What is Application Lifecycle Management?

Application lifecycle management (ALM) is an integrated set of tools, processes, and people that manage an application from inception to retirement. While it is similar to software development lifecycles, ALM covers more areas of the development process, as it includes post-development work.

This includes activities like maintenance, governance, and decommissioning software once it has run its course. ALM focuses on ensuring that an application operates smoothly and that those in charge of different activities can collaborate with the least amount of friction.

ALM can function in phases—focusing first on concept and design, then on development, and so on—or function as a more integrated, holistic process. Regardless, there are three major aspects to application lifecycle management.

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The first is governance, or the decisions that are made regarding the application. This includes planning resource management strategies, business goals, and defining aspects like user access and security. Application development (which coincides with SDLC) covers the planning, conceptualization, and development of the app itself, and can also include testing.

Finally, operations cover an app’s deployment, active management, and stack maintenance. In some cases, maintenance and development occur at the same time, as is the case with SaaS tools or other subscription-based applications.

What Can I Use Application Lifecycle Management For?

Unlike projects that have no set plan for post-launch and maintenance, ALM helps guide teams and empower organizations to exert better control of their stacks throughout an app’s life span. This is vital for projects that are long-running, as most SaaS applications are, and even for apps with shorter lifecycles.

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ALM lets you both measure success at every step of the way, either with white label analytics tools or in-house data tracking systems.

In cases such as mobile apps, ALM can help manage the app while still allowing for a regular update cycle, and even a more frequent feedback loop that results in better decisions. Especially if it is meant to last for several years, ALM gives you the ability to plan far in advance and course correct based on data and changing trends.

Most importantly, it makes the development and management processes much faster since everyone is operating on the same page. By collaborating on projects from inception to completion, teams can improve coordination, roles are better defined, and you can more easily characterize and measure success.

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