What is Application Lifecycle Management?
Application lifecycle management (ALM) refers to the creation and maintenance of a software application, encompassing the people, tools, and processes that manage the life cycle of an application from its conception to the end of its life. ALM is also known as integrated application lifecycle management, as it involves an interdisciplinary team of software experts such as developers, analysts, testers, and change managers, working together throughout the application life cycle1. ALM improves on traditional software development through integration, which provides clear project direction, increases visibility across teams, and boosts development speed and quality. ALM tools include:
Project management. The majority of ALM tools are project management tools. With these tools you can view the project during all ALM phases, view detailed tasks, and can utilize features for project planning and estimation.
Source code management. Many ALM tools provide options for developers to track code changes and collaborate on the development.
Requirement management. ALM tools act as repositories for application user requirements, such as application requirements for user access that have the technical requirement of password encryption.
Test management. Analysts write and maintain software tests for continual integration with ALM tools, which allow every application code change to be automatically tested, which improves quality assurance.
The stages of ALM:
- Gathering application requirements. Initially, stakeholders define what is required from the application and analyze how the application will support their goals and compliance requirements. This stage often involves writing use cases about how different users will interact with the application.
- Application development. Various teams work together in the application development phase to convert the requirements into a working application. This phase may involve project managers estimating time and costs, developers identifying design and programming tasks, quality analysts scheduling progress and quality checks, and development and testing teams planning timelines for software projects.
- Application testing. At this stage, quality analysts assess the application to verify it meets requirements.
- Application deployment. In the deployment stage, developers release the application to end users and plans are made for how software changes will be deployed over time.
- Application maintenance. Support and development teams work together in the maintenance stage to resolve bugs, plan updates, and make product improvements. The teams incorporate user feedback to release new features that will serve their end users. Over time, the support and development teams may decide that technology has progressed to the point where a new modern application should be created to replace the current one.
1 AWS, 2023, “What is ALM (Application Lifecycle Management)?”