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Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) can move IT and Business to a position of congruency and shift IT from application thinking to process (and service) thinking and in Business, from service to IT. The gulf between Business and IT exists on a relationship from a time past, when there was little contact between the two parties following a commission from Business to IT for services and/or products.
Before the availability of ALM, the window on the progress of development projects lacked transparency for most managers, right to the point when business took delivery. Whatever visibility the managers had, was gathered from assumptions rather than from objective data.
Sparx Systems attended the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit in National Harbor during May 2016 where Enterprise Architecture was reviewed as a “catalyst for Digital Tranformation.” and two “big” challenges were identified, as the transformation moves forward. These were, managing the connections within complex ecosystems of communications, partners, platforms, services and technologies and working with New Development methodologies such as Agile, DevOps and Continuous Delivery.
ALM makes IT development visible to upper management and reinforces the requirements of Business to demonstrate Governance, Risk Management and Compliance. On a competitive level it assists in the reduction of development costs, increases innovation and effectively supports change management. As a business process for the management of end to end software development ALM promises benefits in terms of increased project success rates, improved quality of deliverables and reduced development timescales.
Between IT and Business, ALM creates and supports a bridge which embodies a set of processes and methods, including software development, operations, and services, to enhance communication and collaboration between departments. It also aligns the business, development and operations capabilities of the organization, by providing the ability to integrate different tools used and the activities performed within each.
While this establishes a culture of more frequent software builds, tests and releases, the pressure to manage application delivery is growing ,as is the complexity. The need to co-ordinate and automate the process of delivering these projects, with collaborative planning and reporting activities has become critical. Sparx Systems recognises that this requirement makes ALM processes essential to the delivery of worlds best development practices.
"DevOps is a culture that supports improvements
in the software development lifecycle through
automation, best practice and collaboration."
Tight coupling of the stages of the application lifecycle is a key to increasing productivity in application development and establishing traceability and accountability across multiple processes, locations and tool types, in the stages of development and delivery. This completeness of functionality leads to increased quality, reduces time to market and promotes a culture of business agility. By coordinating activity and facilitating communication, ALM provides real time transparency and traceability, proactive change management and error mitigation.
We hear a lot about cultural change in the discussions about DevOps. We also hear a lot about people. Not so much about enabling technology. There is an accepted notion that DevOps is about drawing together people in DEVelopment and people in OPerations with the goal of shortening delivery time through the elimination of constraints that naturally exist between functional silos.
DevOps is a culture that supports improvements in the software development lifecycle through automation, best practice and collaboration. DevOps is about changing culture and the responsibility for this lies with executive management. To realise a cultural change of automation, best practice and collaboration, is to expose the organisation to DevOps benefits,- agility and productivity. As a key enabler of DevOps, Continuous Delivery supports automation of software development, testing and deployment which are in turn supported by agile planning and execution tools.
In an article by Madison Martin, published recently in SD Times, the impact that DevOps and Agile are having on application lifecycle management (ALM). She states that “Those looking to refine their application life cycle are sifting through the marketplace to find the right tool—one that will give their company agile feature functionality and help them move toward a more continuous way of working. A business can no longer look at just the planning and the building of software; they have to monitor every step in between to make sure the software delivered meets the expectations of the user.”
ALM is accepted as the management of end to end software development and as a business process it promises benefits in terms of increased project success rates, improved quality of deliverables and reduced development timescales. Due to the absence of a common industry standard, ALM deployment is interpreted differently by different stakeholders.
The ALM tools market has seen a continuous evolution over the greater part of the last decade. The change is demonstrated by various benchmarks conducted by Gartner. As recently as July 2016 Gartner has announced their decision to retire “the ADLM MQ and focus on a new MQ for Agile planning and execution tools.” The leading reason cited for this decision is “Shifts in the market due to DevOps.”
Between 2012 and 2013 Gartner blogged that work had begun on the update to the Magic Quadrant for ALM stating “We are subtly shifting our terminology for the market from Application Lifecycle Management to Application Development Lifecycle Management. We feel this is a more accurate depiction of what the tools in this space are focused on.”
In 2008 Gartner published the “Marketscope for Application Lifecycle Management”. This document was described ALM as the practices, processes and tools that aid in the application management lifecycle, specifically the workflow of producing or maintaining an application. This document identified a number of key capabilities that an ALM offering should include. These capabilities have been listed later in this document.
Sparx Systems ALM
In 2015 Sparx Systems was named in the 2015 SD Times 100 for its excellence in the ALM and Development Tools category. When using separate tools in development, there can be a lack of integration between the tools used in each phase of the process and due to the absence of a common industry standard, ALM deployment is interpreted differently by different stakeholders.
