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Written by Helmut Ortmann
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
According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in 2013, there are almost as many mobile-cellular subscriptions as people in the world and in 2014 the number of mobile phones in use will exceed the number of people on the planet.
The mobile revolution is providing equity of access to education, health, government, banking, environment and business for many sectors of the global community while challenging enterprise business models in every sector. It is a platform that is here to stay and a disruptive influence on business that cannot be ignored.
Mobile devices form the platform that will deliver work models that are very different from the past and facilitate social networking. This force will inform the enterprise architecture that will deliver strategic support for mobile devices owned by employees and provide open, secure environments to allow these devices to connect to enterprise systems including the cloud.
By defining an envisioned future state that can be shared and discussed, enterprise architecture will assist organizations to navigate change in an agile manner while enabling milestones to be achieved within agreed time-frames. A key standard for enterprise architecture is the use of UML for creating design models: http://www.sparxsystems.com.au/platforms/soa.html
Enterprise architecture is about ensuring that an organization has the right integration/alignment between IT and the business (including people, processes, investments, information and technology) in order to better support the business's capabilities and to enable the business to evolve toward a future state, according to Gartner - “It is not just about technology. Enterprise Architecture is the key to driving digital strategy": http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2586115
Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Architecture Tools, released on October 3rd, recognizes Sparx Systems offering to the marketplace for the 4th consecutive year. The Gartner Magic Quadrant reports examine the most influential companies in specific markets, providing readers with the information they need to evaluate providers to meet their own business needs.
Vendors are evaluated on their Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision. This gauges the vendors ability to compete effectively, impact revenue to a positive degree, and deliver solutions to clients that create vendor-client win-win relationships. Areas of analysis include modeling, decision analysis, frameworks and standards, repository / metamodel and usability.
To access the report as a Gartner Client, or purchase a copy visit: http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?doc_cd=247545
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.