Always interesting what the different organizations say about a topic.
The coordination of development life-cycle activities, including requirements, modeling, development, build, and testing, through:
- enforcement of processes that span these activities;
- management of relationships between development artifacts used or produced by these activities; and
- reporting on progress of the development effort as a whole.
Source: The Changing Face of Application Life-cycle Management - Forrester August 2006
Application lifecycle management (ALM) regards the process of delivering software as a continuously repeating cycle of inter-related steps: definition, design, development, testing, deployment and management. Each of these steps needs to be carefully monitored and controlled.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) aligns the three capabilities of the organization: Business, Development and Operations by providing integration between the various tools used and activities performed within each of these capabilities.
Aligning these three capabilities results in applications that meet business demands and that are better manageable.
The Three pillars of ALM
- Process automation
- Reporting and analytics
Manual processes can be more efficient and effective through tool integration
Source: Application Lifecycle Management and Visual Studio Team System WorkShop [no link]
and don't forget Borland...
Borland believes every CIO and IT organization deserve the infrastructure that empowers them to advance their software delivery process by making it measurable, predictable and improvable, just like any other critical business process. And, we fight for the rights of our customers who are passionate about driving the next generation of software productivity on their terms.
Source: Open Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Vision
What can we learn from these definitions?
A wide variety in scope. ITIL is focused on the operational side of ALM, the Wiki and Forrester descriptions are more focused on the Software Development Lifecycle [SDLC] and Microsoft takes a bigger scope with business, development and operations, although the tooling and the assessment are focused on SDLC. Borland is also talking about a wider scope, when you look at the RUP like model. But the main pro is their focus on "many processes and many tools" so it should fit more then one environment.
Beside this difference in scope, everybody agrees on terms like: measurable, predictable, traceable, manageable, monitored etc etc... smells like "in control" ;-)
Anyway, I use this image when I define ALM and for sure it's about "in control" but it's even more about communication..! the people, helping them to communicate in a seamless manner.