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Best Aerospace and Defense ALM Tools

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Best Aerospace and Defense ALM Tools

Aerospace and defense companies have very specific software needs that require the implementation of effective solutions. One of the most important solutions is Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools. ALM tools occupy a special place among the available solutions because they define how a software application is managed from conception, through its creation and deployment, to its eventual retirement. In this blog post, we will discuss the best ALM tools for the aerospace and defense industry.

What is Application Lifecycle Management?

Application Lifecycle Management is a complex procedure that involves different parties, recurrent processes, and various instruments that are used for regulating the complete lifecycle of the project from the very beginning to the end. ALM ensures smooth running of the established methodologies of an organization and higher productivity through integrated tools.  

In simpler terms, Application Lifecycle Management, abbreviated as ALM,  is the procedure of specifying, designing, documenting, and testing the application. It covers the whole lifecycle from the start to the end of the project. It begins with the idea of the application throughout the development, goes to testing, deployment, support, and finally, the user experience.

What Are The Benefits of Using ALM Tools?

There are many benefits of using ALM tools, some of which are listed below:

1. Improves Decision-Making Process:

ALM’s ability to evaluate older applications more successfully allows organizations to make better decisions about their apps as they age. Team leaders have an advantage with features like real-time planning and version control, which may be found in most ALM solutions (both of which may be found in most ALM tools). When enterprises implement interdependent tasks with extensive oversight obligations, they need informed decision-making.

2. Enhances Speed and Agility:

It’s a race against time for businesses to keep pace with the competition in today’s ever-changing market. This is especially true when it comes to software and system development. ALM gives application development teams the tools they need to create innovative, high-performing applications at record speeds while also allowing them to match organizational goals with technical objectives. It also includes proprietary source code management so that projects are consistent with company goals.

3. Advances Quality and Compliance:

ALM offers your developmental team the tools it needs to develop a high-quality software application. It successfully promotes quality through source code management and collaborative effort. This may have an impact on the development process and the quality of the final product when development teams and testers are out of the information loop during the governance stage, which covers the plan and creation phases in software development and information technology operations (DevOps). Communication is especially important during this phase, which covers the plan and creation stages in software development and information technology operations (DevOps).

4. Encourages Efficient Planning:

Teams can get started with methodologies and accurate estimates when they use ALM. It aids in project management by providing resource planning support. Depending on the demands, various tools are accessible, whether it’s a waterfall project (where projects are developed in a sequential manner) or an agile development process (where projects are created iteratively).

5. Strengthens Testing Procedures:

ALM offers organizations end-to-end application development and testing services. Application development necessitates excellent intercommunications for development and testing, which leads to the identification of problems as well as quick remedies. It’s critical to have a completely automated and secure framework that is continuously tested throughout the app development process. By allowing developers to work together without difficulty, ALM automation eliminates integration difficulties.

6. Improves Employee Support and Customer Satisfaction:

ALM’s primary goal is to provide an automated lifecycle management platform for organizations. Without support, it would be impossible to automate any process or activity that a business needs to complete. Support is critical for the success of ALM. In addition, by means of integration, adaptation, and support of appropriate applications, ALM enables enterprises to release apps faster while maintaining client happiness. This is accomplished by integrating, adapting, and supporting the right applications in the best possible way.

7. Provides Extensive Visibility Across the Project Lifecycle:

Many project development teams lack a thorough understanding of the project’s lifecycle. That knowledge is provided by ALM. It will allow you to track how many requirements have already been fulfilled and how many are left. You’ll also be able to see how far the application development has progressed and what has been tested. This keeps everyone informed, whether things change or not.

What Are The Best ALM Tools for Aerospace and Defense Companies?

There are many ALM tools available in the market, but not all of them are suitable for aerospace and defense companies. Some of the best ALM tools for aerospace and defense companies are listed below:

Visure Solutions – Visure is one of the most trusted ALM platforms that is well known for its amazing services in requirements management for the aerospace and defense market. Visure’s top aerospace clients include Airbus, Dynetics, General Electric (GE), and Palomar.

