ALM tools evolve in face of agile processes
January 15, 2010 —
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Related Search Term(s): agile, ALM
As part of these shifting roles, barriers between developers and QA are disappearing. A QA tester, for instance, can kick off a build because he needs to test a bug fix that the engineer built. An engineer can check in code and run tests based on the code he or she changed. The tasks of builders, QA testers and other ALM contributors are beginning to cross-pollinate as project management becomes more accessible.
“From the very beginning of a sprint planning session, there’s a member of QA sitting in the meeting room,” said Paula Rome, Seapine’s director of product management. “In the waterfall process, that’s not always the case. QA doesn’t get on board until much later in the process. With agile, people are designing with quality in mind at the beginning.”
Tools are evolving as well. Agile calls for a “centralized cockpit” to manage the various life-cycle stages from one console, according to Victoria Griggs, senior director of product marketing for CollabNet. This one main project manager allows everyone on a team to stay updated on what their cohorts are working on, and it minimizes manual handoff between developers, testers and other professionals.
“In the classic waterfall approach, those types of handoffs were happening at every iteration,” Griggs explained. “There’s no longer the luxury of being able to track the requirements you’re storing in one system. There’s an overwhelming need to have the type of cockpit that has a view into other systems that might still be running.”
Scott Ambler, IBM’s practice leader of agile development, agreed that agile environments necessitate one main project management piece of software. Individual tools to manage requirements and testing are still used today, but Ambler said they don’t get the job done in complex environments.
“What you find is that point-specific tools, which are very good by themselves, struggle to get the job done in totality,” he said. “You end up doing a lot of extra work because there will be traceability problems and defects being injected.”