All You Need To Know About Application Lifecycle Management Tools
Are you ready?
Say five things that are mostly associated with science fiction… and time’s up!
We don’t want to know the entire list. However, if robots are not on your list, then you are either from a future where artificial humanoids are not considered fictional or you're, in fact, a robot yourself! Just kidding!
Robots are awesome, right? They can help automate and streamline entire industries. Or robot companions can be programmed to assist senior citizens - as shown in our favorite movie “Robot and Frank.” The robot was essentially an Application Lifecycle Management Tool for Frank.
Wondering what Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Tools are? Well, this is why #TechDogs is here to explain. Presenting this quick read on Application Lifecycle Management Tools!
To begin with, let’s first dissect “application lifecycle management.” It’s a process that includes the methods and resources to enable an organization to maximize its application development strategies. It aims to preserve software integrity by providing appropriate support during the entire lifecycle of the development. ALM is used by software development companies as well as at all stages of the product lifecycle - from understanding the requirements, designing and testing to deployment and retirement of the application.
Now, let’s get back to Frank – Frank lived a simple life before Robot came in. No one to talk to, no one who could take care of him and above all, with his growing dementia, he would even forget his children. However, his life story took a 180-degree turn with the onset of Robot. If we look closely, Robot has a striking similarity with Application Lifecycle Management Tools. You may ask, how?
Well, Robot managed Frank's lifecycle at every point of time of the day – from the start of the day by preparing a healthy breakfast to the end by ensuring he took his meds before bed. In the same way, ALM Tools support the process of developing, delivering and managing applications. See, we told you they’re quite similar!
Read on to know everything about your Robot AKA Application Lifecycle Management Tools; its inception, working, benefits and where it is heading in the future.
Let's Start With What Are Application Lifecycle Management Tools?
You must have gotten the gist of Application Lifecycle Management Tools by now. However, this section will elaborate on what exactly Application Lifecycle Management Tools are. Before directly hopping to the protagonist of our article, let’s first know about application lifecycle management in brief.
Application lifecycle management is an umbrella term that includes several different areas such as project management, requirements management, development testing and Quality Assurance (QA), as well as customer support and IT service delivery, which were traditionally considered separate disciplines. ALM is essential for delivering quality releases on time and within budget while considering all the above necessities! No wonder, developers need software to set requirements and adjust as needed throughout the process. What's most important about this is that it allows everyone to stay on the same page.
Naturally, while developing applications, it’s important to take into account all this at every stage of the application lifecycle. With an Application Lifecycle Management Tool, developers can get unified and comprehensive optimization across all phases. ALM Tools provide a uniform environment for communication and collaboration between teams of software developers as well as related departments such as testing and operations. With these tools, you can track your team's progress on projects, collaborate better across departments and understand how you're spending your time and money. #UniteAndWork
After knowing about ALM Tools, let’s dig into its past to see how this tool came about.
Let’s Dig Deeper Into The Past Of Application Lifecycle Management Tools
Everyone has their past. Frank was a thief who had been to jail many times. The past of Application Lifecycle Management Tools is less shady but equally interesting - here you go!
The roots of software development dates to the 1960s; however, ALM took off in 1977 and really started taking shape in the 1980s. Helix, a second-generation Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) solution, became a formal Business Process Improvement (BPI) method in the 1990s. Not much later, in the 2000s, it became a full-blown enterprise value improvement framework through its incorporation into organizational development and other disciplines. However, the focus slowly moved towards a new generation of application generators called C.A.S.E. (Computer-Aided Software Engineering) tools, fuelled by a budding market for software solutions.
Today, Microsoft’s 2010 version of Visual Studio, IBM’s Rational Software and many other ALM Tools has some new features in terms of their toolsets and integration process modeling. From structured programming to structured designing to application lifecycle management, the evolution is still ongoing.
Now that you know where it all started, let’s explore how it is going! We mean, the working of ALM Tools.
How Do Application Lifecycle Management Tools Work?
