Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice helps many SMBs choose the right ALM tools so they can improve visibility and collaboration among development and other teams involved with the SDLC.

Showing 1-20 of 125 products

Viewpath

Viewpath is a cloud-based project management solution that allows teams to view team availability, assign tasks and collaborate with teams in real time. With everything hosted in the cloud, the platform can be utilized by global teams,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 21 recommendations

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monday.com

monday.com, an award-winning collaboration and project management platform, helps teams plan together efficiently and execute complex projects to deliver results on time. monday.com team management and task management tool allows for... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 18 recommendations

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Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a work execution platform and collaboration tool with a familiar spreadsheet-like interface that helps teams plan, track, and manage projects in real-time. Smartsheet features include a range of project management tools,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 18 recommendations

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inMotion ignite

inMotion ignite is a creative project management software built specifically for the needs of creative and marketing teams. Combining the most powerful elements of task and workflow management with the collaborative features of online... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

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MPOWR Envision

Designed to eliminate rigid departmentalization and streamline strategic execution, MPOWR Envision helps organizations build an execution strategy using open communication and organizational alignment. As a cloud-based execution tool,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

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Sciforma

Sciforma is a cloud-based project and portfolio management solution for enterprises that allows to strategically track and analyze project data and make relevant decisions. It can be sold as a stand-alone portfolio management, project... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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Cora PPM

Cora Systems provide enterprise project and portfolio management solutions to global organizations and government agencies, such as Honeywell, Elanco, PwC, City of London and the UK’s National Health Service. Their solution, Cora... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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Easy Projects

Easy Projects is a cloud-based project management platform suitable for midsize organizations and enterprises. Easy Projects provides every contributing team member, project manager, executive, stakeholder or customer with access... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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Project Insight

Project Insight (PI) is the work management hub helping companies manage projects, allocate personnel and track what work is being done throughout the entire organization. The intuitive software aggregates data from high-productivity... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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Workamajig

Workamajig is a cloud-based HTML5 project management solution designed for creative ad agencies and in-house advertising teams of all sizes. Key features include opportunity tracking, project management, time tracking, resource management... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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WorkOtter

WorkOtter is cloud based and built to make your collaborative work easy and visible to the organization. Keep projects in the light and gain traction. Get the tools you need to simplify your work, focus on people, move projects to... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Wrike

Wrike is a cloud-based project management platform for teams of 20+ that is suitable for both large enterprises and SMBs. It supports remote work for various teams. This solution comes with Gantt charts, calendars, workload view for... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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Workfront

Workfront is a platform for enterprise work management. Now there is one central application platform to share ideas, create content, manage complex processes, and help people do their best work. When all the information about work... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

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AchieveIt

AchieveIt is a cloud-based solution designed to help medium to large organizations in healthcare, government, utilities, enterprise, education, and more organize and integrate multiple plans, progress updates, and reports in a centralized... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

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Targetprocess

Targetprocess is a cloud-based enterprise visual platform which connects Portfolio, Products and Teams. The tool perfectly reflects the agile methodology and can help any company to adopt and scale agile across the enterprise. To... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Mavenlink

Mavenlink offers services and solutions for project management, resource planning, collaboration, and project accounting. Mavenlink combines the robust functionality of a Professional Services Automation solution with intuitive user-friendly... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Ravetree

Ravetree is a cloud-based project management solution with integrated resource planning, customer relationship management and time and expense tracking capabilities. The solution helps users manage project workflows, task assignment... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Deltek WorkBook

Deltek WorkBook is a cloud-based agency management system that provides a way to manage resources, schedule jobs and record time. With this system, organizations can manage projects, control budget, store documents and more. Deltek... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Kimble

Kimble focuses exclusively on professional services automation (PSA), innovating a best-in-class SaaS platform that works seamlessly with CRM. Recommended by global leaders in consulting, software and hi-tech, Kimble helps professional... Read more

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Work-Relay

Work-Relay is an enterprise work management system that brings together task, process, project, and resource management in a single, unified application. Work-Relay ensures that work patterns are clearly defined, timelines are well... Read more

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: July 3, 2020

Gartner predicts that by 2020, 40 percent of organizations will have shifted from a project management model to a product management one to manage technology investments in digital business.

"Because of the agile emphasis on taking a product perspective, organizations now have the opportunity to more tightly couple their application portfolio to their investment portfolio, and, instead of all investments being 'projects,' many (if not most) of them will become 'new product releases.'"

