What is application lifecycle management? Learn about application lifecycle stages
April 17, 2018

What Is Application Lifecycle Management?

Application Lifecycle Management

Application lifecycle management has been around for a long time. But, what exactly is it?

What Is Application Lifecycle Management?

Application lifecycle management is the process of managing the life of a product from initial concepts through end of life. It’s often abbreviated ALM.

A lot happens in the life of a product (or application or software).

Let’s say your organization has an idea for a product. There are processes that the idea needs to go through before it can become a product. Application lifecycle management is used to manage those processes.

ALM helps you:

  • Outline requirements.
  • Design and build the product.
  • Test it thoroughly.
  • Resolve bugs.
  • Deploy the product.
  • Perform ongoing maintenance to improve the product.

Is ALM Only For Waterfall Teams?

Application lifecycle management can be used with any development methodology.

That’s because ALM is the framework. It takes on the characteristics of whatever methodology you’re using. That means you can follow traditional methods, like Waterfall. Or you can do ALM using Agile methodologies.

No matter which methodology you use, the principles of application lifecycle management — integration, collaboration, and visibility — hold true.

ALM vs. SDLC: Are They the Same?

Application lifecycle management (ALM) is not the same as the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

ALM covers the entire life of an application, from the initial idea until the end of life. SDLC only covers the development of an application. So, ALM inherently includes SDLC. But SDLC only covers a fraction of ALM.

What Are the Application Lifecycle Stages?

There are typically three stages of application lifecycle management.

1. Requirements Definition and Design

Requirements definition and design — sometimes known as governance — is an important stage of the application lifecycle. In DevOps, this covers the “plan” and “create” phases.

This is where you gather requirements. Requirements will include everything from business requirements from your stakeholders to compliance requirements from regulatory bodies.

It’s also where you design the application, based on those needs. It’s important to get this phase right in order to produce the best possible product.

2. Development

Development is where your idea transforms into an application. This is also where SDLC factors into ALM. In DevOps, this phase covers “verify” and “preprod”.

In this stage, the product is built, tested, and deployed. Those efforts are repeated until the product is ready for release.

For Agile development, this is typically done in sprints. Features are continuously coded, tested, and deployed to accelerate the development lifecycle.

3. Operations and Maintenance

Operations and maintenance is the phase where you monitor and manage your deployed application. In DevOps, this phase covers “release”, “config”, and “monitor”.

In this stage, you find and resolve bugs. And you plan and prioritize the next updates to the product.

Why Is Application Lifecycle Management Important?

Application lifecycle management is important for delivering quality releases on time.

It helps you set the right requirements — and make sure they are met. It helps you improve the development process — and make sure your product is thoroughly tested as you go. And, most important, it helps everyone on your team stay on the same page.

The most effective application lifecycle management is done by using ALM tools. The best ALM tools will cover your entire project lifecycle, from end to end. And integrating ALM tools into your development process will be the best way to get visibility — and traceability — across the development lifecycle.

Benefits of Application Lifecycle Management

Application lifecycle management comes with several benefits for your development team — and your business.

Here are the top four you can expect if you do ALM effectively.

Faster Releases

One of the biggest benefits of application lifecycle management is faster releases. After all, the sooner customers get your product, the better.

By doing ALM with the right tools, you’ll be able to effectively plan your release and get the best possible product to market on time.

Quality Products

One of the biggest risks of fast-paced release cycles is that you’ll sacrifice quality in the process. After all, if you’re rushing a product out the door, you’re bound to miss a bug — right?

That’s not the case when you’re doing application lifecycle management. Effective ALM comes with the benefit of quality products and faster releases.


Proving compliance is difficult if you try to create a traceability matrix after the fact. After all, proving that a requirement was met or a test was run is nearly impossible if you don’t have an audit trail.

Another top benefit of application lifecycle management is the ability to create a traceability matrix as you develop. This ensures that you’re on track to compliance throughout development. (And it saves you from a lot of headaches later on.)


Many development teams lack comprehensive visibility across the project lifecycle. Doing application lifecycle management with the right tools gives you that visibility.

You’ll know how many requirements have been met — and how many remain. You’ll know how far along your product development (or sprint) is and what has been tested. And that helps you keep up-to-date if or when things change.

Learn More About Application Lifecycle Management

The best way to do application lifecycle management is with the help of an effective ALM tool. Find out how solutions designed to cover the entire application lifecycle will help you deliver quality software faster.

Explore ALM Solutions