Rapid digitization has led companies across the world to adopt new technologies and applications. The user of software is rampant across industries, transforming the way businesses function and deliver value. As a result, there is an increased need for better quality software and application updates. Releasing high quality applications at an accelerated pace requires a standardised process and visibility across the various phases of the life cycle. An integrated ALM environment offers the right processes, tools and transparency to make this happen.
Application Lifecycle is the full life cycle of a product or an application from conception to requirement. Application Lifecycle Management or ALM is the management of the various phases of developing an application. In recent years, ALM has become the de facto standard for delivering quality releases on schedule and budget.
While ALM is typically used in the context of software products, the approach or phases in ALM can be extended to any other product development lifecycle. It’s true that every company is a software company, whether it is a bank or a dairy farm or a retail chain. The dependency on custom software development and upgrades is high to ensure a smooth digital journey. As a result, most businesses need to have a flawless strategy to manage their product development or app development projects from beginning to end. This is why ALM is important.
The life cycle typically represents these phases.
ALM comprises multiple disciplines that were traditionally considered separate. It also provides a standard environment for collaboration and communication between multiple departments and teams.
Let’s take a look at the various phases of ALM and how they help in building a high-quality product, on time.
The first phase of the Application Lifecycle begins with requirements gathering and analysis. This is a very crucial phase because getting the requirements right is key to building the right product the first time. Multiple stakeholders have a role to play in defining the requirements scope to support their business case.
Requirements don’t just include business needs or feature specifications but also compliance and governance requirements.
There are multiple tools for requirements gathering used across industries such as IBM DOORS Next Generation, Modern Requirements, Jama Connect etc. Using tools to capture requirements helps maintain traceability and version control on the latest set of requirements.
The product development commences when all the requirements have been finalised. At this stage, the project now moves from an idea to design and development. The development team breaks down the requirements specified into pieces and creates a phased development plan. There are many popular development approaches such as Waterfall model, Agile or DevOps model etc.
Based on the methodology, development teams and engineers use multiple tools to organize their tasks and manage the workflow effectively. For instance tools like Jira help manage the workflow and issues with its scrum and kanban boards and customized workflows.
Without appropriate testing and quality assurance, there is no way to ascertain whether the development is on track and quality. Testers and Quality Assurance professionals verify that the application meets all the requirements that were specified at the outset. In addition, using a variety of testing approaches, the QA team also uncovers hard-to-predict scenarios and edge-cases that can lead to massive performance or software errors. Different types of tests are performed such as acceptance testing, integration testing, functional testing, performance testing, stress testing etc.
In the modern ALM context, QA is not an afterthought but almost a parallel activity alongside development to ensure that critical bugs are identified early in the lifecycle preventing expensive and risky product release delays. Ideally, testers should be able to feed back on the application throughout the cycle.
The development and testing stages conclude once the application achieves a level of quality and stability that’s appropriate for release. Again, testers and QAs leverage best-of-breed test management and test automation tools to make the process more seamless and transparent.
The deployment stage is when the product is finally deployed in production. The process varies based on the type of application that is being built. Typically, software as a service (SaaS) apps can be deployed on internal servers whereas web based apps are accessible through the internet.
Just because a product has gone live, it doesn’t mean the lifecycle ends here. In the operations and maintenance phase, teams monitor and manage the application. In the DevOps world, this phase covers the “release” , “config” and “monitor” elements.
QA also plays a role here by finding and resolving bugs in the production environment. Finally, teams plan and prioritize the next updates to the product.
ALM helps organizations stick to the requirements and release quality applications on time. It streamlines the entire lifecycle from ideation to delivery and makes sure that the product is thoroughly vetted and tested to meet the functional requirements as well as customer expectations.
But above all, it helps team members stay on the same page by improving communication, collaboration and transparency.
There are a number of ALM solutions available in the market that help you monitor and track the lifecycle of the product from requirements gathering to deployment.
ALM helps enterprises to make more informed decisions regarding their application health. With features such as real-time planning and version control, stakeholders can quickly map out the application’s future. ALM offers a clear direction for the workflow when the app is at the idea stage.
As applications are built on increasingly shorter timelines but in accordance with an evolving set of requirements and regulations, compliance is important. ALM offers better control over mapping compliance requirements to testing and coverage making it easier for regulated industries like pharma and healthcare to meet their audit goals.
Are development and testing aligned to the defined requirements? How do you identify crucial gaps in test coverage? ALM solutions help establish virtual traceability between requirements, risks, tests and other activities. In fact, some of the modern tools enable e-Signature and other forms of virtual authentication necessary for defined milestones.
With extensive visibility and collaboration across the project lifecycle, critical risks and defects are identified quickly and stakeholders can make better decisions. ALM not only offers a framework for software development but also helps you manage your application over time. The increased transparency and collaboration helps you release better quality products faster.
Software development lifecycle (SDLC) is a set of procedures involved in the creation of a high-quality software product. Application Lifecycle Management is quite similar but it incorporates a wider set of processes.
TenUp as your development partner, understands the significance of comprehensive ALM service. We offer end-to-end application lifecycle management service for our clients so that you can focus on the key aspects of your business development and growth while we take care of building a quality product on budget and on time. Contact us for more information on how we can partner with you to fulfil your product strategy and development goals.