Application Lifecycle Management vs. Software Development Life Cycle

Instructor: Lyna Griffin

Lyna has tutored undergraduate Information Management Systems and Database Development. She has a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters degree in Information Technology.

In this lesson, we will be examining the definition of both Application Lifecycle Development and the Software Development Life Cycle. We will examine the activities that are entailed in both processes and explain the differences.


Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is defined as the processes or stages involved in the creation of a new information system or the modification of an existing system, and the various methodologies used in the process. In other words, it is all the activities involved in the development of the software, the processes involved in taking it from idea to reality (actual software).

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), on the other hand, is the continuous process involved in the management of an application from its inception as an idea through to its management and end of life. It also includes the tracking of modifications and documentation throughout its use.

In order to understand the differences between the two concepts, one must examine the processes from idea through to the development of the idea into an application or software, then to its implementation and end of life. SDLC and ALM are two concepts which are not completely independent. Technically they entail a certain span of the different stages of an application between its inception to its end of life. In reality, SDLC is a subset of ALM.

Application Management and Software Life Cycle

This is a graphic representation of the stages in the life of an application or software.


Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

The SDLC, as we said earlier, is the process involved in taking an idea from concept to implementation. From the illustration, we can see that this process entails examining the details of the case development document and breaking it down into different project goals that meet the system requirements. The actual design of the system commences where the function, processes, and operations comprising the application are developed. This design stage details the logic and functional diagrams, tables, rules, processes, and programming codes. The implementation environment is detailed and testing is done. Personnel are trained and the system is implemented.

System testing and implementation is not the end of this process. The system has to be managed. This may entail a maintenance policy, as well as overall system evaluation to ensure that the goals of the project are met. This process forms part of the operational stage of the application's lifecycle, a distinct process in the ALM. So, here we see an actual overlap of the processes of SDLC and ALM.

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