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Modernize your project lifecycle management process

Expert Gerie Owen is a QA consultant, experienced tester and a regular columnist for SearchSoftwareQuality. In this video, she speaks with Editor Valerie Silverthorne about why it's time to modernize application and project lifecycle management. Here's a preview of the webcast.

Owen regularly writes about what she calls the "brave new world." And if ever there needed to be a new world, it's perhaps in the area of ALM. She makes the argument that it's past time to modernize your project lifecycle management because the rapid pace of development and delivery has made standard ALM methods obsolete. And if you're also trying for an Agile or DevOps deployment, and who isn't these days, the need is even greater.

Owen identifies six areas where she thinks ALM needs a boost: traceability, agility, workflow, integration, collaboration and multichannel. The idea, she stresses, is to choose an ALM path that "enhances these new approaches."

Traceability is important because it makes the process transparent and allows everyone to see what was done, when and whether or not it worked. Improving agility will make it easier to make changes and react quickly. At the same time, managing the workflow to make it seamless should help keep things from falling through the cracks. When it comes to integration, JIRA is often hailed as the ALM savior, but Owen points out that, in today's world, it's simply not enough. Improving project lifecycle management means making sure there's a process in place for every piece and that every piece is interconnected so nothing gets missed. Collaboration -- often the hardest thing to dictate, but really the most important -- has to be as simple as face-to-face conversation, even when teams are scattered around the world. Whether it's the messaging app Slack, or IM or HipChat, make sure everyone knows why and how to communicate. And make it often.

Owen also stresses that whatever ALM approach is chosen, it has to support everything from a desktop to an iPhone to the cloud and everything in between. Her advice: "Don't be afraid to try new things."

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What changes would you like to see in your ALM process?
I'm not sure I agree that the best way to communicate is through some IM or messaging app. Are they backed up? What authority does a person have speaking in IM? How do messages get sent clearly throughout the organization?
IM is a good substitute for face-to-face, but it is not a means of providing traceability during the ALM process! In most organizations you can't use an IM as authorization for making a change; nor does an IM have the permanence of an email or software change request.