The world changes. I know. But do I have to accept it? I’m exercised right now about the fall of ALM.

The way I see it, once upon a time, there were Development and Operations. Ops stayed operations, but Dev had to have processes. We came to see the overall passage of an application from inception to retirement as a lifecycle. Somewhere along the line, someone started calling it the SDLC – the System Development Life Cycle. Seemed reasonable enough from the point of developers.

But then people noticed that a development-centric view of software applications didn’t tell the whole story. In fact, most applications spent most of their lifecycle in production in the hands of Operations. Ops too now needed processes and those became Service Management (SM), as defined by ITIL.

Meanwhile managers trying to manage IT created PO’s, which were first Project Offices, then Program Offices and finally Purchase Orders as they sent their IT off to be developed, test and run elsewhere in exotic, far distant lands. For that they then needed Governance and PPM – Project Portfolio Management.

My soup seems very heavy on peas.

Let’s get back to A’s as in ALM. Noticing that SDLC and SM created silos within IT that were hard to manage, the PO’s and PPM seemed to call for a more integrated management approach, which I have understood until very recently as Application Lifecycle Management – ALM. But now something else has happened.

I think it is the ‘eating an elephant’ effect. ALM was just too big as it was and enterprise IT management software vendors – like HP and IBM – just couldn’t get their customers to swallow it whole. But they couldn’t renounce ALM either. What do they do? They demote it. Make it smaller and easier to swallow.

ALM is now the new SDLC. SM is still SM and we have a new bit of glue trying to improve the interaction across organizational silos: DevOps. DevOps doesn’t sound very glue-like and I’m surprised it has not yet become DO, although I’m really rather worried that it will actually DO nothing to improve matters.

Demoting ALM now also seems to mean that any small player in the market with a basic SDLC solution can now punch above their weight. They can call it an ALM solution. The big hitters have downgraded ALM, placing it well within the little guys’ reach. Who’s to argue?

I just have to shut up and eat my soup. Pesky pastas!