Application life-cycle management (ALM) focused much on agile development methodologies in 2012.

There was increased discussion last year about how to scale agile for larger teams and projects, as well as what the new term “agile portfolio management” means. We also saw enhanced tools for Scrum as well as for lean/Kanban. Other ALM topics in the spotlight included continuous build/integration, continuous delivery, where testing fits in, and how often developers should test.

Early in the year, CollabNet brought Git (for code management) to the enterprise, and its announcement came shortly after HP announced its ALM integration solution. Both pieces of news reflected a growing trend among developers: they want to keep their variety of tools but still have a single place of traceability and visibility through the application life cycle.

In August, this new theme of how to scale agile was one of the topics introduced at the Agile 2012 conference in Dallas. In his keynote address, Stanford professor Robert Sutton discussed how to scale agile successfully, explaining how a shift in mindset is important to do so. He also discussed agile portfolio management, which is a new term that describes how companies are viewing agile not just from the developer’s point of view, but as a way of doing business.

Yet later in the year, VersionOne took a step back, released a scaled-down version of its management software for use in teams. According to CEO Robert Holler, agile got ahead of itself somewhat, and TeamRoom brings agile back to where its creators intended: to the development teams.

As popular as agile is, there is still much confusion surrounding how to do it successfully. In July, a survey by research firm Voke revealed that many organizations are still diving into agile without clearly understanding it. For example, many companies use “Scrum” as a catchall term for any agile practices or approaches they have adopted, but may not really understand what it is before implementing it in their companies.

To help developers understand agile and how to implement it, Emergn announced what it said was the industry’s first work-based learning program for agile development. Its Value Flow Quality Education program teaches agile, lean thinking and practices to developers.

Agile developers were also expected to play a bigger role in securing their apps last year. SAFECode, an industry group, offered guidance on how to do so. In July, it issued a paper to developers listing 36 practices to help them reduce software security flaws.