April 3, 2013 4 Comments
In my last post, I had created a checklist for evaluating requirement management tool. Here I am writing about Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). ALM on SaaS offers built-in scalability and on-demand flexibility. I am using the product, as this is the client’s preferred Requirement and Workflow Management Tool.
1. Managing Requirements
Pros: The requirements capturing module allows creating/ updating/ deleting requirements. This includes – handling enriched formatting, File attached to requirements, Categorize Requirements, Version Control, Text Search, Import/ Export Requirements and handling Requirements Prioritization/ Accountability/ Criticality.
Cons: The requirements capturing template for a specific software development methodology (RUP or AGILE) is however is missing. For instance, there is no separate section to capture information like Actors, Business Rules, Pre-Condition, Trigger Condition, Main Flow, Alternate Flow and Exception Flow.
2. Cohesion of Requirements with Architectural components
Cons: The ALM does not have any cohesion between Business Requirements with Architectural components. It has a module to document Business Models in terms of Key Business Process Issues, Gap Analysis, Impact Assessment and Solution Strategy, but users will have to manually feed in the information.
3. Traceability Analysis
Pros: One of the critical responsibility of a Business Consultant is verification of requirements by way of linking requirements with test scenario-cases. Identifying inconsistencies or unlinked requirements, graphical/ pictorial representation of traceability to allow tracking each link, automatic updating links with changes in documents and verifying each requirement implementation is a great plus. Tracking test execution by phases and linking defects is a nice to have feature.
Cons: The traceability is limited between requirements and test scenario-cases, and traceability between requirement(s) and its solution(s) cannot be created.
4. Requirements Approval Cycle
Pros: The tool should have a built-in workflow management, that supports capturing comments, corrections, approvals and email notification support. Typically there would be more than one team members accessing and updating the documents. The tool should support concurrent users.
5. Requirements Validity & Progress
Pros: ALM has an inbuilt spell-check and supports basic text formatting.
Cons: No proof-Reading, requirement’s progress/ status and quality reporting. Additionally it does not help identify ambiguous requirements upfront based on pre-defined ambiguous terms and words.
Pros: The tool creates outputs of requirements, test scenario-cases, test execution and test results.
Cons: The feature is not usable especially for exporting requirements and test scenario-cases. As it does not support customized outputs to include page, headers & footers, user defined tables and indexes, graphs and charts.
Pros: The artifacts created in a specific XLSX format can be imported into the tool. Functional automation scripts can be imported from QTP and executed in ALM.
Cons: The tool lacks ability to interact/ support with other tools like project planning tools to assess project status, support SQL queries to allow programmable access to data stored in the tool, support import/ export in various Data Exchange Formats (like EDS, XML), sync data/ information from different installations and copy & paste from popular word and list processing applications.
8. Environment and User Experience
Pros: Easy installation and online help, support and training videos. Supports creating and executing user defined macros to automate tedious tasks.
Cons: ALM only loads on Internet Explorer. The tool does not load on browsers like Chrome, Safari and Firefox. There is no mobile phone support. It requires sufficient user training/ learning curve. The processing time is not the best.
9. Some Extra Pros
The tool comes with inbuilt features like Project Planning (based on Releases) and tracking Project Threshold. The Analysis and Dashboard feature provides the current workflow and execution status of requirements and testing phases respectively. The tool supports test automation (integration with QTP) and manual testing eases screen capture. The Sprinter tool allows for multi-browser testing as well.