Feeds

State of the ALM art

Xeau's Barry Gilbert speaks with David Norfolk

New hybrid storage solutions

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.

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Profitless Twitter: We're looking to raise $1.5... yes, billion
We'll spend the dosh on transactions, biz stuff 'n' sh*t
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.