Perforce – Helix ALM
Facing fierce competition and increasingly tight deadlines, organizations must deliver quality software releases on time, and they need a good Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tool to help them meet all requirements. One such tool is Helix ALM, and many organizations want to know whether it’s the right choice for them.
What Is Helix ALM?
Formerly known as TestTrack, Helix ALM is a modular ALM software tool developed by a company called Perforce, a Minnesota-based developer of software used for application development, including version control software, web-based repository management, developer collaboration, application lifecycle management, and Agile planning software.
Helix ALM consists of three tightly integrated modules:
- HelixRM: a requirement management module that allows users to capture requirements, perform requirements reviews, know what requirements are approved, and stay aware of requirements change.
- HelixIM: an issue management module that allows users to create, prioritize, and manage every issue. HelixIM removes the burned of manual status tracking, and it provides dashboards, task boards, and customizable reports.
- HelixTCM: a test management module whose purpose is to help users write, execute, and track test cases. HelixTCM reduces manual work for testing and creates consistency across tests and projects, making teams more efficient and software more reliable.
Helix ALM uses the client-server model. The job of the server is to manage a centralized database with requirements, test cases, and work items, and other information. The server then communicates this information to Helix ALM clients.
Main Features of Helix ALM
As a full-featured ALM software tool, Helix ALM delivers end-to-end traceability across the product lifecycle—from requirements gathering, through development, to maintenance and technical support, helping organizations meet requirements and ship quality releases on time.
With Helix ALM, it’s easy to create requirements and share requirements documents, create test cases based on requirements, track issues through to resolution by connecting requirements to test cases and issues, measure progress with detailed metrics and reports, and much more.
Helix ALM works with Agile methodologies, including Scrum, Kanban, and XP, but it also supports traditional methodologies, so organizations can transition to Agile at their own pace.
Helix ALM can integrate with Jira, a proprietary issue tracking product developed by Atlassian that allows bug tracking and agile project management, to bring visibility into requirements and test cases from Jira. In addition to Jira, Helix ALM also integrates with several collaboration tools, and it offers a REST API so that organizations can easily connect their in-house tools and be more productive with automated workflows.
The capabilities of Helix ALM can be extended with Helix ALM add-ons, which include templates for exporting Helix ALM items to Microsoft Word, anintegration that lets teams collaborate in Slack about Helix ALM items, triggers for attaching Helix versioning engine changelists to Helix ALM, or a one-way integration with Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) that allows users to attach TFS files and changesets to Helix ALM items at check in, just to give a few examples.
Helix ALM offers two distinct licensing options: a 12-month subscription and a perpetual license, which is a one-time purchase followed by an annual (maintenance) renewal to receive product upgrades and technical support. Customers are encouraged to contact a Perforce account representative and request a custom quote.
Limitations of Helix ALM
Despite its many merits, Helix ALM isn’t a perfect ALM software tool, and there are several major limitations most of its long-term users complain about:
- Limited text editing: The portion of Helix ALM that arguably leaves the most to be desired is text editing. Copy & pasting often mangles linefeeds, nested bullet lists behave inconsistently, and creating a table is an awkward process.
- Complicated configuration: Helix ALM doesn’t exactly make it easy to modify an established workflow. Furthermore, it presents users with an almost overwhelming number of configuration options without helping them make sense of them.
- Clunky web client: The web interface of Helix ALM isn’t feature-complete, making it difficult to perform many administrative tasks. The web interface could use some polishing to be more intuitive and responsive.
- Outdated reports: Reporting has always been a weakness of Helix ALM. Reports are difficult to create, and they can only be generated per project. Teams that work on multiple projects have to generate multiple reports to show their progress.
- Lack of MBSE integration: Currently, Helix ALM is missing some kind of Model Based Systems Engineering integration that would allow systems engineers to define and architect an early system concept and link it to requirements.
The Best Alternative to Helix ALM: Visure Requirements
There are many ALM software tools that more or less directly compete with Helix ALM, helping organizations manage the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products.
Visure Requirements is a requirements management ALM platform that makes it easy to implement efficient requirements lifecycle management process and deliver the highest quality software. Visure Requirements is trusted by some of the largest organizations in the world, providing integral support to the complete requirement process and helping them with existing ISO processes.
Visure Requirements can seamlessly integrate with many modern software tools, such as JIRA, Enterprise Architect, RiskCAT, HP ALM, and many others. Thanks to its integrations and custom plug-in support, Visure Requirements can support even the most complex software projects and become the process backbone for managing all requirement related information, their relationships, and their interactions with the users.
Helix ALM is a feature-packed ALM software tool that offers its customers a well-rounded solution capable of delivering end-to-end traceability across the product lifecycle. Like most ALM tools, it suffers from several noteworthy limitations, which is why organizations interested in it should do their research and also considered the available alternatives to Helix ALM.