Agile Application Lifecycle Management, known as Agile ALM, can be very helpful when it comes to improving your requirements gathering, even if the two do not seem connected at first glance. Here is how Agile ALM improves requirements gathering.
What Is Agile ALM?
Agile Application Lifecycle Management is the strategy of using Agile practices to manage your tests, issues, requirements, and so on. Development teams love implementing Agile processes into the workflow of their teams to help manage project lifecycles.
By using Agile ALM, you will be able to deliver high-quality releases quickly, prioritize client needs, and improve collaboration between the departments within your company. In some way, Agile ALM is a merge between humans and technology because Agile is about value and people while ALM is about tools.
You can also combine Agile ALM with other tools if you want to achieve a greater effect. For example, using a writer from a service like Best Writers Online with your newly implemented Agile ALM practices will help you create various texts more efficiently.
What are some of the tools for using Agile ALM?
Application Lifecycle Management is usually divided into three main areas; governance, development, and production. In each of these areas, there can be certain practices and tactics applied including requirements gathering, project management, source control, defect tracking, automated testing, and many others.
Though this article will only focus on requirements gathering, some almost universal ALM tools can be used for assisting you with any of these practices. These include Microsoft ALM, Version One, Pivotal Tracker, Lean Kit Kanban, IBM Rational and so on.
When it comes to implementing Agile ALM tactics, there are a few things to remember about the process of integration:
- Interactions with tools and processes – Unlike traditional ALM, Agile ALM focuses on cross-functionality. This means that gathering requirements becomes a more collaborative process with all the different elements done almost simultaneously by different teams working together. Teamwork becomes crucial in this case.
- Software over documentation – Instead of constantly fussing about getting documentation right and stagnating the whole project because of that, Agile ALM values fast, quality product releases. This improves the workflow and speeds up the process of project development and then completion.
- Communication with customers – Agile ALM prioritizes customer collaboration over contract negotiations and highlights the importance of communication with customers. Throughout the development cycle with the use of Agile ALM, you are practically required to consider customer feedback as it is critical.
- Changing the course of action – Traditionally, you would want to follow the original plan as closely as possible. But with Agile ALM, the plan is a very flexible concept. Teams are expected to be more productive as a result of the project being completed one small step at a time with no task order in mind.
How to improve requirement gathering with the help of Agile ALM?
So, how can you improve your requirement gathering with the help of Agile Application Lifecycle Management? As always, there are some things to remember when you decide to start using Agile ALM for improving your requirement gathering.
- You will need to change your mindset to mostly rely on smaller scoped work items instead of bigger aims. Unlike traditional approaches, Agile ALM requires a certain level of flexibility where you deal with work on a more precise level than looking at the whole picture at once and trying to achieve something huge immediately.
- User stories will have to become an essential part of your project because they will help you shape the features that are necessary for your finished project and that you might not be aware of yet. You will have to determine your way of capturing these stories to be able to consult them throughout the whole project development process and discuss them early on during the planning sessions.
- There are different ways in which you can process these user stories and other information and data you gather to be able to understand your plan of action and create some kind of framework for yourself that will serve as a foundation for your team to base their actions and tasks on. You will have to identify which method you will be using to work with information and how you will be presenting it to your team. For example, index cards are perfect for small snippets of data that can be moved around on a big screen for easier brainstorming. It is crucial for the initial stage of planning.
- Tracking performance is just as important with Agile ALM as it is with any other type of approach. You will notice that there will be significantly fewer inaccuracies in your requirements gathering with the new workflow you have adopted. It will become the main reason for such improvement. You can also expect errors; including human errors to be almost entirely gone or, at least, substantially decreased in volume. Poor requirement gathering is the reason for these issues arising in the first place, so once you make the switch to Agile ALM, they are simply ruled out.
- Lastly, there should eventually be less waste than before. Fewer errors result in most of the actions performed by your teams and departments being more effective and efficient. Simulations and prototyping can also help you avoid making crucial mistakes that can potentially lead to dangerous or unpleasant situations.
To sum up, Agile ALM can help you improve your requirements gathering if you understand what Agile ALM is and if you start using the tips outlined in this article to improve your requirements gathering process.