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ALM survey shows release management to be top use of ALM

Vendors are actively coming up with new Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solutions for organizations doing software development. Are they hitting the mark? Results are out today from a recent survey conducted by Serena Software to find out more about what some of the driving factors were for organizations when making decisions around ALM and how organizations are using ALM.

When asked what ALM solutions were being used, the most popular answer, at 53%, was: Release Management: moving software from development to test and to production. The respondents of the survey also showed almost as many who were in IT Operations (33%) as were in Development (44%). This wasn’t surprising to me since we’ve seen a continuing trend about the engagement of DevOps in ALM, such as reported in Colleen Frye’s article, Extending ALM to deployment.

I spoke with Carl Landers, VP, Product and Campaign Marketing at Serena Software about the survey findings and what they showed with regards to DevOps. Landers said:

“The operations folks are much more involved in application development. We’ve seen the trends towards DevOps bringing together the application development organization and the IT operations organization  to more successfully get software from development into production. What we’re seeing is much more engagement of ITOps in the development process.”

However, at last year’s Agile 2010 conference, I asked Forrester’s Dave West about ALM trends and he emphasized that he was seeing ALM being extended more on the front end towards planning.

The survey from Serena showed that 17% of the respondents were using an ALM solution for demand management which would include planning and portfolio management. Since this is the first year of the survey, it’s not clear whether that number is a trend up, but Landers believes that ALM solutions are now extending both in the front end (demand management) as well as at the back end (release management.) He explained:

“The emphasis is moving from the middle, classic development management, to the two ends, the front end and the back end, what we refer to as the two bookends of the application delivery process; So demand management, getting things right with the customer up front and then release management, getting things deployed into production.”

This isn’t to say that ALM is not still being used for development management. It’s simply being extended now to include both the early processes as well as those later processes for a complete cradle-to-grave solution.

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