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Snapshot of Application Lifecycle Management

As part of my ongoing series to drill down into specific areas of software testing, I thought I would discuss the concept of application lifecycle management. 

Application lifecycle management (ALM) refers to the organizational integration, coordination and management of all steps in the software development process, and it is a key philosophy of ISEB Foundation / ISTQB Foundation teachings. The steps include definition, design, development, deployment, integration and management, and each phase is subject to standardized monitoring and defect-checking tactics.   

Although every organization has specific ALM solutions, there are many commonalities.  One of the key elements of ALM is process standardization.  Because each step in the process utilizes standard technology, measurement criteria, and communication channels, organizational efficiencies are achieved.  The result is that a larger percentage of projects will be on-time and on-budget.

Another generic aspect of ALM is ease of installation.  Installers can be used to efficiently implement software for various internal and external users.  This allows organizations to retain complete management and control over this aspect of software delivery.

Another commonality is to regularly monitor and enhance the application by incorporating user feedback.  This allows a dedicated IT team to debug and upgrade software programs post-deployment, and then simply re-deploy the software in the form of an update on the user’s desktop.  This provides the flexibility needed to minimize customer interruption, as they only need to accept the update to proceed.   

So that’s pretty much it.  As you can see, ALM is a software delivery model that is generic enough to be used in a wide range of situations.  ALM is beneficial to organizations because it promotes efficiency, collaboration, innovation, enhanced resource utilization, and better product quality.  

If your company is not currently using a form of ALM, I recommend executing a study to research the different ALM approaches used in your industry, and then picking the one that fits best with your organizational idiosyncrasies.

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