All software development groups strive to deliver bug-free products on-time without running out of budget. Unfortunately, the opposite happens most of the time.
In a paper “Why is Software Late? An Empirical Study of Reasons For Delay in Software Development”, Michiel van Genuchten provided reasons behind delays in software development. Though the paper is a bit old; it still holds true. Here is a screenshot taken from the PDF version of the paper.
As voted by the Mangers, common reasons for delay in software delivery are:
- Unrealistic project plan
- Inability to track problems early
- Insufficient number of checkpoints
- No commitment by personnel to plan
- Uncooperative support groups
- Unqualified project personnel
These are not all; there can be many such reasons which create bottlenecks, unnecessary complexity, and increased number of repetitive tasks in the processes. As a result, the project gets delayed and quality suffers which not only affects the company financially, but hurts its credibility for delivery..
In 1991 when Michiel van Genuchten wrote the paper, the concept of ALM was not prevalent. Agile methodology was yet to be invented. But in 2013, thanks to the leaders and thinkers of yester years, we have different ALM tools and advanced methodologies that can eliminate many obstacles. By choosing the right methodology and right tool you can eliminate uncertainties and complete projects on time.
Multi-function ALM Platform – Single Solution for Multiple Problems
Multi-function ALM platform with cross vendor tool integration capacity is the most apt solution. Such an environment can help a development team eliminate majority of the problems they face in terms of execution and collaboration and allow them to stick to deadlines.
Let’s review some of the features of a standard multi-function ALM platform that allows you to avoid delays.
Requirements gathering made easy: Requirement gathering and analysis are critical for the success of any software development project. A high end ALM platform allows the development team to capture requirements easily and maintain a common repository that can be shared with all stakeholders ensuring everybody is following the latest and approved set of requirements. All the stakeholders, including customers, can see the requirements at any point of time. No rooms for error and expectations are set quite clearly as well. In an Agile development environment, this is equivalent to having the right Backlog in place.
Impact analysis: When a stakeholder makes changes to a requirement or backlog they can see the impact of the change right away – how many test cases will be affected, how the coding will be impacted become clearly visible to them. You can estimate the extra time if required and change the delivery expectations or in an Agile project, take it outside the scope of the current Sprint.
Cross vendor tool integration: Software organizations using ALM tools of different vendors can integrate the tools and connect them to a centralized ALM platform enabling bi-directional data flow among the tools. This is extremely useful for globally distributed teams that use varieties of tools for similar or different functionality. No more manual data entry; automated data flow saves a lot of time.
Traceability: End-to-end traceability is the promise of integrated ALM. As it connects multiple tools, you can get real-time data from any number of tools linked to the ecosystem. Hence, if a Test Case fails it takes no time for you to know which code blocks need to be reviewed.
Communication and Collaboration: A development team with members located in different countries can communicate easily over an integrated multi-function ALM platform. Features like attachments, comments, group-centric access rights, versioning can be of great help when hundreds of people work together.
Process automation: You can automate certain tasks and eliminate repetitive manual work and bottlenecks to a great extent. The concept of process automation can be explained with the help of a real-life example. Omniprocess, the task-based process automation system of Kovair, enhances workflow management in a distributed environment. You can define process automation using a simple drag-and-drop interface. The below diagram shows how it works.
Thus, an ALM platform with multiple functionalities can be the answer to many execution related issues. By incorporating better visibility, traceability and communication options it can enhance a team’s performance significantly and you can deploy applications right on time without exceeding project cost.