Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) is a set of activities needed to keep an application functioning effectively. ALM oversees the specification, design, development, testing, deployment, support, and retirement stages of the software.
ALM allows the application to be delivered on time and ensures its highly effective operation throughout the entire lifecycle. While it’s possible to minimize ALM and create excellent software anyway, this approach increases the chances of app vulnerability, security breaches, and downtime.
Let’s take a closer look at the top benefits of application lifecycle management.
What is Application Lifecycle Management?
ALM is a combination of experts, specific tools, and processes that monitor, maintain, and manage the lifecycle of software from planning to end of life.
ALM has six key stages:
1. Evaluating and Defining Requirements
The initial stage of application lifecycle management begins when the client defines what they expect from the application. The requirements need to be clarified and documented in order to proceed to the design stage of the lifecycle.
These requirements may include different types of information, from the company’s business goals and compliance conditions to specific tasks the app should take care of.
The development team breaks the requirements down into sub-requirements or creates a hierarchical structure to make the upcoming development process easier and more transparent.
2. Product Design and Development
With all the requirements in mind, the application development team takes the idea and creates a design that later becomes a working application. Depending on the methodology the team uses, it takes a specific approach to turn requirements into a robust development plan.
During the design and development stage, both client and development teams work together to make sure the product addresses all the needs without becoming too bulky or expensive to create and manage.
Close collaboration ensures customer satisfaction, low learning curve, high team productivity, and simple project management in the future.
3. Testing and QA
Instead of being a separate stage, testing and QA (Quality Assurance) often become a part of the development phase of the software lifecycle management. Before the product is formally released, it has to be tested by a team of experts, who don’t just ensure its quality but provide valuable feedback for further management needs.
At the testing phase, testers and QA teams confirm that the app fulfills all the requirements that were discussed during the initial stage of application lifecycle management. They also check if the product meets the discussed expectations.
During this stage, the software testing team performs integration testing, uncovers bugs, and reports all the issues to the development team.
Once the testing team completes its work, and all the uncovered issues are addressed, the developer can release the product to the client. The deployment process can vary depending on the type of app.
App type dictates the deployment environment. For example, if you are developing a web app, it has to be tested through the internet without causing any significant downtime for the client.
5. Product Maintenance
Once the app is deployed, the developer starts continuously monitoring and maintaining the product. This includes regular updates and bug fixing. Some apps may not need any attention for months while others may require maintenance within weeks.
The developer provides product support and maintenance throughout the app’s lifecycle. Depending on the agreement, such maintenance may not be free for the end-user.
At some point, the developer and the client may decide that it is no longer cost-effective to continue supporting the product. This could happen if the app stops fulfilling the growing needs of the company or can’t be integrated with the newest technologies.
When this happens, the legacy app can be retired. In some cases, the developer may start creating a new version of the product. In others, they may offer modernization options. In rare cases, the product can be retired completely, after which teams start working on an entirely new app.
Benefits of Application Lifecycle Management
Top-notch ALM comes with a variety of benefits. They include:
Preparation, Organization, and Planning
Application life cycle management begins at the early stages of app development planning. This can be highly beneficial for both the client and the software development team. With ALM, you have a good understanding of the project parameters, chosen methodologies, and development costs.
Meanwhile, the team of developers can do proper resource planning, designate responsible parties, and choose the necessary tools.
ALM can be crucial to the planning phase since all the steps you take at this point affect the outcome of the development project. It can also help you collect important information that improves your software operation in the future.
Staying In Line with the Development Project Budget
Software development projects often require sizable budgets. While minor adjustments during the development and testing phases are usually expected, serious changes in pricing could turn into a problem for both the client and the developer.
With proper application lifecycle planning, it’s possible to improve budget planning and avoid unexpected expenses. All team members can rely on the management process to ensure they stay in line with the budget.
ALM also provides sufficient data to make pricing adjustments at the initial planning stage. This can help you avoid complications and budget conflicts during the software development process, testing, maintenance, and beyond.
With a consistent approach to software lifecycle management, all teams involved in application development, testing, and deployment have a better understanding of the process.
ALM integrates people and processes to create the most desirable outcome by providing valuable data to the decision-makers in the company.
Both developers and clients understand the best way to approach the application development process to ensure that the final product meets all the initial requirements and business needs.
Since the software development lifecycle requires close collaboration of numerous teams, the initial development process may take a while. Application lifecycle management helps all the involved specialists come together to ensure smooth software application development, testing, deployment, and maintenance processes.
With ALM, the lack of communication is no longer an issue. All project managers understand exactly what’s expected of them and work toward achieving the same goal. This can be especially useful when you need to get multiple remote teams on the same page.
All parts of the project, from the initial design to the deployment stage, have to have a specific timeline. Many companies refuse new product development simply because they are afraid of the time it takes to complete it.
ALM allows you to keep track of the process, monitor the status of the developer productivity, consider the effectiveness of development tools, and much more. This allows all teams to avoid mistakes, find loopholes quicker, and eventually finish the project on a strict deadline.
Whatever project you are working on, customer satisfaction always takes center stage. With ALM, it’s possible to speed up the process, improve collaboration, enhance productivity, and achieve stellar quality.
All of the above leads to high customer and employee satisfaction rates as well as excellent reputation levels.
High-quality application lifecycle management is an integral part of any software development, testing, deployment, and maintenance process. Without ALM tools, it’s hard to achieve top-notch results and meet client expectations.
With ALM, both developers and clients can enjoy a productive environment, effective collaboration, and top outcomes.