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Organisations that depend on software to run their businesses must start thinking about adopting application lifecycle management (ALM), according to Forrester.

“If you aren’t doing [ALM] today and software is important to your business, you need to start thinking about how to get transparency, how to get understanding of the [application process] flow, and to think of software as a business process,” Forrester analyst Dave West told Computerworld UK at HP's Software Universe conference.

He warned businesses not to get too bogged down in the technology, though, which was a common mistake.

“The adoption of ALM has not been seen as super successful because customer approaches, sometimes with vendor help, tended to focus on development tools rather than business management,” said West. “ALM is about integration, not about the individual tools.”

The biggest challenge to ALM adoption is people, said West. Not only are people, such as developers, used to working in isolation, but there can also be a misunderstanding of how software is developed.

Lifecycle not about governance

He said that a common mistake is for the project management office [PMO] to view ALM as a control or governance tool, rather than an enabler through improved automation and traceability of the application production process.

“Fundamentally people think you can plan and design everything. The experience [in software] is you need to work iteratively and evolutionarily, releasing incrementally and understanding incrementally," West said.

He added: “Traditionally, we see a lot of issues because the PMO wants the ALM to install a very defined process, but that process does not necessarily work in that way. The PMO needs to work with developers to understand how they work. ALM is about flow, not control."

Another significant relationship in software is the burgeoning one between developers and operations. West predicts this bond will continue to be strengthened.

“With the emergence of dev ops – the interesting thing about that is we see an increased value placed on the relationship between operations and developers, when historically they have been separate,” said West.

“There are two drivers – the need for speed to get things out faster and quality. Definitely over half of bugs you see in production tend to be because the deployment and testing architectures are different, caused by inconsistent information.”