Category Archives: ALM

A brief look into HPE’s NG ALM

On March 19 HPE announced the upcoming availability of its “Next Generation ALM” (NG ALM) product as a beta version. In a previous post I shortly described HPE’s intended direction to support bimodal IT with this offering.

Since then I had the chance to look up the beta version. In this post I describe some of my findings. The product has so many areas that I need to focus on some of the highlights. It is not the goal of this blog to provide a complete overview.

Be aware that the product is still in a state of flux, so features might have already changed by the time of this writing. Furthermore, it is safe to assume that the released product will look different (and this will definitely be the case for the product name).

According to HPE NG ALM targets the modern way of developing software products from the very beginning until delivery. This way the entire value stream for product generation is covered.

To support this NG ALM provides 5 entry points to the user: Dashboard, backlog, application modules, pipelines, and defects.

Product areasNotice that there is no “testing” entry; more about that later.

Currently NG ALM manages the following entities:

  • Themes
  • Features
  • Stories
  • Tests
  • Defects

For a given software product those entities are related to each other. NG ALM utilizes a couple of concepts to express these relationships: Hierarchies, relationships, and tagging.  I will describe more about those within the specific product area.

The dashboard provides aggregated information about various aspects of product generation. Individual widgets can be configured based on user needs. Similar to widgets available in HPE’s Agile Manager additional data is provided when hovering over the graphics as illustrated in the screenshot below.

DashboardNG ALM allows to perform detailed analysis of this data via drill down capabilities that are accessible directly from these graphs.

The backlog area contains various aspects to work on: Themes, Features, Stories, and Tests.

BacklogThemes and Features are organized hierarchically. Themes provide the highest level of organization. They represent large grained application areas that can be described by a set of individual features underneath them. Features will have stories attached that implement the feature and tests to validate the stories. Defects may be also located at the feature or story level. NG ALM utilizes freely definable tags to support efficient and effective work environments. They are optionally visible on the right side of the screen and can be turned on and off via simple clicks. Tagging and filtering is nicely grouped together and can be used in combination.

Backlog 2Stories will be tested thus having a relationship to test entities. During the life cycle of a software product tests will be conducted often. A user will have to create the relationship between the user story and test, NG ALM will automatically create relationships between tests and individual runs of those tests. For analysis purposes these relationships can be viewed at in a graphical manner.

RelationsThese graphs provide direct access to details of the displayed elements if desired.

The application module area allows to arrange tests in a way to support long term needs of the organization. Often this might be an architectural view of the product. But there might be other organizational aspects that are of interest. There is no longer a split into separate application modules of test design and test execution as in the current ALM product. Runs can be directly accessed from the tests. Tests can be assigned to multiple application modules.

App ModulesBesides manual tests NG ALM provides a new way into automated testing by utilizing the Gherkin framework. Gherkin is a business readable, Domain Specific Language (DSL) that lets you describe software behavior without detailing how that behavior is implemented.

ngbr7Gherkin became prominent in recent years in context with agile methods that favor a high degree of test automation.

Gherkin tests are handled like development artifacts and stored in a configuration management system. Each time a developer finishes coding an automated build can be triggered along with automated tests. This development approach results in fast-paced and high quality software production.

The defects area delivers pretty much what you would expect from it: Views into the defects of a software product from various use aspects. Modern filtering, tagging and grouping is supported within that module.

DefectsThe pipeline area brings it all together. It is a direct linkage into the build, test and deploy environment. NG ALM provides direct control of those build processes. Out of the box it provides management capabilities of the Jenkins environment.

ngbr9Configuration and customization

With NG ALM HPE provides a modern way to customize the workflow. No more VBA scripting as there is in the current ALM product. Phases and transitions can be added graphically as shown in the following screenshot:

Automatic assignment of tests to application areas can be configured using test assignment rules. Each time a new test matches such a description the test will be automatically assigned to the specified test area.

Summary

NG ALM provides an impressive new approach of HPE into the modern way of developing software. The product can be used with any modern browser which is a big advantage over the existing HPE ALM product. HPE also provides several integrations / synchronizations into its flagship products to allow immediate benefits for early adopters.

New key functionalities are the test automation framework Gherkin and the pipeline approach. They address the move into an agile way of developing software and managing the DevOps challenge.

The product is in a very early phase, therefore customers should expect quite some functionality additions. Specifically, I see the following areas that need to be addressed:

  • Functionality for agile development (e.g.: boards)
  • Functionality for traditional development
  • Integration into other HPE product offerings in the ALM domain
  • Migration for existing users of HPE ALM

Conceptually, there are questions too:

  • What will be the role of traditional requirements in this environment?
  • What are the relationships to business modeling and business process testing?

I will closely monitor how HPE is following up on those challenges and other feedback from the customer community. Stay tuned for more exciting news.

Links to HPE sources about the new beta version:

HPE YouTube: ALM Beta Lifecycle Demonstration
HPE YouTube: Next Generation Application Lifecycle Management Beta Overview
Vivit webinar recording March 22: HPE ALM Beta

Next Generation ALM Beta

On March 19, 2016 HPE has posted two new videos on the YouTube channel of HPE Software about the upcoming beta phase of the product “Next Generation ALM”.

This product is a fully web based ALM solution that targets the enterprise environment. According to HPE it will scale to thousands of users supporting the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).

It is a completely new developed product that addresses the bimodal challenges in IT departments. Bimodal IT as defined by Gartner “is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed.” HPE currently addresses mode 1 with the existing HPE ALM solution. The “Next Gen ALM” targets mode 2.

