It’s no wonder that the adoption of Application Lifecycle Management software tools to streamline software development processes has been steadily rising over the past years. Increasing product complexity, the need to shorten time to market and to develop higher quality software, and fierce competition in several industries is forcing companies to adopt methods and tools that help them stay ahead of the curve.
While more and more companies recognize thebenefits an advanced ALM solution could bring, most of them struggle with choosing the one that best suits their needs. With several vendors and products (as well as their combinations) available on the market, finding the perfect ALM platform can be an arduous task. The following guide and checklist should help you navigate the plethora of software tools available, and will assist you in making an informed decision.
A comprehensive guide to evaluating ALM platforms
Before even starting to research available ALM platforms, you should start analyzing your current development environment, internal processes, and the main issues with your current setup. You shouldn’t expect to find an ALM solution that resolves all your problems and is perfectly suited to your needs out of the box. Most likely, you’ll need to find a flexible platform that you can tailor to your own requirements.
Any Application Lifecycle Management tool that claims to be a complete solution should consist of at least the following modules:
- Requirements Management
- Software Development
- Collaborative Project Management
- Quality Assurance & Test Management
- Release Management
- Document Management
- IT Operations (DevOps)
You want your chosen solution’s architecture to be flexible, allowing you to customize artifacts and workflows, reports or views (dashboard), and it should also support all your internal processes as well as any foreseeable development of these processes. For instance, if you’re looking to switch to Agile from a Waterfall methodology, it’s great to have an ALM platform that supports both in order to enable a gradual transition.
Key features to look for
Feature-wise, the question is even more complicated. Various vendors offer all kinds of features and functions that could help you achieve the results you’re looking for. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to stick to a substantial definition of your requirements: don’t look for certain features, but rather define what you need to be able to do with the ALM tool, as different vendors may have different ways of getting you there.
In a nutshell, the following general capabilities and features are considered the most important when it comes to Application Lifecycle Management tools:
- Agile capabilities
- Support for various work items
- Gapless traceability from requirements to release
- Integration points with other tools
- Consulting & training services, support
- Security and reliability
- Available hosting & license types
For a detailed explanation of each of these, as well as a few tips on how to evaluate ALM tools, feel free to download the entire guide. It’s free of charge, and provides a comprehensive guide that helps you find the right Application Lifecycle Management platform to streamline your software development processes.