What is Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)? - Definition & Tools

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 learn about Application Lifecycle Management. We will explain the need and use of the tools which facilitate this management process.

What is Application Life Cycle Management?

Application Life Cycle Management is defined as the monitoring and management of an application from its concept or idea stage right through its implementation and eventual retirement. This process is inclusive of the application's system development life cycle. It, therefore, constitutes concept development, requirements management, integration and progress management, and application release. It blends the tasks of both the application developer and the system's operational team.

ALM Tools

Various tools have been developed to facilitate the application lifecycle management process. The tools employed have the main objective of properly documenting and tracking all changes made throughout the application's development process until it is retired. When we critically examine ALM tools we observe that most include some aspects of system development life cycles and operational activities.

There is the option of employing many tools at a time. This may be good because the organization ensures its needs are met in a tailored manner. On the other hand, this may pose serious integration costs and problems. Opting for one comprehensive tool may be a matter of preference, depending on the organization. You can compare it to buying a computer. You can either buy individual parts from your favorite vendors and risk having compatibility issues while trying to make them work together or buy a computer that is custom built with everything tailored to your needs. It's a personal preference.

Selecting the Right ALM Tool

New methodologies, languages, and environments are developed and implemented daily which means you have an immense pool of tools available out there from which to make a choice. In our computer illustration, we noted that there are many brands out there to choose from, but your needs, finances, and the future of your work help you choose the computer that you need. This is no different at the organizational level in ALM tools selection.

Test Management

This is one of the most important criteria when choosing an ALM tool. Organizations need to ensure the tool has sufficient testing modules that cover all aspects of the application's activities. An analysis of the number of planned testing schedules, actual testing, number of successes, and the number of testing failures must be available. Details of failures are passed back to the author for modifications and clarifications. Test management ensures service compliance of the application as well as assesses processes while highlighting quality improvements.

Simulation

The worst nightmare for any application developer is for unexpected or unforeseen errors or disruptions to occur once an application goes live. One of the most invaluable effective tools in the technology industry used to minimize system errors is the use of simulators. The actual test of any application involves the simulation of every conceivable action by the end-user which is a test of its functionality. The second category entails testing the application's performance under maximum load. This is simulating the effect of hundreds and thousands of concurrent users and examining how the system behaves and assessing its overall performance.

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