However, when using Enterprise Architect, an integration of all the key features of ALM is provided in an “out of the box” tool set, which uses a single repository as the common data source. Within the integrated Enterprise Architect project workspace, you can view and update artifacts with version control, code review, and continuous integration tools. This is the level of functionality that defines Enterprise Architect as a leading ALM solution.
Key ALM Capabilities
- Requirements definition and management
- Change and configuration management
- Agile project planning
- Work item management
- Quality management, including defect management
- Integration to version management
- Support for wikis and collaboration
- Integration to other ALM tools
This is the first of a series of related articles on DevOps and ALM
Digital Transformation is inevitable, are you ready?
Join us in our complimentary workshop to learn what the experts are saying about digital business transformation, and get a personal view of how Next generation Business Architecture and Business Process Management (BPMN, CMMN & DMN) tools and techniques are enabling stakeholders across the organization to bridge gaps and collaborate on the business transformation process
Date: Tuesday August 30
Time: 12pm - 4pm
Venue: The Big Picture, Seattle, WA, USA
In an earlier Sparx Systems White Paper the scenario of a jigsaw puzzle was used as a metaphor for agile, flexible and collaborative response to the creation of a shared vision within an environment that is in a state of high flux. The process of digital transformation will increase the probability of technology failure and change to complex systems will heighten risk exposure. It is essential that organisations mitigate these threats by deploying tools to support the creation of enterprise wide, agile responses. This paper discusses the inter relationship between managing digital transformation, collaborative agile tools and approaches and provides relevant examples of industry responses to digital disruption.
In the puzzle scenario, the mutual dependencies and unpredictability could be analogous to the challenges of digital transformation. Traditional business models will be driven to change by the forces of disruption and current business and IT portfolios will need to meet future demand. The agility with which organisations respond to these changes will be the key factor that governs their future success or their relegation to the beleaguered, whose business models have been made redundant.
These forces of digital disruption actually encourage business agility. The scalability afforded by cloud technology for example enables highly flexible service costs. Gartner predicts that “By 2017, 40 percent of utilities with smart metering solutions will use cloud-based big data analytics to address asset-, commodity-, customer- or revenue-related needs.” In another example the just released “2014 Airlines IT Trends Survey” reveals that “the disruption caused by mobile is so significant that airlines feel that they must invest in mobile services to ensure that they are not left behind.” The survey also reports that “Today, 100% of airlines are investing in the mobile space.” In the retail industry social media on mobile phones is creating a constant feedback loop that informs the development of business agility. As it permits real-time interactions with customers, it also drives growth. The 17th Annual Global CEO Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, reports that technology is already having a far-reaching impact on healthcare delivery and CEOs are already planning ways to take advantage of this trend. 89% plan to improve their ability to innovate; 93% plan to change their technology investments; and 95% are exploring better ways of using and managing big data.
Across industry, successful business evolution over the next decade will be based on the extent to which organisations can harness the forces of disruption and become the disrupting force. Organisational risk profiles will be changed by these forces and the new profiles will inform strategy and decision making. To translate business vision and digital strategy into effective enterprise change will require that leaders possess the ability to visualise, simulate and optimise the target state and ensure that the activities of everyone in the business are co-ordinated.
A systematic approach to the management of change provides an inclusive framework that considers the whole enterprise as well as the needs of different stakeholders. This agile business approach ensures that during the change process lifecycle, priorities are regularly assessed and progress continually monitored. As requirements are identified adjustments are made by managers and their teams, and not left to the end.
Data visualisation enables insights that support faster and more effective decision making while improving communication and bridging the IT – Business divide. To enable agility and insight to support decision making, organisations must also address silos in legacy systems, business, and information.
Enterprise Architect is and remains a technology that is fit for purpose in meeting the challenges of the changing business and IT environment. Visually powerful, it provides a fantastic viewpoint of multiple technologies and organizational units, all working together. Team review, shared data models and model mail are all in-built tools that can improve communication and break down silos, because everyone is using the same data/info/model.
To more effectively manage growing complexity and to stay focused and in control, agile and traditional teams choose Enterprise Architect. Due to very competitive total cost of ownership, large and distributed teams can collaborate more effectively and increase speed and ease, in the design, build, and management of their solutions and processes.
The industry tested traceability features of Enterprise Architect speak directly to shared awareness and clarity on what has been previously achieved. According to Gartner, “An agile, multidimensional approach to architecture is absolutely essential to support continuous development and innovation. Give developers the tools to fail fast, iterate quickly and innovate for business transformation.” The Kanban burndown charts that have been added to Enterprise Architect help to bring project reality into clear focus by showing the work done against the timeline, decision impacts and eliminate fuzziness about time based goals and deadlines.
Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect combines Agile projects with non Agile projects in a single projects portfolio, eliminating the necessity for any additional tools. For further information on tools for digital transformation and the creation of a shared vision within an environment that is in a state of high flux go to: