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ALM Rules of Engagement

If you've been reading the pages of Redmond Developer News lately, you know that application lifecycle management (ALM) is an increasingly active arena for solutions providers. Borland famously bet the farm on ALM when it decided to shift away from the developer tools business in 2006. More recently, software configuration management (SCM) vendor CollabNet has extended its Subversion product to incorporate ALM features.

But adopting ALM takes a lot more than simply deploying tools. After all, enabling a successful ALM strategy means tapping into existing software development and business processes, while doing it in a way that does not prove prohibitively rigid or difficult.

It's a tricky balancing act that Macehiter Ward-Dutton Principal Analyst Bola Rotibi says needs to be well thought-out. For those embarking on an ALM initiative, Rotibi offered some key "rules of engagement." Her list includes:

  • Get professional help and support from the outset.
  • Work from a coherent strategy and vision.
  • Invest in mature tools and platforms that offer modular implementation (and licensing) with strong usability features.
  • Develop a small and steady modular roadmap.
  • Establish a repository and configuration management strategy.
  • Define clearly existing processes and goals.
  • Evaluate potential failure points and strengths.
  • Invest in education and training for the IT delivery team and business heads.
  • Implement a measurement, QM and risk-mitigation framework.
  • Build support for proactive and reactive processes.
  • Start off small and build out.

Are you embarking on an ALM initiative, and if so, what challenges have you encountered in the effort? E-mail me at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 08/26/2008 at 1:15 PM

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