SmartBear Software today is releasing to production an update to its ALMComplete 2011 life-cycle management tool, which targets release management, test management and agile development.

A new release-management module enables users to define what their release will look like by defining iterations, sprints, builds and patches, according to Steve Miller, vice president of ALM solutions at SmartBear. He said that users can also collaborate on artifacts and link them back to specific releases within the tool.

“We had a way of doing that, but it is not as clean,” Miller said. In the previous version, users could create folder structures, but by giving release management its own section of the software, users no longer have to create separate folders for tests and releases. “That gives the advantage of reuse, as well as better burn-down analysis and velocity analysis,” he said.

As for the new test management module, Miller said SmartBear spent a lot of time on that because the company “wanted a feature better than what HP Quality Center has.” In ALMComplete 2011 Fall Edition, users can create a reusable test library in a central repository, and can define browsers and operating systems via test “cloning” to test against without having to recreate the tests for each platform.

“That level of flexibility in the test engines enables really cool reporting on test results, such as which requirements were the most buggy. The software shows defects against all of the requirements,” Miller said.

Further, he said SmartBear has created a grid format that allows users to place test result expectations right next to a specific test step, which lets testers fail specific tests. “That gives a tremendous level of auditing ability,” he said.

All of these enhancements are designed to help agile development teams. A new team Scrum board lets teams organize their stories and tasks, then associate tasks with requirements and track the status of those items. “You can see all the artifacts on a virtual task board and physically move them with drag-and-drop,” Miller said. “This gives a better picture of what needs to be done to close off those projects.”

The company will include much of this new functionality in an update to QAComplete 2011.