Application Lifecycle Management Tools with Matthew Klassen


does it offer to business analysts?

MK: It offers the business analyst the opportunity to influence the entire team, providing clear direction for all roles. It allows the business analyst to focus the team's attention on solving the business problems and satisfying business stakeholders' needs. Intelligent ALM can uniquely provide this for two reasons:

    1. MKS Integrity provides requirements management (RM) capabilities as part of a holistic ALM offering that connects requirements to all relevant artifacts, automates RM workflow as part of the development process, and provides transparency through comprehensive metrics. This allows the business analyst to spend much less time manually ensuring traceability, generating status reports and metrics, and guiding the process and more time solving business problems.
    2. Intelligent ALM goes beyond a technological platform to an approach of working with customers to improve their ability to solve business problems with software. By helping turn the focus from simply the software's being produced to connecting software development with core business processes, business analysts' work will be much more impactful to the business.

STL: What does Intelligent ALM offer to those in individual areas of the lifecycle, such as developers or testers?

MK: Intelligent ALM allows each role to maximize its contribution to the team and ultimately the team's impact on the organization by:

    • Providing competence-managing requirements, test, and development activities and artifacts
    • Providing this competence in a single, coherent platform so artifacts, processes, and roles are inextricably linked
    • Adapting the solution to each team's unique needs in supporting platform, technology, IDE, team size, process (agile, iterative, waterfall, mixed), and distribution (collocated or globally distributed)
    • Elevating the visibility of the team's project and deliverables to the enterprise, connecting the team's objectives to corporate objectives that move the business forward

STL: What are the difficulties and benefits involved with elevating visibility and connecting team and corporate objectives?

MK: There are several difficulties in doing so, including:

    • The software development group has not typically spent time collaborating with these other groups, and this, many times, can be a cultural barrier more than a technical barrier.
    • The other groups (such as systems engineering or IT operations and support) see software as a necessary evil almost and an inferior science. They have strict controls and engineering practices and don't understand why software development can't get their act together. This creates a difficult situation. It seems to be changing, as it is impossible to ignore the criticality and strategic role of software.
    • Technical barriers exist, as most ALM solutions don't actually integrate well with IT operations or PLM solutions.

If the these teams, processes, and tools can be connected, it really adds significant benefit to the business as a whole, such as:

    • True end-to-end visibility and control across core processes, including IT change management (ITIL/ITSM), eliminate the software development black box and allow management to actually manage costs, quality, and schedules much more predictably (similar for PLM and engineering processes).
    • It naturally brings down costs and improves quality as waste is eliminated from the organization. Disconnected teams, processes, tools, and data create waste and cost millions each year.
    • If these processes and tools are connected, it really gives business stakeholders better transparency into the delivery of systems and will have a positive effect on customer satisfaction and retention.

STL: What issues do you see in existing all-in-one ALM solutions, and what improvements do you expect to appear in coming years?

MK: Right now there are four core issues with all-in-one solutions:

    • The major contenders in this single platform space are not very adaptable and are quite proprietary with few exceptions.
    • Integrating with the existing tooling and process

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