A good application lifecycle management (ALM) package has software that is able to carefully manage and monitor all aspects of software development. ALM applications provide tools for managing and completing the phases of design, development, testing, deployment, and ongoing enhancements. With an ALM solution in place, organizations can significantly improve the way they design, build, test, and adapt their software. Greater customer satisfaction, speed of development, and reduction of cost is the often the result.
The increasing complexity of the software development task has been answered by an increasing number of tools for managing that development. Communication, collaboration, and task tracking have been key aspects of better software development, and the tools that have harnessed these aspects have become the most successful.
Here's our top ALM solutions in no particular order:
VersionOne - V1: Agile Team, V1: Agile Enterprise, V1: Agile Ideas
VersionOne's first project management tools were designed for eXtreme Programming and Scrum. Today, they support a broader set of methodologies including DSDM, Agile UP, and Lean/Kanban. Their software suite includes V1: Agile Team--for small teams that are new to agile, V1: Agile Enterprise--a full ALM for large, experienced agile teams, and V1: Agile Ideas--a customer collaboration portal for logging and prioritizing feature requests. VersionOne also provides an open web service Java API, a .NET SDK, and free integration connectors to third-party software development tools.
Aldon - Aldon Lifecycle Manager
Aldon uses a multiplatform SCCM solution, which allows it to coordinate complex multiplatform deployments. Aldon also supports third-party SCCM products for added versatility. Aldon's highlights include configurable multi-phase lifecycle process automation, flexible architecture for IDE's, and role-based interfaces for engineers, project leads, development managers, and senior IT management. Aldon is also well-equipped to handle complex release and distribution support.
ThoughtWorks - Mingle
ThoughtWorks' project management tool, Mingle, is known for having one of the most user-friendly interfaces. It focuses on tracking business objectives and focusing on customer specifications throughout the application lifecycle. Other ALM tools by ThoughtWorks include Twist, for test automation, and Cruise, for release management. ThoughtWorks' philosophy of "Adaptive ALM" focuses on adapting management tools to the developer team, rather than running the team according to the nature of the tools.
Seapine - TestTrack Suite,
Seapine's TestTrack suite handles bug tracking, issue management, development workflow, and test case management very well. TestTrack also has a wide range of OS support which includes Mac, Linux, Unix and Windows. Along with good change and test tool integrations, Seapine's software is also very easy to install and upgrade.
AccuRev - AccuRev Suite
AccuRev has used IBM's ClearCase as a model for its own ALM tools. Their software supports agile and waterfall processes. The AccuRev Suite has tools that work together when used in unison and AccuRev's "AccuRev for ClearCase" can actually provide bi-directional coexistence between AccuRev and ClearCase. AccuRev applications are easy to administer, requiring no dedicated administrator, and easy to learn.
TechExcel - DevSuite
TechExcel's DevSuite offers an advanced modular ALM system. Their tools are easy to administer with no programming needed. DevSuite's separate tools can work as stand alone applications or work together for greater traceability. TechExcel's tools also support Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft Access databases.
Serena - Serena Dimentsions 10
Serena specializes in lifecycle managment for large organizations. Dimentsions 10 uses one repository for requirements, configuration, change, and release. A range of development models are avaliable for distributed teams with centralized replicated support. Dimentsions 10 also has solid process automation and release functionalites. Serena uses the Eclipse Application Lifecycle framework instead of its own proprietary platform.
Polarion - Polarian Requirements
Polarion Requirements uses Web, Wiki, Google Docs, or MS Office based authoring. Polarion is also based on open standards and frameworks. Its distinguishing features include a traceability matrix, CMMI support, and a workflow driven UI. Other features inlcude forensic-level traceability linking and reports, structured and unstructured data search and query, and impact analysis view
IBM - ClearCase, ClearQuest
The Rational Software division at IBM has a robust selection of ALM applications that integrate with and complement each other in a variety of development processes. ClearQuest is a powerful workflow automation tool that can be tailored to model any type of workflow. ClearCase is IBM's source code revision tool that can run on a number of platforms and handle a large number of files while running lightweight. Its most distinguishing feature is the MultiVersion File System(MVFS) which supports dynamic views to map software configuration.
Microsoft - Visual Studio Team System
The Microsoft Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) has a an integrated metadata repository with a flexible flexible process model. Instead of having change, versioning and configuration based on code changes, VSTS bases them on work items, reduceing programmer overhead for change management. VSTS web proxies give great distributed support for a team system. Team System also supports multiple versions of .Net Framework and integrates with Microsoft Office. Visual Studio 2010 also just released its second beta version.
Rally - Rally Enterprise and Community Editions
Agile Commons and Agile University were both launched by Rally. Rally also created the first SaaS data warehouse for software development. Rally has two versions of its software: A community edition, which is free for up to 10 users, and the enterprise edition, their flagship for Agile lifecycle management. The enterprise edition has flexible iteration for Agile processes and a multi-tier requirements definition. The Rally platform also integrates with popular open source and commercial development tools.
MicroFocus (Borland Division) - StarTeam
Borland software is known for its flexibility and customizable structure. Their open ALM solution allows the use of any combination of lifecycle tools and supports established processes such as waterfall, Agile, RUP or custom. StarTeam is Borland's flagship change and configuration management tool. StarTeam's remote caching over the Web provides good performance for centralized and geographically distributed development teams.