Tell me this: what good is a software application that’s been designed, built, tested, and is ready to go to market if it just lies there until someone in operations is ready to take a look “sometime in the future”? When a company’s development and operations functions are walled off from each other, the process of bringing an application to market bogs down, and it can take months to move a software application through the cycle – and on to profitability.
One of the areas Commentor is working in is Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). Built on Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server (TFS), we’ve streamlined and accelerated the application development process by helping companies to automate their building and testing, integrate to business requirements, and build a continuous delivery system with Microsoft Release Management. However, that acceleration can only happen when an organization’s teams communicate and agree on common goals from the very first steps.
To be truly effective, application lifecycle management has to be in place at the start. When we’re brought in to help with the application development process, the first thing we do is to ask our customer to bring their business people and developers together. We set up a meeting with sales, IT, developers, CTO, CEO, anyone we can get, and sit with them all for a chat – sometimes a very frank one – about the pains and problems they’re facing, what their current situation is, and how we might be able to help them save time and money and beat their competitors to market.
Having open communication and clarity around a common goal works: Bluegarden is the largest provider of payroll and HR administration in Scandinavia, issuing more than 28 million pay slips a year. They have an impeccable reputation and the sort of deep expertise that operating at such a scale brings. However, with numerous projects in development, they found themselves trying to manage lifecycles with a combination of solutions, resulting in having test cases in one place, documentation in a second, source code in a third, and so on. The process was inefficient, expensive, and slow. With the help of Commentor and TFS, Bluegarden was able to streamline workflows and optimize their cooperation structure. And replacing so many different solutions with TFS has saved the company a small fortune on licensing fees.
The need for communication doesn’t end when the goals and structure are agreed on. Because Commentor provides a 360-degree ALM package, we are able to stay with our customer from application creation to release and beyond. Our solution allows for tight integration between business requirements, business cases, and progress on projects – this gives the client live data on which to base real business decisions. Shorter release cycles, the highest possible quality applications, and full transparency in production are all courtesy of a team that works openly and in sync towards a common goal.
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