Application deployment is one of the biggest challenges faced by Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). The reason behind this is that there is involvement and interaction of numerous components which makes the process arduous and prolonged. Also, if any problem occurs, the deployed application is also the most prominent part of the ALM process. That is why there is a need to follow some application lifecycle management best practices.
But before I start preaching about what companies should do to solve problems associated with ALM, let’s recall our memories about what application lifecycle management really is. Ready?
Application Lifecycle Management is an amalgamation of tools and processes that manages the life of an application during its course of development. ALM is a wider concept as it starts with conceptualization and ends at the dissolution of software.
Now that we know how lengthy the process is, guess the complexity of it. So, strict measures need to be placed in order to eradicate those complexities to some extent if not entirely. Thus, application lifecycle management best practices are your weapon to fight these complexities and even beat them.
How long has it been since you last looked for the latest ALM tools available? Well, if not, do it now! As Configuration Management (CM) develops, ALM tools also evolve to match these processes. Changing or adjusting tools can be an onerous task but with 3rd and 4th generation CM technology in place, customization comes easy. Abiding by this, it will not only be benefitting for the user base but can also cut down on operational overheads/costs significantly.
Do you take a test drive before you actually end up buying the car? Well, just stick to that and get a free ride of your selected tool too before actually finalizing it. It will not only give you a clearer picture of how will the tool will perform in real situation but will also help you see clearly see its shortcomings and capabilities also to know whether or not it suits your enterprise. So many benefits to not having a test ride, right?
Just when you think this is it, the process actually starts. The key to a successful implementation of ALM is the ability to ensure a smooth workflow. Workflow mapping should be done so as to precisely know or predict how the application lifecycle management processes will behave during each lifecycle stage.
Ensuring the best communication and having a robust coordination among different teams are key notes here. Adhering to the process will be piece of cake if these workflows are defined in advance.
An enterprise can only ensure a progressive application lifecycle management process if it’s focus is on minimizing errors, which is pretty much what quality assurance (QA) is.
Having a profound focus on DevOps is inevitable but quality assurance is the thing which should be emphasized upon. Incorporation of QA at every stage of lifecycle is imperative in order to minimize errors which is why you’re reading this blog in the first place, isn’t it?
The final developed application is for the user. So the benefits of keeping users in the loop goes without a say (in this case, employees!). Also, overtiring your development team isn’t going to work either, they are human after all. Lastly, the application should meet the needs of the end users. Testing the application before the actual rollout will give a clear understanding of how application will work on daily basis. I’m emphasizing on users as they are the ones who are going to use it, so being aware of the user criteria you’ll be able to make the best out of your application.
Deploying an application manually is risky and inefficient (no offense). Manual processes can be loaded with errors and it could be a waste of time and resources for employees handling that process and for the enterprise as well. That is where automation comes to rescue. Enterprises should implement automation tools for deploying, testing and implementing other stages of lifecycle.
Above I’ve addressed the QA point, but how to know if there are any errors in the process or in the application. Supervision is the answer. Strict supervision should be kept throughout every phase of lifecycle. Not having a strict supervision can prove to be pernicious to the whole process. So, having a tight control here can go a long way.
Last but not the least as we say, a good application management application should contain a provision for generating regulatory compliance report. Despite all those efforts put in by adhering to the above mentioned aspects, there is still a need to incorporate compliance reporting. This can be fulfilled by having a solution which automatically generates properly updated audit compliance reports. A detailed activity log should be maintained as the solution. It will benefit internal teams in managing the application.
Now we know about the best practices in application lifecycle management. But what about the security? We have to make sure the application is secure for the users as we all know we live in the world where tech giants have been victims of data breaches. So let’s get started.
Many things should be kept in mind for making a secure application such as secure feature design, privacy or security feature work. Many privacy issues can be completely alleviated in the planning phase only. Are you creating the application for B2B which will be sharing sensitive information with a third-party? Best thing to do is inviting security experts and discussing the required things.
Not many enterprises think of security testing while in the development stage. We all know it is an extra step and can be arduous but then what are automation tools there for. These can be configured to considerably increase the frequency of feedback to eradicate any discrepancies.
Dividing the testing phase in two parts so that we can really know at what steps we need to do security checks. Most enterprise rely on regression testing but be a step ahead by front-loading some of the tasks. Security threats change all the time and what was acceptable some time ago may actually demonstrate a vulnerability today. So, an OWASP Top-10 review can benefit significantly.
Now comes the great regression phase. During this phase application is receiving final touch-up from the development team. This is the best time to run it through a series of test to make sure of it security levels.
So, now we must have understood the importance of best practices for application lifecycle management. Just like any other process, developing an application is a tedious process. So it is imperative to examine every minute detail, as even a small kind of ignorance will create a doorway for errors to creep in. And lastly, I’m repeating, keeping users in the loop helps a lot in understanding the application behavior in real-time.
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