ALM ToolsIn a recent exchange, I was asked what the typical ALM tools do to address three key challenges around process improvement and compliance in software/ IT organizations, and more specifically, what we at Digité do about them. I felt these would be of interest to others as well, so here is a summary of that exchange. Most tools lack any (effort) estimation capability and most estimates falter. This is one area that remains a challenge for most organizations and application/ software projects are notorious for not meeting their original effort/ cost/ time estimates.

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Tales of LeanTime Management has always been a much talked about subject of management. Jim Rohn said “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” Yet, software engineering has always understated the importance of time. In most organizations, time sheets are filed casually. I don’t know of too many developers who can honestly say that they file time accurately. As I tried to analyze the problem from my own experience...

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Tales of LeanAt Digité, we have been a web-based application right from the start. Before Cloud, before SaaS, there was ASP – and our initial product launch was as an ASP – Application Service Provider. As luck would have it, a majority of our customers preferred to host the application 'on-premise' and simply wanted to buy the license from us. This worked very well for us – because it gave us invaluable experience in a variety of areas, from the challenges of implementing an enterprise software across the organization.

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DigitéAs a Testing manager in Digité, I am perhaps best placed to share Digité Enterprise's impact on my team's and my work. Prior to using Digité, we used to manage our test inventory in Excel sheets – which is how a lot of organizations and teams still manage their test repository. These were multiple sheets that were organized module-wise. Test results were similarly tracked in Excel and we would depend on a combination of filters/ pivot tables in Excel to help us identify the failures, resubmit them for execution, etc.

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Tales of LeanIn an indication of the growing ranks of software product/ engineering companies in India, Nasscom – India's premier software industry association – organized its 3rd Annual Product Enclave, in India's Silicon Valley – Bangalore. I was there to represent Digite there along with my colleagues. The theme at this year's conference was "Positioning to Win" – and underscored the need for software companies to establish their brand globally through innovation – both in product and marketing – and thought-leadership.

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ALM ToolsRecently, I got asked this question by a prospect – a large bank's SEPG head. Their exact question was – How does Digité help with the developer experience? Clearly, Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools have made the life of the PMO, the SEPG, the Quality group, the Project Managers and the executive management better. But how do they benefit the folks doing the actual development?!

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ALM ToolMany of our customers ask the question - why have ALM tools not become a project necessity? Why are they not more “visible”? Are you one of those still wondering if YOU need one? Let me give you some real data from our own example using Digité Enterprise to help you decide.Our code base is 1.4M LOC, certified on 2 databases, 2 app servers on 2 Operating Systems. That means 8 stack combinations, ignoring that we run on both IE and FF.

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PPM I have spent a lot of time over the last 10 years discussing or working with a large number of our customers who have moved away from the ‘traditional’ methods of managing software projects to a more centralized and “institutional” method. An overwhelmingly large number of these companies have evaluated Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tools as their first option for moving away from their disparate solutions, which usually would be a combination of MS Project on the desktop, email, spreadsheets and a lot of hand-waving!

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Tales of LeanThe topic of Requirements and Change Management continues to spark enthusiastic debate and discussion amongst the software community. And for obvious reasons! I was talking to an industry analyst recently – and he himself drew attention to the fact that software requirements are so hard to do, unlike a bridge or a tunnel or building - where requirements were so much easier to define. Absolutely!

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digiteCame across this wonderful presentation on product design by Peter Merholz of Adaptive Path. Please take some time to go through it as it will certainly be useful to you at some point in your career. Here are my notes from the presentation. These points would be much more clear if you see the presentation where Peter gives some very interesting examples to support it...

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