Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)

Unify requirements, risk, and test management with Agile engineering capabilities to accelerate delivery of high-quality software.

What is application lifecycle management (ALM)?

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) is the strategic process of managing a software or product lifecycle from initial idea through design, development, testing, deployment, and end of life. ALM enables software engineering teams to efficiently collaborate on projects using proven Agile practices and trusted, up-to-date information. It is a foundational discipline for successful products, teams, and companies.

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Why is ALM important?

Application lifecycle management helps teams manage the inherent complexity of modern software development. Today, product value is increasingly delivered through software. For example, the average automobile is composed of microprocessors running over 100 million lines of code. ALM connects people, processes, and tools to align teams around common goals, speed software delivery, and simplify regulatory compliance.

The benefits of application lifecycle management

Increased Visibility

Provide global, transparent access to the latest requirements, risk, and test data, ensuring teams are building the right software correctly.

Provide global, transparent access to the latest requirements, risk, and test data, ensuring teams are building the right software correctly.

Enhanced Compliance

Control and monitor the use of mature processes across the lifecycle. End-to-end traceability simplifies compliance with safety-critical regulations, guidelines, and quality standards.

Control and monitor the use of mature processes across the lifecycle. End-to-end traceability simplifies compliance with safety-critical regulations, guidelines, and quality standards.

Faster Deployment

Speed software delivery with Agile practices that streamline requirements, risk, and test management. Align development and operations teams using common, repeatable processes.

Speed software delivery with Agile practices that streamline requirements, risk, and test management. Align development and operations teams using common, repeatable processes.

Higher-Quality Products

Deliver products with confidence. ALM integrates quality management throughout the product lifecycle to improve product quality, safety, and reliability.

Deliver products with confidence. ALM integrates quality management throughout the product lifecycle to improve product quality, safety, and reliability.

Lower Development Costs

Reduce the cost of quality software by automating individual and team tasks, enabling reuse, enhancing focus, taming complexity, and minimizing rework.

Reduce the cost of quality software by automating individual and team tasks, enabling reuse, enhancing focus, taming complexity, and minimizing rework.

Key areas of ALM

Governance

Establish a transparent, well-documented governance framework for software development. ALM enables organizations to establish transparent processes for decision-making and improve oversight and accountability of projects and software systems.

Application Development

Navigate the inherent complexity of modern, Agile software development. Today's software engineers are vastly more productive than their predecessors of even a few years ago. This remarkable efficiency is delivered in the context of added complexity. By providing a single source of truth and end-to-end traceability for software development, covering requirements management, test management and project management, ALM makes modern software development possible.

Maintenance

It's estimated that maintenance consumes 40-70% of the costs of the software lifecycle. Ongoing software maintenance is necessary to fix errors, maintain competitive parity, and respond to evolving customer needs. Application lifecycle management enables teams to efficiently track and manage changes and scheduled product releases over the lifetime of the product, enabling organizations to fulfill the promise of their product long after initial deployment.

Six stages of application lifecycle management (ALM)

ALM stages vary from organization to organization, but typically include the following:

Requirements Definition

Stakeholders analyze the problem and define the high-level scope of the solution. Over many iterations, requirements are refined and detailed.

Design

Software architects and design engineers iteratively define the structure of the solution, identifying solution components, behavior, and relationships.

Software Development

Software engineering teams composed of analysts, designers, developers, testers, and leaders work collaboratively to develop successive versions of the software.

Testing and Quality Assurance

Everyone is responsible for quality. QA and risk management are part of every iteration, using tests that ensure the delivered software meets the original needs.

Deployment

This phase covers the tasks of preparing, installing, and operationalizing software deliveries.

Maintenance

Once released, support teams capture enhancements requests and defects. New releases provide an opportunity to fix errors and make software updates.

Key ALM capabilities

Excellence in application lifecycle management requires mastery of the following:

Requirements Management: Gather market insights and business needs to direct software engineering and align team members around a common vision. Software Development: Collaborate and automate to rapidly build quality software. Quality Assurance and Testing: Validate and verify results at each lifecycle stage to improve outcomes and reduce cost of quality. Agile Project Management—Adopt software engineering best practices that prioritize flexibility, collaboration, and continuous improvement.
DevOps: Create efficient, repeatable processes for successfully deploying and operating software. Plan and monitor software releases. Risk Management: Identify, analyze, and mitigate internal and external threats by focusing on the most important subjects. Software Design—Collaborate across disciplines to design innovative, quality software. Collaboration—Provide seamless, transparent access to the latest project information and enable remote and parallel workstreams.
Regulatory Compliance—Adhere to regulatory standards for software development governance. Analytics—Gain insights into software quality, usage, and team velocity to continuously improve software engineering process and predictability. Source Code Management—Integrate with code editing tools to track and manage changes and easily associate source code to requirements, risks, and test data.

