ALM tools evolve in face of agile processes
January 15, 2010 —
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“Typically, they are companies that are producing products or systems that need to be extremely well-defined up front because of regulations,” Johnstone said. “Regulated industries oftentimes need to have waterfall. They usually have to prove that what they deliver actually matches what was laid out at the requirement level, and they have to show that those requirements haven’t changed, or show what those changes were.”
However, believing that regulatory industries must only use the waterfall method is a “false assumption,” according to IBM’s Ambler. Ambler talked about a project he was brought in to assess around software being created to support a new drug. The software was being created to keep an eye on the clinical trial and to process data, and Ambler said they had success doing agile with a project involving relatively complex regulations.
“The development team was doing agile, working in short iterations and working side-by-side with business stakeholders,” Ambler said. “Being in a difficult or uncomfortable situation isn’t an excuse not to be agile.”
ALM takes action
So as agile methodologies shorten release cycles and pull back the curtains separating QA testers, developers and other members of a development team, ALM providers are making sure their software is catering to this more open collaboration.
CollabNet’s Griggs said it is important for ALM providers to remember they’re providing an ALM platform, not an agile point tool. However, that ALM platform needs to be able to provide “world-class agile” while also being supportive of other methodologies.
What has driven the last several revisions of Electric Cloud’s ElectricCommander in terms of adapting to agile development is the need to be able to integrate any tool, any platform and any geography into one system.
“We’ve developed ElectricCommander to allow you to integrate basically anything on the backend very easily,” said Mike Maciag, CEO of Electric Cloud. “Platforms have gone from a system under your desk to virtual environments, cloud environments and embedded platforms. So the system has had to evolve to support any platform.”