TechExcel extends ALM to PPM and beyond

Organizations using Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solutions are adopting portfolio project management (PPM) tools to improve the outcomes of individual products and entire portfolios. Unfortunately, most portfolio-management tools are not tightly integrated with ALM suites, even when the products have been released the by same vendor, so the results are not as dramatic as they could be.

TechExcel is setting a new standard with a fully integrated suite of ALM, portfolio-management, customer-relationship-management (CRM), and IT Service Management (ITSM) offerings that redefine total traceability.

“The future of ALM is not just about agile development,” said Tieren Zhou, CEO and chief architect at TechExcel. “Agile development needs to be integrated with quality assurance and requirement/portfolio management.”

TechExcel made the 2014 SD Times 100 for its groundbreaking contributions to the ALM and Development Tools category. In fact, TechExcel has been named to the SD Times 100 six years in a row. TechExcel’s products include the DevSuite complete ALM solution, add-ons, the ServiceWise ISTM solution, and the CustomerWise customer support solution.

Ensure higher-software quality
DevSuite provides a clear model for integrating agile development and QA processes so enterprises can more effectively build quality into their products. In that model, one or more “QA floaters” becomes part of the agile development team, educating developers about software quality and helping to define test casess. The QA floaters are complemented by the traditional QA team which is responsible for regression testing. The result is consistently higher software quality and less rework.

DevSuite also ensures that software quality can be quantified. With DevSuite, software teams can use test case templates to define testing procedures and their expected results. The test cast templates are organized into test case templates trees that represent each functional area as a set of test cases. The test case templates are further broken down using environmental variables and verification points. The environmental variables allow users to define all of the possible combinations of the testing runtime behavior and the behavior of the product. Verification points can be broken down into multiple checkpoints.

DevSuite’s core modules include DevTrack defect tracking, DevTest quality management, and DevSpec requirements management.

DevSuite 9.3 extends traceability
While ALM has helped software teams achieve visibility across requirements, development and testing, most solutions have not adequately addressed portfolio management. DevSuite 9.3 introduced the DevPPM portfolio management add-on which is the most powerful PPM tool on the market.

“Our customers want to manage financial risks, customer service, project quality, and milestone achievements. They also want to see the tasks for each agile sprint and all of the data so they can seamlessly produce reports both for portfolio purposes and agile process-related tasks,” said Zhou. “The tight integration between DevSuite and DevPPM enables that kind of total traceability. At the same time, we do not burden agile team members with PPM tasks. Everyone has access to the relevant data they need to ensure better outcomes whether that’s better software quality, more predictable sprint results, or portfolio-related metrics.”

DevSuite 9.3 also provides several other enhancements that are particularly valuable to enterprise software teams. In addition to improving the UI, the latest release added DevOps support by integrating DevSuite with CustomerWise 9.3 and ServiceWise 9.3. Now a customer request for an enhancement or new feature can be represented by a requirement created in ServiceWise. Similarly, employees can trigger requirements that are created in ServiceWise. The requirements created in CustomerWise or ServiceWise can include screen shots, documents, and other attachments so project managers can make informed decisions about them.

“ServiceWise and CustomerWise allow requirements to be created and integrated with customer support tickets and IT incidents and problems,” said Zhou. “You’re able to extend total traceability from requirements, agile development, and test cases to IT/employee support processes and customer support processes.”

DevSuite 9.3 also added robust multisite features that support multiple database servers and document servers. Instead of accessing a remote server to download a document or a report, the content can be stored and accessed locally.

“DevSuite relies on an application service layer to ensure real-time synchronization and offline synchronization so data is always synced and delivered to users at the optimum speed,” said Zhou. “It also has self-diagnostic tools so customers can use it in a production environment.”

Coming soon
DevSuite 9.5 will add more PPM and ALM enhancements, enabling support for multiple workflows within a single project. It will also have a smart screen that is context-sensitive and role-based. Zhou said the additions will allow teams to more effectively manage risks, customer satisfaction, contracts, project delivery, and software development.

DevSuite 10.0 will introduce a slick AJAX-based UI that enables in-line editing as well as real-time flexible sorting and filtering. Zhou said the new UI will be elegant, easy to use, and provide fast performance.

For more information about TechExcel and its integrated product suites, visit