Agile development is spreading like wildfire through the ranks of development teams, and application life-cycle management software providers are taking notice.

With the industry’s focus on faster product releases, organizations are adopting the just-in-time mentality and greater collaboration that agile brings. As a result, many ALM companies are tweaking their software with features such as agile templates and user story management  to meet these demands.

ALM is moving more toward one universal interface for project management, and moving away from individual pieces of management software that were the norm in traditional development environments, where projects could last anywhere from 18 to 24 months.

To track these long projects, there would usually be three different repositories for storing requirements, tests and defects. Singular pieces of software were created to manage each different life-cycle task. Teams would then usually glue a project manager, such as Microsoft Project, onto the cycle for reporting, but it wasn’t common for people in different roles, such as QA testers and coders, to stay informed on what each person was working on during a project.

“Projects were long, so we could afford to manage requirements, test and defects with separate tools,” said Richard Leavitt, executive vice president of worldwide marketing for Rally Software, who has held positions with companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM Rational and Serena Software in the past. “However, these things were highly disconnected from each other. We’d have legions of people trying to stitch together status reports.”

HP’s Mark Sarbiewski, senior director of product marketing, referred to the waterfall method as “very much command–and-control, with these discrete phases. It’s not like you couldn’t be successful in that, but it wasn’t right for all types of projects for sure.”

About Jeff Feinman