PMLC, ALM, and Configuration Management

Posted by Sam Lee

Acronym Soup - Project Management, Application Development, and Operations Methodologies

The art of the Project Management Life-Cycle (PMLC) has come a long way towards becoming an accepted methodology with regards to oversight of any long-term activity across all organizations. PMLC has been fine tuned and honed into a near flawless plan of action, applicable in various enterprises, ranging from the largest of conglomerates to the smallest of businesses. Adequate training offered to staff at all levels, from those involved in development to those charged with rollout and testing has perfected the approach. Rampant successes in the achievement of effective project management has led to its convergence with other project oriented management schools of thought. A fusion of the ideas and methods, advanced with those of SDLC, has inculcated the value principles into the science of systems development in Information Technology. The adoption of the blueprint created has led to its substantially successful application to other areas such as Application Life-cycle Management. It stresses the exertion of immense efforts and thoroughness in the preparatory stages of any project. PMLC ensures that a sturdy foundation has been laid. This plays a hand in guaranteeing faster completion times, adherence to budgets and achievement of the rigorous standards and requirements set by the customer. It provides an effective means of evaluating the procedures, introducing an angle of predictability of results as an attribute of the quality of work carried out in the past phases.


In regard to information management, the development of the ITIL was a revelation. Now the universal and conventional approach to IT service management, it is the "best practice" set of principles for this industry. Driven by principles stressing continuous improvement of processes, it marries well with the PMLC and SDLC in this regard. The IT Infrastructure Library set of practices advocate for a perfect alignment of IT services with business needs and catering to its essential processes. The convergence of these processes with the development of projects has entirely revolutionized information management. It comprises an incredibly elaborate means of instituting checks and controls over all aspects of the development processes, based on a series of Key Performance Index measures. Ultimately, these have led to the development of superior systems, with unmatched service provision capacity, at very favorable costs. The impacts of this on productivity are immense, with the prime objective; delivery of third party services being achieved almost effortlessly. Enterprises of all sizes and orientation have adopted this blueprint in their systems development projects, which is championed by key players in the industry. It will continue to be an essential part of system and application lifecycle management, owing to its successful execution across the board.

Configuration Management

An integral concept following in the success of the ITIL is the science of Configuration Management. It is the art of maintaining a seamlessly interrelated web of configuration items within the information system. A consequence of this is the configuration management database, which may be viewed as a store of descriptions of all managed resources, records, and components. It consists of a detail-oriented map of individual items, to such an extent that faults can be traced to their exact cause and location. The magnitude of the implications of the fault can therefore be mitigated with ease. The objective of the CMDB is to enhance a comprehension of the entire information system framework. It essentially stores the entirety of the configuration items within the system's life, highlighting its all-important role in ALM. The CMDB's should always be up to date, which will go a long way towards eliminating configuration drift; the tendency of components of the system to fall out of place as they move up the architectural hierarchy. They play a pivotal role during the testing phases. Unit testing for infrastructure suitability is bound to be enhanced, ensuring minimum configuration drift. These serve to ensure that the system passes configuration and release tests, guaranteeing successful rollout and implementation. The benefits of a CMDB-based approach are not restricted to only the creation of fully functional and flexible systems. The following may be attributed, directly or indirectly:

* Seamless incident and problem management, owing to the traceability of faults and failures to the smallest of elements.

* Knowledge and asset management.

* Change Management, on account of the rigorous testing procedures made possible by configuration management, guaranteeing extended up-times, even in the face of transformations.

* Improved service delivery; they perfectly complement the IT infrastructure Library set of accepted principles and practices, which are geared towards the creation of service-oriented systems.

* Adequate and consistent reporting; as a consequence of the superior detail exhibited by the Configuration Database, which serves to improve compliance to audit procedures.


Another area of convergence between the two concepts lies in their preferences towards automation of manually executed procedures. Their successes may in fact be seen to originate from the extent to which the application of computer-based technologies has occurred. Indeed, the belief in the consistency and accuracy of computers, coupled with their ability to rapidly generate required results has led to unmatched efficacy and efficiency of the development processes. Various software have been developed in this regard, each bringing to the market an innovative means to achieve the once humanly impossible task of creating and running flawless information systems.

Puppet, for instance, is the most common open source software, and may be viewed as the developer's ultimate development tool. The easy to understand declarative language imparts cutting edge capabilities to any system. It is also credited for its unmatched compatibility, seamlessly working across all platforms. Another language, which has come across to enhance capabilities in a vastly improved cloud computing environment, is Chef. It combines the elements of configuration management with considerable service orientation, leading to the development of a fully automated infrastructure. Another perfect automation partner in IT geared PMLC is the UpGuard software, which brings to the table unmatched benefits. It entails the creation of user specific testing modes, as well as the added ability to collaborate with other stakeholders on tests. UpGuard is therefore is an ideal go-to application development solutions provider, with functionalities that are second to none.

The development of applications and systems is not a haphazard endeavor. It must adhere to various stringent conditions to ensure an acceptable level of quality at the end of the process. An elaborate means of evaluation, in addition to the required levels of technology are necessary for the dynamic, fool-proof system.

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