Codebeamer

PTC Modeler

PTC RV&S

pure::variants

Windchill PLM software

Codebeamer Codebeamer simplifies product and software engineering at scale, unifies requirements, risk, and test management with Agile, and builds on OSLC for PTC digital thread integration. PTC Modeler PTC Modeler integrates with the PTC engineering digital thread, applying and extending OSLC for high-quality models that automatically generate and synchronize source code. PTC RV&S PTC RV&S offers built-in software change and configuration management, and OSLC standard-based integration with the PTC engineering digital thread. pure::variants pure::variants enables systematic reuse of assets across entire product portfolios, optimizing the development process, reducing time to market, and improving product quality. Windchill PLM software Realize value quickly with standardized, out-of-the-box functionality across a comprehensive portfolio of core PDM and advanced PLM applications.

ALM technologies

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE)

MBSE is a methodology that uses models to design, analyze, and manage complex systems throughout their lifecycle.

Product Line Engineering (PLE)

PLE helps to develop product variants efficiently. It streamlines the development process, reduces time –to market, and improves product quality.

Application lifecycle management case studies

 

Veoneer
Medtronic
LeddarTech
cs-navya-1550x827

Veoneer improves automotive safety

Find out how Veoneer, a silent partner behind the world’s most advanced vehicles, is using Codebeamer to improve automotive safety.

Read Their Story

Medtronic implementing Agile development

Learn how this global medtech leader was able to scale Agile in their organization while maintaining compliance with medical regulations.

Read Their Story

Laser focus on ISO 26262-ready ALM

Find out why LeddarTech chose Codebeamer to support the delivery of cutting-edge environmental sensing solutions for autonomous vehicles.

Read Their Story

Developing the future’s autonomous driving systems

Navya was the world’s first company to release a commercially available self-driving shuttle. Find out how they modernized their development toolset.

Read Their Story

The future of ALM

Software engineers are applying Agile techniques to automatically generate code and utilize reusable, off-the-shelf components, saving time and costs. AI-assisted engineering is poised to unleash the next wave of product development efficiency. Even as software engineering evolves, ALM capabilities will always be required, as it enables fundamental principles of transparency, governance, and collaboration.

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Frequently asked questions

What is ALM used for?

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) is a discipline that is applicable to any software product or project that requires the orchestration of people, tools, and processes. ALM supports the development of software, components, or libraries, and much more.

How does ALM support regulated industries?

Regulated industries, including aerospace and defense, medical and pharmaceutical, and transportation and automotive, impose specialized requirements for building safety-critical products. These requirements govern both the safety and quality of the end products, as well as the rigor and auditability of the software development process itself. Because it provides a comprehensive governance framework, ALM excels at supporting software development in regulated industries. Specialized ALM capabilities can support IEC 82304-1, IEC 62304, ISO 14971, FDA 21 CFR Parts 11 & 820, ISO 26262, ISO 13485, Automotive SPICE, CMMI, and other standards and regulations.

What is the difference between ALM and PLM software?

ALM and PLM software work together to enable digital transformation. ALM excels at managing software requirements, test assets, and software releases throughout the software lifecycle. PLM excels at managing products, design documents, product platforms, and variants. Together, ALM and PLM empower organizations to manage their complete product portfolio.

What software development processes does ALM support?

Application Lifecycle Management as a discipline is process-agnostic and can be used to implement any software development process. Specific ALM tools, however, may limit your choice of process. That's why it's important to select an ALM platform that supports and helps automate your preferred way of working, whether it's Scrum, SAFe, V-Model, or another Agile or hybrid process.

What is the difference between SDLC and ALM?

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) is the governance of software development throughout its lifecycle, whereas software development lifecycle (SDLC) is more precisely the initial development phase of the software itself, or the process used to define and execute a software build and implementation. While SDLC focuses on the technical aspects of development, ALM covers all activities from planning to retirement. SDLC is under the larger ALM canopy.

What is the difference between ALM and DevOps?

ALM encompasses the entire lifecycle from inception through retirement, including requirements management, design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance, to provide a centralized platform for managing these processes and enable collaboration among different teams and stakeholders. DevOps is a software delivery approach to eliminate barriers between existing development and operations teams that evolved from agile practices requiring more harmony between development and operations teams. DevOps practices emphasize continuous integration and delivery, automation of infrastructure, and monitoring with the goal of increasing software delivery speed, reliability, and quality.

Is ALM only for waterfall teams?

While ALM methodologies were originally developed to support traditional waterfall development processes, they are adaptable to various development methodologies, including agile, iterative, and hybrid approaches. Codebeamer is custom-built to help teams go agile. Teams that prefer waterfall can continue to use that methodology, or if they seek to mix both methodologies on their road to agile adoption, they can leverage the agile-waterfall hybrid features in Codebeamer. ALM’s primary goal is to provide a centralized platform for managing the entire lifecycle of an application, regardless of the specific development methodology being used.

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