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ALM Overview – Usage, History, Editions, Workflow, & QA Testing Roles

Please leave a comment below if you want me to cover anything specific about ALM.

ALM stands for Application Lifecycle Management. ALM Quality Center (QC) is the set of tools used along with manual testing to keep record of your test process, execution, results, etc.

ALM is essentially the process of managing an application from its inception to its demise through all phases of the SDLC. The ALM software helps this process.

HP ALM Quality Center (QC) was initially a test management tool developed by Mercury Interactive. Quality Center is now developed by HP as a tool for Application Life Cycle Management (ALM) that supports various software development phases of a software’s lifecycle.

HP ALM QC is a web based tool that helps organizations to manage the applications lifecycle right from the project planning, requirements gathering, unit testing & deployment etc.

HP ALM QC also provides integration to all other hp products such as QTP and Load Runner.

Why use HP ALM?

The group of people , or team players, that work together to develop a piece of software include: Developers, Testers, Business Analysts, Product Owners, Project Managers. They need a system to keep track of each other and make sure that they are documenting their all the details and communicating with each other. This is where the HP ALM QC software comes in.

If we don’t use a centralized repository to maintain and track all the things related to the product, the product will fail due to a lack organization. Ie. You can’t build a skyscraper is everyone is doing their own thing, and the head architect is not communicating with the construction workers. You’ve got to have everyone follow the same plan in order for the skyscraper or building to be built correctly.

So HP ALM QC serves as a medium for documentation of the product details and a way to make sure that every player does their assigned part properly & communicates with each other as a team. HP ALM QC tracks & reports the actions of each player, integrates the duties of each player for each project or task, enables project analysis and effective management. HP ALM QC connects to email systems to send email notifications to the project players.

History of Quality Center

Quality Center used to be known as “Test Director” by mercury interactive. But in 2008 the version 8 of Test Director was released, being renamed “Quality Center” by Mercury. Later on, HP acquired Quality Center from Mercury and renamed/re-branded Quality Center as an “HP” product, specifically “HP Quality Center”. In 2011 version 11 of HP Quality Center was released, and also renamed to “HP ALM”.

HP ALM Editions

HP ALM is a commercially license tool that comes in 4 different types. There is HP ALM, HP ALM Essentials, HP QC Enterprise Edition, and HP Performance Center Edition. Each license type offers a different range of useful functions.

HP ALM is the full package and does not exclude anything. HP ALM supports the entire development and test life cycle. On the other hand, HP ALM Essentials provides only the basic features corporations need for supporting the software lifecycle. It has access to requirements management, test management, and defect management. The HP QC Enterprise Edition is exclusively for testing purposes, and provides integration with QTP. The HP ALM Performance Center Edition is for driving HP Load Runner scripts, and helps the user to maintain, manage, schedule, execute, and monitor performance tests.

ALM Workflow

ALM workflow begins with planning and drafting. Then Release Specifications. Determine the number of cycles for each release and the scope of each release. For a given release and cycle, we draft the requirement specifications. Based on the requirements, Test Plans and Test cases are made. The next stage is executing the Test Plans, or Test Execution. Then the next stage is tracking and fixing the defects detected in the Test Execution stage.

Manual Testing Roles in ALM

There are 3 roles as a manual tester within ALM:

  1. Site Admin: Make projects. Like on Amazon or Gmail. Gmail, Chrome are some of Google’s projects. Others include Android, made and managed by Google. Every single company has projects like that. As a site admin, you are the admin or owner. You are going to create projects, you are going to assign users to those projects, and you are going to make usernames and passwords. You are going to assign those users to the projects. You are going to assign privileges to those users. One of those users you are going to make project admin. Another user you make as a regular user.
  2. Project Admin: We are going to learn about handling the project […] Project Admin is an admin for an individual project. So the project admin will make new users or assign users […] like every single project has different sections. Like gmail. Gmail has only 1 functionality or 1 feature? No, sending message, attachments, and so many other things. Features and Functions for gmail. So what will project admin do? Project Admin will assign users to different features or functionalities to test. Project Admins also usually make requirements within ALM. And assign those requirements to the users, telling them that, ‘You need to fulfill these requirements, you need to test based on those requirements, you need to check that everything is working on this section’.
  3. User: So now as a user, whatever the new project admin gives you or provides you to do or tells you to do, that’s what you are going to do. As a user you are going to create tests, right? And design the test steps. […] The most important part as a tester – why do we get hired, do you know? Exactly, to find the problems. If the software that they build to see, they hired you to test individual projects, or [to see] if the application has any problems. Because they want to push as many bugs as they can, before they release the product. Remember, testers act right before the production phase. Because before they go to the production, they want to make sure everything is ok. As much as possible. So the user is going to report if there is any problems, or you are going to log the problem inside of ALM. So your project or site admin can take a look that there is a problem in this specific project, inside of this specific section of the project. And we need to solve it. The developer may be able to take a look to. So after the problem is found, you are going to submit it.

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