Do you know how the Robot from “Robot and Frank” worked? Its mechanism was complicated and to know how it worked, you may need to first learn how programming languages and AI work. On the other hand, the working of Application Lifecycle Management Tools is quite easy!
Here are the steps involved in its working
Step 1: Requirement SpecificationAlso known as requirement management, this helps you document, analyze and prioritize the requirements during the software development lifecycle. Guess what, this process will continue throughout the project lifecycle!
Step 2: Designing“Design is intelligence made visible.” - Stephen Bayley and Terence Conran.
The next step is all about improving customer satisfaction and loyalty by enhancing the usability of the software. This step also provides interactions between potential customers and the final product through user testing and usability testing. #DesignToImpress
Step 3: Code ManagementAlso known as build management, it is the stage where source code files are translated into standalone software components. During this process, the application idea transforms into an actual functional application. In this phase, an app can be built and tested before being deployed for users. A testing team also prepares its tests-cases and writes a test script for the final testing phase at this stage.
Step 4: Software Configuration ManagementSoftware Configuration Management (SCM) is an ALM stage in which the development team organizes, manages and controls changes to documents, codes and other entities during Application Development Life Cycle (ADLC). The tool assists developers by automating many of the processes.
Step 5: Operations And MaintenanceThis stage will help developers and testers find and fix bugs. It will also help them plan and prioritize future updates and feature deployment for the application. #BeFutureReady
Step 6: Test ManagementIn the testing stage, testers will verify that the app complies with the requirements defined in previous steps, as well as other legal and industry standards. For example, personally identifiable information (PII) needs to be secured and encrypted.
Step 7: User ExperienceThis is probably the longest stage of ALM. Once the application is developed, it's time for users to play a role. They check the entire app, use all features and functions to give feedback based on their experience. The final app will be delivered after the feedback is considered and changes to the UI are made.
The next section awaits – it showcases the benefits of Application Lifecycle Management Tools. Interested?
Benefits Of Application Lifecycle Management Tools
There were many benefits of keeping Robot as a companion for Frank, such as being a personal therapist, friend and accomplice (no spoilers!). Similarly, there are a few benefits of ALM Tools. They are as follows:
Real-time Decision Making
Features like real-time planning and version control (both of which are found in most ALM Tools) provide team leaders with a leg-up; they can quickly and decisively map out an application's future so that organizations can plan updates effectively and make informed decisions.
Enhances Speed And Agility
These tools give development teams the power to produce applications at the speed and agility required by consumers. It offers proprietary source code management tools that help align the software development goals with organizational objectives.
Strengthens Testing Practices
These tools equip organizations with end-to-end application development and testing solutions, resulting in easy identification of issues and swift resolutions.
Provides Employee Support And Customer Satisfaction
ALM Tools provides organizations the ability to release applications faster while maintaining customer satisfaction by integrating new features, adapting to market changes and supporting appropriate customer demands.
One of its many benefits includes enhanced visibility into the application development, which enables developers to understand how far along the application development has progressed and what has been tested, so everyone can stay updated.
Now that we are through with the benefits, let’s hop on to the next section to know where ALM Tools are heading in the future.
What Does The Future Hold For Application Lifecycle Management Tools?
The future of Robot and Frank’s companionship is unknown. However, we definitely know about the future of ALM Tools and trust us it’s very bright! Licensing will become a part of the governance of ALM Tools which will track issues that are outside the organizational scope, ensuring that externally owned work is clearly tracked and reported.
Besides, new process models such as agile will be used so that the problem will be broken down into smaller increments which can be taken care of by different teams. ALM Tools will also automate everything that can be automated (a concept called hyper-automation) that will help optimize processes to avoid time lags, invisible queues and delays in the entire SDLC. #AutomationRules
It’s A Wrap
Well, if you are confused about whether to welcome or not to welcome ALM Tools in your organization, let us tell you that these tools tackle the challenges involved in product development, customer collaboration and transparency. ALM Tools are an excellent way to make your business profitable. On top of it, it can also keep developers and testers happy and productive, eventually showcasing your annual profit reports. It’s essential to have an ALM Tool that works for you while catering to your goals as a business owner.
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