Source: Predicts 2017: PPM Leaders (content available to Gartner clients)

To keep pace with this shift, many organizations are investing in application lifecycle management (ALM) tools to create business processes that govern the full lifecycle of software projects and portfolios.

ALM tools combine project/product management with business process management, and are designed to serve a variety of business needs, from starter systems to robust full-service solutions. As such, it can be difficult to know exactly which type of ALM tool is the best fit for your business.

We've created this guide to help you better understand all that ALM encompasses, so you can make a more informed investment decision when choosing ALM software.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Application Lifecycle Management?
Common Capabilities of ALM Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?

What Is Application Lifecycle Management?

Application lifecycle management is a defined set of processes that govern how an organization manages software projects and investments, from concept to completion.

In this way, ALM fits within the larger IT project and product management markets, but speaks to a greater connectivity between business processes and software engineering.

ALM tools create an integrated environment that helps connect teams and improve the flow of work through each stage in the software development lifecycle (SDLC):

Software Development Lifecycle Stages

Software Development Lifecycle Stages

Although work is designed to flow from one stage to the next, the process can move backward or forward as needed. For example, work will move from development to testing, then back to development then onto testing again, before reaching deployment.

  • Plan/gather requirements: In some models, “planning" and “requirements gathering" are separate stages, but we've included them together because these steps inform one another. This involves stakeholder analysis, defining the scope of the project, identifying any known risks and setting budget and timeline benchmarks. The functional and technical requirements (as well as the subsequent requirements review and approval by stakeholders) inform the project plan.
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  • Design: Involves putting the application requirements into a design specification plan. Includes the interface design and proof of concept, as well as the design review and approval by all stakeholders.
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  • Develop/build: Involves taking the design specs and actually building the application, i.e., generating the code, to meet the original requirements.
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  • Test: Involves testing the code for defects and fixing them to ensure the final, approved product meets the original requirements and specifications for the end user.
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  • Deploy: Involves rolling out the application to end users, i.e., product release. Depending on feedback from users, and approval from stakeholders, changes may be made to the application to better meet end user needs.
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  • Maintain/support: Involves sustaining applications and maintaining their performance until application retirement. Includes application support, systems support and end user support.

ALM tools connect teams at each of these stages, improving visibility and collaboration. From planning through maintenance, they are important for tracking changes and providing an audit trail for retrospectives. This transparency plays a large role in helping teams reach their goal of continuous delivery and improvement.

These tools range from comprehensive suites designed to manage applications from inception to retirement, to products that specialize in one phase, e.g., planning or test, to simple agile solutions or wikis designed to monitor application progress or code review.

Common Capabilities of ALM Software

While features will vary from system to system, ALM tools typically contain some or all of the following capabilities:

Project management (or product management) Plan and track software projects, commonly following agile workflows. Streamline task management, time tracking, resource management and scheduling, dashboards, reporting and analytics.
Requirements management Define end-user requirements, break work down into actionable sequences, plan backlogs and schedule iterations.
Design and development Track works-in-progress. Often, agile teams develop software in two-week iterations, or sprints. This allows for more frequent testing and review.
Bug tracking Process, track and report on bugs in the application. Also called defect or issue management.
Quality assurance (QA) and testing Document and track application testing to ensure quality and function meets predetermined requirements.
Release management Support application deployment. Oversee software release, intake of end-user feedback and planning/initiating maintenance and improvements on application.
Process review and optimization Monitor and audit various stages in software development lifecycle with the goal to optimize processes (build, testing, release, application performance etc.).
Collaboration Enable users to connect and collaborate within the tool to facilitate group work. Can include content management wikis, group forums or activity streams, user logs, user mentions as well as chat.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

The two most common development methodologies are waterfall and agile, although agile is increasingly becoming the de facto software development model. Several variations on these models exist, including the big bang and spiral models.

Waterfall. A more traditional project management method, the waterfall SDLC model works best for smaller, risk-averse projects where the requirements are clear at the start and not likely to change over the course of the project. Work flows from one stage to the next, sequentially, with the output of one phase becoming the input for the next.

Agile. The agile SDLC model works well for projects of any size, where requirements may not be clear at the start or are likely to change over the course of the project. The application is broken down and completed in cycles, over numerous releases. Testing and feedback on each release is then incorporated into the next version.

Which SDLC model you chose is largely dependent on the size and scope of the project as well as the customer's requirements. ALM tools should support your team's workflows, not dictate them. It's important to choose a solution that aligns with your team's current processes, but is flexible enough to support multiple SDLC models.