Top 12 Application Lifecycle Management Tools (ALM) in 2021

by Inflectra on

What is Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)

Application lifecycle management (ALM) is a framework that covers human, technical, management resources and processes that support the entire life cycle of an application - from concept to maintenance and retirement. ALM is comprehensive in its scope and includes governance, development, maintenance, and decommissioning of software:

  • Governance refers to requirements management, resource management, data security, user access, change tracking, review, audit, deployment control, and rollback.
  • Application development includes identifying problems, and planning, design, building, and testing the application. 
  • Maintenance focuses on deployment of the app and maintenance of optional and dependent technologies.

ALM often integrates agile and DevOps approaches and supports continuous delivery of software. 

There are many benefits to using ALM. It provides a clear direction before software is built. Using the ALM approach, companies can develop the business case, estimate and plan resources, and map the lifespan of the software before committing to development. ALM allows for speed and agility by fostering an integrated view of processes, improved collaboration and communication. ALM helps align software development, deployment, maintenance and support with larger business goals. It enables better decision-making through features like version control and real-time planning for quick and decisive mapping of scenarios.

Application Lifecycle Management Tools

ALM tools are often thought of as project management tools that bring people and processes together. These tools support functionality that enables effective governance, development, maintenance, and decommissioning of software. 

Here are the top 12 ALM tools available on the market in 2021: 

#1. SpiraTeam

SpiraTeam is Inflectra's award-winning ALM solution that helps teams manage their program's requirements, releases, iterations, tasks, defects, and code in one environment, with complete traceability. SpiraTeam’s requirements and test case management modules come with fully customizable workflows. The solution is great for project portfolio management, program planning and baseline management and offers robust configuration and version control for artifacts. Bug, issue, and task tracking is easy and makes the work of QA teams a breeze. SpiraTeam’s features for electronic signatures and document collaboration are especially valuable for companies working in the regulated industries. 

#2. Microsoft’s ALM Suite with Visual Studio

Microsoft’s ALM suite uses Visual Studio, which is one of the most-used integrated development environments in the developer community. Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server (TFS) provides good version control and configuration functionality. Due to the fact that Visual Studio lacks in requirements management, TFS can be easily integrated with HP’s products in order to take advantage of HP’s capabilities in this regard. Microsoft’s ALM suite is a particularly good choice for organizations that use a .NET framework because many .NET developers use Visual Studio and also tend to enjoy using TFS. 

#3. IBM’s Rational 

IBM offers several products for its ALM solution. Some of these are: CLM for collaborative lifecycle management; the Engineering Workflow Management tool for managing workflows; Continuous Delivery cloud service for automating software builds and tests, Engineering Lifecycle Management Base for managing requirements, quality, changes, project plans and tracking, and others. IBM products support both Agile and Waterfall methodologies and integrate with IBM Tivoli to support continuous integration. These features make IBM products a good choice for organizations needing to integrate diverse processes. The product is an older one with a lot of legacy support, but IBM has kept it up-to-date, aligning with ALM emerging trends. 

#4. Rally (CA Agile Central)

Rally (formerly CA Agile Central, formerly Rally!) is the top ALM tool for businesses that use Agile methods. Its project management features, including resource planning, are designed with Agile in mind. It is also a great ALM tool for testing. Rally provides collaboration functionality through Flowdock, which has chat and email features. Rally supports the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and offers Agile-specific analytics and metrics based on the Software Development Performance Index. It provides both on-premises and SaaS options.

#5. JIRA + Confluence + Stash + Bamboo

By combining a few products from Atlassian suite like JIRA Software, Confluence, Stash (Bitbucket Server) and Bamboo a competent and full-service ALM tool has been designed. JIRA Software is used to plan and track projects and their corresponding issues. Confluence is a collaboration tool for document and knowledge management. Bitbucket Server is a Git-powered code repository that collaborates using requests and inline comments. Bamboo Server is used for integration, programmed build & testing, deployment, and delivery. 

#6. Polarion ALM 

Polarion ALM by Siemens is full enterprise-level ALM software built to connect teams and people to improve the application development process. Polarion makes new projects easy by providing the ability to reuse or branch your data (or code) for similar projects or product lines. Securely share data and set user permissions.

#7. CodeBeamer

CodeBeamer is a fully-integrated ALM platform by Intland Software. It covers every step of the application process including Requirements, Software & Hardware Development, QA & Test Management, and Release & DevOps. It provides enterprise-level agile scalability to ensure applications can grow as rapidly as you grow. CodeBeamer lets you easily collaborate with a team of engineers. Seamlessly export documents right from codeBeamer to Word or Excel for quick data analysis or presentations. 

#8. Kovair ALM Studio 

Kovair is a full ALM tool taking you from early-stage Requirements to Release and DevOps. It integrates with over 70 other ALM and IT tools. Kovair is a 100% web-based solution that makes for a much easier customer support system. Real-time notifications help keep teams on top of every stage of the process.

#9. offers VersionOne for enterprise agile planning and TeamForge for application lifecycle management. VersionOne can help teams envision, plan, and deliver software. TeamForge is an application development, collaboration, and delivery platform that supports a variety of workflows and frameworks such as agile, waterfall, and hybrid development methodologies.

#10. MicroFocus ALM

MicroFocus ALM is Lean, Agile and DevOps software that allows teams of all sizes to deliver high-quality apps with greater speed. MicroFocus ALM m allows stakeholders to interact and coordinate, to achieve the project goals. It provides robust tracking & reporting and seamless integration of various project related tasks. MicroFocus ALM can connect to email systems and send emails to team members


SwiftALM is a collaborative platform for IT Program, Project and Process Governance. SwiftALM aligns IT goals with corporate strategies. SwiftALM boasts the sophisticated organization modelling and access control features with the ability to perform multiple levels of information drill down. With SwiftALM you can set up the resources, processes, and projects, control access to plans and reports. The tool has a highly configurable and flexible application architecture and advanced analytics technologies to increase productivity, quality and delivery.

#12. Targetprocess 

Targetprocess helps agile teams scale, providing support for LeSS, SAFe and the custom agile frameworks. Targetprocess is perfect for small to mid-sized companies who aim to scale quickly. It supplies an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface with tools for workflow configuration, requirements management, task management, web-based administration, and reporting at the portfolio, program, and product levels. Additionally, they offer a Service Desk standalone app that enables issue management in the same standard environment as your development.

Additional ALM Solutions

In addition to the tools that made our top 12 list, here are some other tools that are worth considering depending on your specific needs, budget and industry:

  • AccelQ
  • Aldon
  • ALM Complete
  • Apprenda
  • ConnectALL
  • DevSuite
  • Helix ALM
  • JAMA
  • McCabe CM
  • Modern Requirements4DevOps
  • OneOps
  • Orcanos
  • Planview Leankit
  • PractiTest
  • qTest
  • Relution
  • Rocket Aldon
  • Tupeal 
  • Visure

Additional Resources

If you are interested in learning more about ALM tools, how it can improve your application lifecycle management, check out these additional resources:

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