On March 22 HPE provided a webinar to the Vivit community with the title: HPE ALM Beta

Within that seminar Vandan Nayak Product Manager from HPE announced the start of public beta for March 24, 2016.
The Website for registration is: https://saas.hpe.com/signup/try/alm-beta
The on premise availability for the public beta is scheduled for April 4, 2016.

HPE starts an interesting journey with the “Next Gen ALM” product approach. Watch out for more insights about HPE’s move towards the agile future at agileQC.net in the upcoming weeks.

Links:

HPE YouTube: ALM Beta Lifecycle Demonstration
HPE YouTube: Next Generation Application Lifecycle Management Beta Overview
Vivit Worldwide
Vivit webinar recording March 22: HPE ALM Beta
Gartner on Bimodal IT: Definition, In depth report

Agile Development Practices at HPE

Raffi Margaliot – senior vice president of application delivery management (ADM) at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) – provided  major insights into the future of app delivery at HPE’s Discover 2015 conference in London. On stage he had not only an external consultant to talk about the challenges for future app development and delivery, but also top managers of HPE’s application delivery management organization.

Attendees got insights how HPE itself is dealing with the transformation to an agile organization. Ruli Weisbach is the manager of the ADM development organization and shared with the audience how his organization adopted agile practices during recent years. This is specifically interesting because they work on the product Agile Manager, which supports agile development organizations.

Later on (at 40:35 min) Udi Weinberg the QA manager of ADM provided an additional perspective of HPE’s agile development approach by filling in the quality assurance view.

The full session is available on YouTube. In case you are at a hurry and just want to look at Ruli’s talk, then start looking at video position 28:00 min.

HPE Video from Discover 2015 in London about app delivery:

HP ALM Editions

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) provides five different editions of HP ALM / Quality Center as of December 2015:

  • HP ALM
  • HP Quality Center Enterprise
  • HP ALM Performance Center
  • HP Quality Center Express
  • HP Quality Center Community Edition

Availability of features depend on edition. A quick overview of features by edition is available at the Application Lifecycle Management Help Center: ALM Editions

The feature matrix there provides a comprehensive overview about the capabilities of the five editions. However, for companies newly interested in HP ALM, it still might be a challenge to find out which edition is the right one for them.

In case you need guidance feel free to contact us.

What’s new in HP ALM

HP has established a central online information repository with detailed information about HP ALM. It’s called “Application Lifecycle Management Help Center”. Once you access it via the URL: Go to HP ALM Help Center you will see the Help Center loaded with the latest release information (in this case 12.50)

Starting from this page you will find an excellent collection of information targeted at HP ALM end users and administrators. Moreover, you also get information about previous releases.

 

HP Agile Manager – Public Beta

On October 17, 2012  HP announced public Beta for its upcoming product HP Agile Manager (referenced as HP AM in the following). The Beta program will run until end of November and is a continuation of the private Beta which started in summer 2012 with selected customers.

HP AM is a fully web based solution to plan and execute agile projects. This SaaS solution provides integration capabilities into build and development environments. Using HP AM agile development team members and manager have instant access to project progress and rich possibilities for planning and analytics within agile development programs.

HP AM represents a major step in HPs agile offerings within the application lifecycle management ecosystem. While HP QC already has enabling features for agile development since 2008 there is not a dedicated product available that focuses solely on agile development. As of today two add-on components are offered for agile development: The HP Agile Accelerator and Application Lifecycle Integration (ALI). The Agile Accelerator delivers a specific customization for QC Enterprise or ALM, so that agile teams can start working in QC right away. With ALI HP offers QC users an integration into development and build environments.

HP AM can be used alone, or in combination with other offerings. For the HP QC/ALM community it will be of specific interest to understand how HP leverages its existing environment in combination with the new offering.

In my next blog I will provide a closer look at the beta functionalities of HP AM.

Stay tuned.

New Opportunities for QM

On September 20, 2011 Dr. Andreas Birk and Gerald Heller provided some insights about the opportunities and challenges for testing in agile development organizations at an event at HP Switzerland.

While many test organizations still puzzle how to react on the agile development approach from a testing perspective there is a growing set of experiences on the practice side. Agile methods have a lot of quality practices already built-in. For example, when looking at scrum the following QM related practices are often applied:

However, there are also a couple of activities that present challenges to testing in agile environments:

E.g. Setting up test environments in more complex project contexts might require so much time, that parallel system testing within the development cycle cannot be established. In such situations a testing team needs to find an alternative solution together with the development team, so that the goals of testing can be achieved.

However the top challenges are found where roles and competencies are touched. For example: joint estimation for user stories sounds good, but often testers don’t even participate in sprint planning meetings. And if so, they aren’t allowed to add testing effort to the size of the story. Becoming a full member of the team requires often needs time, where active change management and coaching continuously must address those topics.
The full presentation is available on request.

Peter Vollmer from Hewlett-Packard’s development organization provided interesting insight how HP addresses these challenges in its global agile development context. In particular HP not only uses HP Quality Center, but also the HP Accelerator for agile planning and status tracking. His presentation is available on request.

New Agile Project Management Module

On March 30, 2011 HP hosted an online event called “HP Software Expert Day”. Experts from HP responded 24 hours to questions around Quality Center and ALM raised from the community.

When I skimmed over the questions my eyes stopped at one named “Further development of agile tools”. The author was looking for better agile solutions than those provided today.

The HP expert provided some encouraging words about the future. HP is working on an agile project management module that is targeted for the next major release. Beyond supporting good management of requirements and tests it will also track progress and backlogs with burndown rates.

That sounds promising to me. As HP is pretty late on this I have the hope that it will release finally a cool agile management client which is build on the new REST API, so that it can be used across a variety of platforms.

The information was posted on the HP blog “Quality Center Information and News” on March 30, 2011.