

Rely on disconnected from metrics on past team experiences.

Easily instantiate project plans
into individual and team activities

The following image illustrates how updating time spent directly from the work item in a matter of seconds makes easy to keep accurate plans.

2

0.     Updating the time spent on a work item keeps plans accurate

The following three images show the same Sprint plan using different views. Using different views helps the team balance the work, plan effectively and respond to changes more quickly.  3

1.     A Planned Time view illustrates when team

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