Feeds

State of the ALM art

Xeau's Barry Gilbert speaks with David Norfolk

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Interview I've been an enthusiast for ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) since the days of AD Cycle in the 1980s – but I can't help noticing that universal adoption still seems to be some way off. Perhaps it's the "hero culture" we have in IT: the ALM promises of "getting it right first time, good alignment with the business and no surprises" don't offer much scope for a hero to save the day, riding in on a white charger when the brown stuff hits the fan.

Perhaps no one really wants what ALM promises...

But I may be out of touch these days, so I welcomed a chance to interview Barry Gilbert, a current ALM practitioner with the consultant Xeau.

David Norfolk for Reg Dev: You are an experienced ALM expert and a consultant with Xeau , which also resells the Contour requirements management tool. What is your background in this space?

Barry Gilbert from Xeau: I first started work as a systems analyst for an operations and management consultancy, moving up the ranks to become one of those who told the 50 year old guy "look upon redundancy as a new start". At which point, I setup a development shop producing turnkey applications back in the late 80s and early 90s.

More recently, stints at Atria-Rational and Starbase-Borland gave me insights into the SCM [Software Configuration Management], ALM and requirements management areas of the whole software lifecycle.

Today, I'm co-founder of Xeau, setup in 2002, specialising in requirements management and all that it touches within the ALM space. We help organisations of all sizes and types to select effective Requirements Management solutions. We also help other organisations re-evaluate their use of requirements management tools.

Reg Dev: I'm interested in your view of the state of the art in RM. For instance, I suspect both of us think that RM is a 'no brainer' and could argue about market shares in this space – but isn't the real "market leader" the large group of developers who don't do formal RM at all?

Gilbert: Despite what the tool vendors would like to tell us, MS-Office is still the leading requirements management tool. The fact is, everyone uses a requirements management solution of sorts – for some organisations, documents, spreadsheets, and email work well.

Typically, these organisations will spend more time doing requirements management and, therefore, incur invisible overhead costs in it, but if it works for them, then who can criticise? However, with the increasing pace of software development the tolerance for delivering the wrong functionality, and delivering it late, is ever-diminishing.

Reg Dev: Given that many effective developers don't use formal RM tools, why might this make sense to them?

Gilbert: When I was directly involved in development, many years ago, end users were grateful for what they were given. Today, end users are more astute, more aware of what software can do, and simply demand more. Tie this together with easier and faster communications channels (email, etc) and users will fire off new design ideas, change requests and bug fix requests incessantly, to business analysts, designers, and developers. Little wonder end users shout and scream at deployment teams when a crucial change has been omitted from a release, simply because an email went astray or was simply forgotten.

Perhaps the 10cc lyric should have been "disorganised and unstructured communication is the problem to the answer". That's what requirements management tools provide – structure and method to the capture and management of requirements; and a subsequent flow of crucial information for the ALM cycle.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.