Business Software

HP ALM Does the Kanban

Heeding the needs of "agile" programming devotees, Hewlett-Packard has augmented its Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) suite to allow application development managers to use an emerging development methodology called Kanban.

"Kanban is basically keeping everything on sticky notes. We can actually do that in the graphical user interface," said Kelly Emo, who runs the HP product marketing team for ALM. "In ALM, you see the yellow stickies, and you click on them and all the information -- the user story, the outstanding defects, the code -- is exposed for you."

The Kanban interface is one of a number of enhancements to its ALM suite that HP released Tuesday, all in support of speeding the development time of applications. Thanks to Google and Facebook, "business users are expecting to not have to wait six or nine months for new capabilities," Emo said.

First developed by David Anderson, the Kanban approach focuses on making small, incremental changes and visualizing the process workflow. An increasing number of development teams are finding Kanban to work well in an agile programming environment. HP has noticed "an uptake in the agile methodology, as organizations [try] to deliver capabilities much faster than they did before," Emo said.

HP has embedded a Kanban interface into its HP Agile Accelerator, an ALM add-on, so its interface can more closely resemble a Kanban process, Emo said. ALM is HP's software for shepherding new software through the entire development cycle, including requirements management, performance testing and developer management.

This feature will allow developers to form a virtual team from geographically dispersed participants. "You can have a virtual agile meeting, using ALM to tie everyone together," Emo said.

In addition to the Agile Accelerator update, HP has released other embellishments for ALM. One is HP Service Virtualization, a new offering that allows managers to simulate the testing of new composite applications into a cloud computing environment. "There is a rapid proliferation of composite applications. This architectural style creates unique challenges in how to deliver applications," Emo said.

Another is an update to Application Lifecycle Intelligence (ALI), which will allow developers to annotate the code they have changed, so it can provide more information for managers interested in the progress of the software being developed. Organizations will be able to better track how well the software is aligning to the requirements and compliance mandates, how well it is doing in testing and how many defects are being fixed, Emo said.

The software can import information from any one of a number of code management tools, such as Subversion, Hudson, Jenkins and Microsoft Visual Studio. "ALI delivers an integration framework and a mapping and reporting capability so organizations can see specifically what is going on [in] the developer environment," Emo said.

HP is not alone in its implementation of Kanban. ALM software provider Rally also incorporates a Kanban board in its AgileZen collaboration tool.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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