Today for an application to be successful there should be an organized development platform that enables control of an application lifecycle, simultaneously reduces the costs and provides continuous business solutions. Application lifecycle management – is supposed to be a strategic answer to application chaos and a means for business growth.
According to the Online Cambridge Dictionary, a lifecycle means the series of changes that a living thing goes through from the beginning of its life until death, while management implies the control and organization of something. Projecting these definitions on the information technologies sphere application lifecycle management can also be generally explained by summing up of the two terms, though with light changes due to a specific character of the subject (software applications). So, dilettantish, one can defy application lifecycle management, or to put it in short, ALM, as a process of governing and controlling of a software application existence from its first appearance until it reaches its final point, in other words, until it is removed from the market.
However, taking into account the modern market challenges and requirements to any product, including a software application, we cannot limit ourselves with such a narrow view concerning ALM. Let’s get deeper into the topic. From a more scientific perspective application lifecycle management is the entire period of managing the life of an application from a concept to its removal. This period encompasses the whole development process which is not so far away from us as it seems to be at first sight.
Applications are used for private and business purposes. Surely, there is no doubt ALM is first of all made for business customers. However, as far as any application lifecycle encompasses certain stages, it will be better to examine them referring to a beloved Skype application and make the ALM definition clear for everyone. It is always right to go from an easier to a more complex thing.
Let’s see which components ALM consist of. Here one can reason on an everyday level.
Without doubt, each of us faces ALM every day. Suppose the top 10 examples of applications include Microsoft Word, Google Chrome, Windows Media Player, World of Warcraft, Adobe Photoshop, iTunes, Skype, Steam, Adobe Dreamweaver, and Corel WordPerfect. On a philistine level we are offered to “refresh” this or that application in our PC. This is a part of ALM in a broad sense which satisfies a necessity to make an application more adaptive to the needs of users and, in such a way, more profitable at the market. (Generally one can defy the goal of the ALM in such a way in general).
In other words, an update of an application is one of the application lifecycle stages. However, the ALM itself begins much earlier.
Let’s take Skype as a philistine and for all understandable example. Just some information:
Skype was founded in 2003. The first public version was released on 29 August 2003.
At first, the application had a simple interface, voice adapted unlike ICQ and MSN Messenger. During installation Skype chose the language localization of Windows and had a quick and easy registration login in comparison with competing programs. It was and is easy to install. This is how Skype’s ALM began, with an idea that users demand a highly innovative product, easier to be treated, in this particular case in comparison to the existing communication programs, and this can also be called requirement management. It is also a continuous process through the project. Thus, referring to our Skype example, the Skype 1.2 Version included Voicemail for the first time, as well as introduced a Skypeln function that allows linking a Skype account with a phone number. In other words, requirement management as a part of the ALM includes verification and adaptation of an application to the needs and expectation of its users and stakeholders, both external and internal. Generally, requirements management investigates the situation, makes a decision on the requirements’ feasibility, then designs and constructs the application, tests it to make sure that the work still complies with the initial requirements and budget and finally releases the application. The requirements management extends over the entire application lifecycle management and is its crucial point, is a method and a means to provide what business need.