Justify Your Approach to Structuring Your ALM Environment

Teams want an open and integrated application lifecycle management (ALM) environment. Teams are now empowered to adopt the tools they need to address complexities and frequent changes while ensuring end-to-end artifact traceability. ALM vendors are positioning their products as open solutions with out-of-the-box integrations and marketplaces to allow teams to create a tightly integrated and flexible tool environment. However, given the wide landscape of delivery tools out there and preferential treatment some vendors give to each other, creating an integrated ALM environment with you preferred choice of tools may not be possible through your current vendors. ALM integration hubs provide out-of-the-box connections when product delivery tools do not.

As much as ALM vendors would like to advertise, there is no one vendor who offers comprehensive coverage for each software development lifecycle (SDLC) stage so every vendor relies on its integration capabilities to fill those gaps. Get a firm understanding of what you require from your ALM tools so that you can make an inform decision whether a comprehensive solution (e.g. Microsoft) or a functionally specific platform (e.g. Atlassian) is good enough to meet your needs.See our Choose the Right ALM Solutions to Manage Product Delivery note for more information.

It is common to see organizations adopt a certain ALM platform and having a mixed bag of third-party, proprietary, and open source tools that plug into this platform to enable end-to-end traceability and holistic visibility of release progress. However, you will have to integrate the various tools together and address each vendor separately which can be difficult to manage. The benefit is that it can give you the opportunity to be flexible to changing environments, empower your teams to select their own tools, and select specific tools that fit specific development needs rather than obtaining a comprehensive suite from a single vendor which may be overkill.

Much like any comprehensive development suite like Microsoft and IBM, you will be paying for features that you may or may not need. However, all of the features you do need come out of the box with these suites. Having a fragmented tooling environment gives you the opportunity to select specific tools to meet specific capabilities and allows you to focus your spending on only the tools that you need. However, as your development needs expand, the management of your ALM environment may become expensive which can require you to acquire hubs like Tasktop, OpsHub, and Kovair to manage the integration among your tools if the out-of-the-box plugins and customizable REST APIs are not provided by your current vendors.

Recommendations

  1. Holistically review your SDLC to identify what you need to deliver your products and changes from intake to deployment and maintenance. View your SDLC from people, process, and technology perspectives. See Info-Tech’s Modernize Your SDLC.
  2. Select and implement your ALM solutions. Review the ALM SoftwareReviews Category Reports to assist in your vendor selection and our Implement a Proactive and Consistent Vendor Selection Process blueprint for more information about procurement best practices (including RFP templates).
  3. Select the tools that are needed to supplement the gaps of your selected ALM solutions. Decide how to integrate your tools together whether that be using the integration features provided by your ALM solutions or using an ALM integration hub.

Bottom Line

ALM solutions are leveraged as platforms to centrally enforce and monitor delivery processes and standards. Vendors are positioning themselves as open platforms by allowing integration with other delivery tools and ALM solutions with out-of-the-box plugins and REST APIs. However, the wide landscape of delivery tools and restricted vendor partnership agreements may make the integration of some tools difficult with vendor-provided integration features. ALM integration hubs help address these integration gaps.


Want to Know More?

Modernize Your SDLC

ALM SoftwareReviews Category Reports

Choose the Right ALM Solutions to Manage Product Delivery