Agile development flow
If your team uses the Agile development methodology, ALM Octane can be used to seamlessly manage your development processes.
Typically, the Agile development process follows steps like these:
In day-to-day work, the process looks more like this:
This process repeats multiple times, through continuous delivery of a releasable push on regular, short intervals, or through multiple sprints in a traditional release.
The first step in any Agile development involves planning. Because Agile is heavily focused on regular delivery of useable, high-quality features and products, clear planning and a knowledge of what needs to be delivered is essential.
In ALM Octane, you can do the following in the Agile plan stage:
Before the product owner creates the product backlog, or in tandem, it is important to define the workflow for each type of backlog item. This enables you to specify and enforce:
How backlog items will proceed through your development cycle. This is important to ensure that all parties, the product manager, developers, QA, and scrum masters, are working in the same manner.
How an item moves to being finished ("Done is Done")
In addition, you can specify rules for completion of a phase, when an item is Done, and so on.
In addition, in order to commit to finishing backlog items in a particular release or sprint, you must know how much work a team and an individual can finish in the upcoming development period.
When a team is created in the workspace Settings area, the workspace administrator specifies:
The expected velocity for the team (which can change per development period/sprint)
The capacity per team member
These numbers are then calculated and the sum is available in the Backlog and Team Backlog modules to help you ensure that the work assigned does not exceed the available time.
For details on planning velocity and capacity, see Balance release and sprint workloads.
When beginning the product, and on a continual basis, the product owner creates and maintains the product backlog. The Backlog is fluid, always adjusting to changing priorities.
In ALM Octane, the backlog is maintained in the Backlog module. Use the Backlog module to:
Create Epics that specify the large-scale part of your applications
Create Features for each deliverable part of the product
Create Stories for each item that must be developed
Organize Epics, Features, and Stories in a meaningful way that displays your product development logic and hierarchy
Once you have created the product backlog structure, you can decide when to develop and release different items.
For details on using the Backlog, see Backlog management and release quality
The product owner continually updates the Backlog, adding and ranking backlog items as priorities change. This enables your development teams to select the most relevant backlog items when they come to plan releases and sprints.
ALM Octane contains a number of ways to help you prioritize:
Rank can be displayed as part of the backlog lists or grids.
Rank is retained between ALM Octane sessions, preventing you from having to redo or duplicate your work.
You can re-rank simply by dragging and dropping items within the list or grid.
You can also re-rank by manually entering a rank number in the Rank column.
If your organization uses the WSJF methodology, WSJF fields are available for use in Backlog items.
After you create the full Backlog, you have to plan each release (if you do longer period releases) or sprint. At each release and sprint planning meeting, you select and assign Backlog items.
ALM Octane has multiple ways of assigning backlog items to releases, sprints, and teams:
Directly from the Details tab of any item
By dragging the item from the list/grid view into a release bucket displayed in the Planning tab at the right side of the Backlog module window
In addition to assigning Backlog items to releases or sprints, you also assign them to a person depending on the decision of the members of the sprint planning meeting.
During the sprint planning meeting, as part of planning features and stories for a sprint, you also assign work items to a user:
Directly from the Details tab of any item
In the Team Backlog module, drag the item from the list/grid view into a team member bucket at the right side of the Backlog module window:
After you decide what to deliver in a selected period (whether that is a release, push, or other cycle), you must develop and build the assigned features and stories. In ALM Octane this is done through:
As you work on backlog items, it is important to demonstrate progress. This is especially true if you are using daily scrum meetings where the goal is to figure out what is done and what is to be done next (as well as issues blocking you from finishing something).
While working, move the phase within the backlog item itself:
These phases are the workflow phases created by the workspace administrator during your planning phase.
Keeping the backlog item phase up-to-date ensures that you get an accurate reflection of the release's overall progress toward its completion.
For details on workflow phases, see Advance the phase of an item
When working on a backlog item during an Agile development period, it is often helpful to break down the item into manageable tasks. To do that, ALM Octane provides a task list/task board to manage tasks:
- From the Tasks tab in the Backlog module (when a story or defect is selected in the Backlog tree) or from the Details tab inside a story or defect.
- From the Tasks tab of the Team Backlog module.
For details on managing individual backlogs, including using the Task Board, see Work on your stories.
During the development period you should track individual progress to make sure all parts of the team are progressing toward the stated sprint or release goals:
In the Backlog list or grid, you can see the story progress when you select an epic or feature in the Backlog tree or open the epic/feature details.
In the Team Backlog module, there are graphs for overall team progress and individual team member progress for the period selected in the filters.
The Dashboard module also enables you to create custom graphs to reflect progress as needed.
In addition to viewing that each individual part of the development team is progressing as planned for the given sprint or release, you can also check overall progress, for all teams or team members.
You can add widgets to the Dashboard, such a Stories Cumulative Flow graph, Burn Up and Burn Down widgets, and so on.
In order to deliver high-quality features, you must continuously test delivered content in conjunction with the feature and story development. In ALM Octane there are a number of ways to ensure you perform adequate testing:
You can run tests in a number of ways:
Manually launch a test run from an individual test or test suite
Schedule (plan) a test run of a test or test suite
Attach the tests to your continuous integration server and run the tests as part of a regular build process
Part of building your application includes ensuring that new development does not break the application's current features. Time spent fixing already existing parts of an application is valuable time when using Agile development practices.
However, if you include running tests as part of your regular application build processes, or pipelines, you can add these pipelines to ALM Octane. You can then see the details and results of the build jobs and any tests they ran. This enables you to have a regular, ongoing report of the overall status of your application's development and quality.
Details on the build processes are displayed in the Pipelines module:
The overall build flow for your application
Success or failure of these build processes
Connection of build activities and source code commits to existing items
For details on the Pipelines module, see Pipelines: CI server & SCM system integration.
After running tests, view the test results to see successes and explore reasons for failure.
You can automatically view test results from manual and Gherkin tests run in ALM Octane, and you can also automatically upload test results from other testing tools to ALM Octane. Once the tests run and the test results are available, you view the results directly inside the ALM Octane test item.
While running tests or analyzing tests results, if you find issues or errors in your application, you should open defects on these issues. This enables you to use the errors and issues found with testing to improve the quality of the existing features and development. Furthermore, these defects can be added as backlog items, which helps your development team more adequately balance new development efforts and improving product quality.
You can open defects in a number of different places:
In the Backlog module in the same way as an Epic, Feature, or User Story
From the Defects module
From the test details, as part of the test run
As you develop, in an effort to deliver higher quality features faster, monitor the application's quality. You can view this information both in terms of test results and defects still open.
ALM Octane provides a number of widgets with this information. You can view these widgets in:
The Overview tab of the Backlog module
The Overview tab of the Quality module
In addition to viewing global application quality, you should view the overall quality for the release on which you are currently working. Many of the widgets available from the Overview tabs of the Backlog and Quality modules also have per-release settings or are specific to a certain release.
For details on configuring dashboard widgets, see Use the ALM Octane Dashboard.
After completing a release or sprint, you often have a retrospective to present what was done, and review how the development period (release or sprint) went. You can also track the metrics for the time period in the retrospective meeting. Then, after you have decided that you have completed all assigned backlog items for a given release, and tested the delivered content, you are ready to release the application or its features to customers.
Use the feedback from these releases to inform future planning.