Application lifecycle management tools: A buyer's guide to ALM software
A collection of articles that takes you from defining technology needs to purchasing options
Atlassian's application lifecycle management (ALM) software suite is an on-premises or software as a service (SaaS) project management system running on Windows and Linux and using Java exclusively. Primarily tailored to development teams, the suite is adaptable to small-scale projects like startups as well as major corporate enterprises. Most Atlassian customers are Agile shops. The Atlassian suite of ALM software is composed of six individual products, sold separately, all of which integrate with one another.
JIRA, the suite's task and project management engine, lets users track issues or tasks through a predefined workflow. Tasks can be organized by project, allowing an organization to transparently track issues within projects. The platform features both native workflow options and the tools to customize workflows based on users' individual needs. Several plug-ins can be integrated with JIRA, including JIRA Agile and JIRA Portfolio. Its most recent update, version 6.4, optimizes performance for granular tracing and UI usability. Older versions of JIRA are available for download in Atlassian's archive. Also available as an add-on, JIRA Service Desk is a ticket-based system that allows for a single point of contact to resolve IT issues, capturing data and correspondence to share among team members and support staff using queues, filters and folder categorization.
Within the Atlassian suite are two communication tools. Confluence allows users to share, view and discuss meeting notes, files, links and messages, and to assign tasks to individuals or groups. More immediate communication can take place within HipChat, Atlassian's real-time messaging tool. These two products integrate with JIRA to facilitate mass communication within an organization.
Bitbucket and Stash are Atlassian's development tools for managing code and creating and managing code repositories. It enables collaboration and integration with JIRA. Bitbucket is the cloud code manager; Stash is the server or on-premises code manager.
These products can be purchased directly from Atlassian on a subscription-based model, with server licenses available in perpetuity. Pricing varies in increments based on the number of users subscribing and the combination of products ordered. JIRA alone starts at $10 for one to 10 users and peaks at $24,000 for 10,000-plus users. Pricing also varies based on whether or not a license is commercial or academic. An order's total can be determined through Atlassian's online quote and order forms. Each product is sold separately. Atlassian does not offer bundle pricing. Free trial versions are available to download and you can try the products for up to 180 days on Atlassian's server. Evaluation periods for on-premises orders can be extended from 30 days to 90 days. SaaS options can be extended from 7 days to 14. HipChat, however, is free at its basic level. Bitbucket is free for its first five users.
The Atlassian suite currently is available in Chinese, Czech, Danish, English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Japanese, Slovak and Spanish languages, with in-development support for additional languages.
Support comes bundled into the product and is available in two tiers: Standard and premier. Standard support offers 24-hour, Monday through Friday, ticket-based service for on-premises customers. Cloud customers have access to 24-hour support seven days per week. Premier support offers an enhanced service-level agreement, a team of senior support engineers and phone support. Premier support pricing is $35,000 per year. Atlassian also offers extended support through the Atlassian Expert network, a network of expert partners that can help organizations with Atlassian's software and also help spec to any specific regulation that they may need to meet. Atlassian University is another support tool that teaches users and admins how to use its products.
Which ALM software is right for your company?
ALM software suites aren't right for every enterprise. See if you fit the criteria.
ALM tools have been around for a long time