Essential Components of ALM
The basic objective of an Application Lifecycle Management system is to help IT organizations do a better job of delivering to their end users what they want, when they want it and making sure it works when it gets there. In other words, they are designed to help ensure that IT is an agile organization that delivers results in alignment with the needs of the business by improving the productivity, quality and predictability of your efforts.
Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) contributes greatly towards IT agility. ALM provides the necessary functionality to help manage software creation and the iterations throughout the application lifecycle. ALM includes the specification, access control, change management, process management, build, and deployment of software configurations over the product lifecycle.
The primary components of ALM that improve IT agility include:
Software Configuration Management
Central to the notion of Software Configuration Management (SCM) is the concept of ‘configuration’ and that software is delivered in an arrangement of a specific set of files and functionality. Software development is ongoing, so any particular configuration is a snapshot of the continuous stream of development. An SCM system manages and coordinates the creation and change of various software configurations over any given time. SCM provides the version control, access control and process management required for a managed development process, as well as controlling and coordinating the configuration of software that is built and deployed.
Automated deployment can simplify a complex process and ensure accuracy. Software deployment is usually performed manually, which leads to unintentional errors such as using the incorrect versions of files or placing files in incorrect locations. An ALM solution ties deployment in with the SCM system so that the right files are deployed to the right locations automatically, as part of the overall software development process.
Throughout the application lifecycle, changes occur, bugs are discovered, enhancements created, processes created and modified, and all of it needs to be coordinated, tracked, approved and managed. The change management function within ALM provides a way to store, approve and verify change requests. The change management system also provides status information to the requestor, and provides the traceability needed for internal or external compliance programs. Change management serves as a wrapper around the entire application lifecycle, coordinating change within all aspects of application development.