Application lifecycle management, or ALM, refers to the product lifecycle management of computer programs. It covers a range of management topics, including product management, quality assurance and maintenance. Software development teams rely on application lifecycle management throughout the entire production deployment process. It doesn’t just refer to the products creation, instead spanning its entire life – including launch and maintenance.
The life of an application begins at conception, and ends at retirement. This lifetime will include design, development, QA and regular updates, and ALM takes ownership of all these.
Previous practices for software development companies included the waterfall method, which although had advantages, also had its flaws. Cost issues, failed deadlines and other mismanagement issues would crop up due to waterfall method treating the entire production deployment process as totally separate entities, with team members often bombarded with difficult or surprising deadlines.
Where Does ALM Come In?
Where the waterfall method falters, ALM picks up. ALM involves bringing together the entire development of a product as a whole, and treating it as one journey.
Integrated teams use ALM to:
Define their requirements
Plan and schedule releases and sprints
Test the product
Update and maintain the product according to their schedule
ALM involves bringing the entire product together, with integrated teams performing their own specialised tasks. The product is continuously maintained and updated.
A range of ALM tools are available to help businesses make sense of their clients’ requirements. That’s not to say that all businesses follow the same processes, and some ALM methods will be more rigid than others. ALM tools provide ample opportunity for businesses to estimate and organize the journey of their applications from the start. Agile development methods can be used, while other ALM tools work better for traditional waterfall methods.
Benefits of ALM
ALM offers a range of benefits when compared to other methods of managing software.
1. Provides Direction
A clear plan for the application before you begin design and development is essential for a software development company. This will keep them on track and enable them to schedule projects and release dates. The lifespan of an app should be mapped before anything is done, saving both the company and the client time and money.
2. Allows Products to be Delivered Efficiently
Producing software is easier and faster when you integrate ALM. In order to be efficient and produce quality products, ALM is essential. It prevents unnecessary features being added to the products, improves communication between client and company, and allows the product to be delivered quickly and efficiently.
3. Provides Clarity for the Entire Team
Software companies can make decisions faster with the integration of ALM. With the clarity that ALM provides, schedules can be stuck to and the applications lifespan mapped out with confidence. With all integrated teams involved in the production deployment process, no one will be caught off guard with unachievable deadlines.
Building any type of software, whether it’s an application or website, is impossible without application lifecycle management. While previous methods have worked for some businesses; without the rigid structure that ALM provides, it can be impossible to juggle multiple applications at once. ALM lays out the entire application lifecycle from beginning to end, allowing quality applications to be built and maintained quickly and efficiently.