APPLICATION LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT SERVICES
Application lifecycle management (ALM) is a comprehensive set of app support services, starting from designing and developing and ending with testing and maintenance. By implementing an effective ALM process, we are improving software quality, maximizing developer productivity, and increasing the software ROI.
ALM allows software development companies to streamline the development process, improve customer support, and ensure 100% client satisfaction. With a variety of ALM tools in their hands, a team of developers can achieve desirable results in record time.
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APPLICATION LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT SERVICES
Any new custom software project can be fraught with risk due to a variety of factors, like misunderstanding the purpose of the project or bad programming. As our team works to provide our customers with the best possible final product for their money, our processes have evolved as well.
One particular process that we have been actively working to implement and improve upon here at Entrance is Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). Microsoft defines application lifecycle management services as a set of practices and tools that result in “greater waste reduction, faster cycle times, and greater business agility.”
In practice, that means that you get better software in less time.
BUILDING SOFTWARE TO REAL REQUIREMENTS
Many of our ALM practices and tools tie back to our commitment to agile development. For any new project, we focus on user stories as the Application Lifecycle Management primary method for understanding the business value behind a new custom software project. We try not to get too focused on specific requirements gathering, however.
As one developer highlighted in a blog about agile requirements gathering, “The reality is that the requirements document is usually insufficient, regardless of how much effort goes into it, the requirements change anyway, and the developers eventually end up going directly to their stakeholders for information.”
To bring it back to ALM, we are rolling out a new tool, Team Foundation Services (TFS), for our clients that uses Application Lifecycle Management practices to put them in the driver’s seat for the final product of their software. Clients use this tool to log requirements, add acceptance criteria (i.e. what done means for them), and prioritize backlog items, all in an easy-to-use interface.
A COMMON UNDERSTANDING
On our end, we use this requirement and acceptance criteria as the basis for development and testing. This system closes the feedback loop between the developer and the client, which minimizes the opportunity for misunderstanding.
In addition, the client has a lot of visibility into what is happening with their custom software across the entire life cycle. This provides a “window into the machine,” so that there is never any question about how the development process works.
Another advantage to using a tool like TFS is that as a result of being involved with the entire process, our clients are able to be more realistic about their desires. Instead of blue sky ideas that don’t fit the business need, we can work together as a team to develop pragmatic solutions.
TESTING TO REQUIREMENTS
One particular benefit to working with a company that has well developed Application Lifecycle Management processes is when it comes to testing. TFS can create automated tests that quickly check that the code that has been written matches requirements. The system can also easily tie tests to requirements so that everyone involved knows that the software is headed in the right direction.
In addition, as code is reviewed, we work in teams of two, with one person writing code, and one person performing quality assurance. While this may seem like double the resources to perform one job, this avoids fatigue that might result in errors. In addition, the job actually gets completed faster with two people working in collaboration.
WORTH THE TIME FOR GREAT CUSTOM SOFTWARE
Becoming involved with your software project on the daily and weekly level that TFS requires may seem like a big investment of your time. This involvement protects your investment in the custom application because you are never at a remove from the process.
We believe you won’t regret this investment. Our clients who have made the switch say they would never go back!
WHY APPLICATION LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT IS IMPORTANT
Application lifecycle management has become an integral part of successful app building and support. The main benefits of ALM for business purposes include:
ALM allows us to create an organized plan for the program according to your company’s requirements. We have the opportunity to define your business needs and come up with the most effective solution.
ALM tools allow development teams to plan, manage and track the app development lifecycle. From design to maintenance, these tools ensure the speed and quality of the software development project.
Tools focus on all aspects of software and app development in order to increase productivity. They are highly useful for streamlining transparency in the multi-team environment
ALM tools assist with project management from scratch. Developers find the best tools for different requirements, be it a traditional waterfall project or a complex agile development approach.
When several teams are working on a development project, ALM is a must-have. Otherwise, the absence of clear and transparent collaboration could lead to unexpected errors. ALM tools allow multiple teams to be involved in the process simultaneously.
Numerous developers, coders, and designers can work together in real-time without losing track of the project’s main requirements and development goals.
ALM tools don’t just simplify and improve the development process, they also contribute to the speed of the project. Since app development is rarely fast, the majority of clients worry about the efficiency of the time-consuming process.
When our team members use ALM tools, they speed up the development procedure and make sure the results are up to the quality standards.
When it comes to developing a large app that requires multiple team players, productivity generally goes down. The transparency of every development step coupled with smooth communications makes ALM the driver behind the team’s productivity.
Better and Faster Testing
ALM tools give our developers an end-to-end application development and testing platform. Testing is an integral part of the successful development process that requires high-quality tools and automation options.
With ALM, testing becomes faster, more reliable, and less strenuous for the development team. All of that contributes to the project’s speed and quality.
Higher Client Satisfaction
When a client initiates a project, they expect seamless maintenance and support options. With ALM, our development team can do just that. ALM tools integrate, adapt, and support the right apps. Meanwhile, faster deployment leads to higher customer satisfaction.
OUR APPLICATION LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT PROCESS
When you partner with Entrance, you work with a team of developers that implement the most comprehensive ALM strategies. The number of tools and steps we use depends on the complexity of the project and the client’s requirements. In general, our application lifecycle management process looks like this:
Custom App Consulting
While many companies choose to outsource custom app development, only a few are satisfied with the abilities of their custom software development consultants. At Entrance, we begin the application lifecycle management process by implementing our “Agile Plus” custom app development consulting approach.
It combines top aspects of Agile development and traditional waterfall development methodology. The development and consulting processes are complemented by the special integration techniques that allow us to incorporate your proprietary business process into your new intellectual property.
Proprietary Development Phases
To ensure top-notch results for its clients, Entrance uses a custom-tailored version of Microsoft Solution Framework (MSF). It allows us to manage both agile and waterfall app development projects.
The phases are:
- Envision – during this phase, we bring together the project team and develop one vision. At the end of this phase, all team members have a unified understanding of the upcoming process. The result is a scope document.
- Plan – during this phase, our specialists come up with specifications, designs, work plans, cost estimates, and a schedule for the project. We work closely together with your team to ensure full understanding and satisfaction.
- Build – this is the development phase that includes coding and documentation according to the work plan and specifications.
- Stabilize – during this phase, our specialists test the app by releasing it to the control group to gather feedback and reviews.
- Deploy – during this phase, our developers deploy the project and stabilize the deployment process. They also receive final approval from the client.
These phases look different for agile and waterfall projects. However, their essence and effectiveness stay the same.
Once the app is ready, our development team begins maintenance. During this stage, we release, configure, and monitor the software. Our experts look for bugs and come up with effective solutions.
Besides monitoring the app and fixing bugs, we also measure the software performance and security. This stage begins once the app is deployed and ends when the app reaches the end of its lifecycle.
High-quality ALM allows us to ensure 100% customer satisfaction, excellent app performance, and effective operations. Since it helps streamline the development process, ALM also improves the productivity and satisfaction of our employees.