Look at Application Lifecycle Management during Project Inception

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All projects have a beginning, which could occur in a boardroom, breakroom, or even in a crowded restaurant. During a project’s inception phase various tasks usually take place. Let’s take a look at application lifecycle management (ALM) during this stage of a project and what roles configuration management (CM), quality assurance (QA), and quality control (QC) play.

In the inception phase there are a few items needed from a CM, QA, and QC perspective. 5AM Solutions offers us a list of artifacts that need to be produced during this time, and the company mentions CM, QA, and QC “approaches” as being part of the project plan. The CM approach could be a reference to an organization’s CM plan or a more specific project CM plan. The QA and QC approach is the test plan for the project, which is defined further on 5AM’s website.

I certainly do not disagree with this approach and agree completely that a CM, QA, and QC plan is needed, and these items should be discussed possibly even before inception. So do the roles of CM, QA, and QC run deeper in the inception phase or are we simply to provide two documents (CM Plan and the QA or QC Plan) and wait to be contacted?

In an article on TechRepublic.com the writer suggests that CM is the missing link in many projects and reiterates that “if you fail to establish configuration management (CM) as early as possible,” your project may be setting itself up for failure. The article gives ten steps to ensure successful CM during a project’s inception.

What about QA and QC? Since there may not be a product to test or processes to audit, should you also have a QA and QC mindset during a project’s beginning? A white paper from Borland discusses this topic at great length, and the writers call this approach “Continuous Quality Assurance.” I like this idea because it removes the false teaching that QA and QC should only be concerned and involved once a viable product is delivered. Borland’s theory of Continuous QA sounds a lot like test-driven development—an agile concept.

This idea was confirmed on aoemedia.com in which the authors discuss how test-driven development is used during a project’s inception. On ambysoft.com, the authors further breakdown the importance of QA and QC by reinforcing the idea that testing should occur early and frequently during a project’s lifecycle.

Do you involve CM, QA, and QC early in your projects or are they an afterthought?

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Joe Townsend

Joe Townsend has been in the configuration management field for twelve years. He has worked for CNA Life Insurance, RCA, Boeing, UPS, and in state government. Joe has primarily worked with Serena tools, including PVCS Version Manager, Tracker, TeamTrack (Mashups), and Dimensions. He is an administrator for WebFocus and supports Eclipse users.