Pros: 

  • Standards and Traceability – Visure supports various standards like DO-178B/C and DO-254. These standards are dynamically traced throughout all the stages of development ensuring that each requirement is properly mapped to a specific test case and vice versa. 
  • Better Collaboration – Visure offers customizable user interfaces on the basis of the project you are working on. All the information is properly organized on these interfaces allowing all the individuals to work together while remaining on the same page. 
  • Multi-tier Collaboration – Visure supports XML-based standards, like ReqIF and XRI, that help us in exchanging requirements between various different customers and suppliers. 
  • Security – Visure ensures proper security of information and requirements. We do this through our rigorous access policy where only certain people can access the artifacts even at the elementary level. 
  • Quality Analysis – Visure’s Quality Analyzer allows you to perform semantic analysis of the requirements to identify the quality of the requirements. Therefore, it becomes easier to prevent the requirements from moving to the next phase in the development cycle. 
  • Free Trial – Visure offers a free 30-day trial that can be downloaded from the website itself. Other details about pricing and demo can be found on Visure’s website. 

Cons:

  • Sometimes, users complain about the out fashioned interface and unsatisfactory performance when managing over 50,000 items at a time. 

IBM Doors – IBM DOORS is one of the oldest application lifecycle management tools in today’s market. The best thing IBM offers is great compatibility with other tools in the field. IBM offers flexible solutions suitable for large-scale enterprises along with a high-level granularity and configurability. 

Pros:

  • DO-178C – IBM supports the DO-178C standard to provide guidance to the organizations developing airborne software systems in order to ensure that it performs their desired tasks successfully. 
  • Easy Operations – IBM allows you to easily create baselines, track versioning when detailed requirements are involved, and interlink the change requests directly to the initial documents. 
  • Collaboration – IBM works to provide solutions for better collaboration, automation, and reporting in accordance with the needs of the standard DO-178C. 

Cons:

  • The interface is quite outdated and dull. 
  • Importing images, pdfs, and text files can be a pain sometimes.
  • Does not offer integration outside the IBM technology ecosystem making it difficult to adapt to other tools.
  • Too expensive for small or medium organizations. 

Jama Software – Jama is an application lifecycle management solution that provides a nice platform for risk and test management. Jama assists you in building complex products and systems by improving cycle times and hence, enhancing the quality. 

Pros:

  • Standards – Jama follows DO-178C/ED-12C standards for commercial avionics software development and DO-254/ED-80 standards for commercial avionics hardware development. 
  • Interface – Jama offers a quite modern and intuitive interface along with features like live traceability and an effective notification system. 
  • Easy Integration – Jama can be easily integrated with other tools like Jira and Azure DevOps. It also supports various development methodologies like Agile. 

Cons:

  • Jama lacks visualization features that are used for understanding how the product matures over time. 
  • People also often complain about Jama not being capable of creating proper documentation and providing a good storage place. 

Siemens Polarion – Polarion is another application lifecycle management tool in the aerospace and defense industry. Polarion is highly admired for saving time and effort, improving quality, and ensuring safety for complex systems. 

Pros:

  • DO-178C – Polarion follows the DO-178C standard to help you untangle the complexities of development processes on a granular level and thus, speeds up the development process.
  • End-To-End Traceability – Polarion guarantees end-to-end traceability between all the requirements and test cases ensuring the requirements and test cases are mapped to each other properly. 
  • Easy Import/Export – Polarion’s traditional features like versioning, dashboards, and an open API are what make it stand out in the crowd. The import-export of information on Polarion is pretty easy and intuitive. 

Cons:

  • People criticize Polarion for using unfitting interface design and icons. 
  • Also, Polarion does not offer any free trial or free version to try out the product before actually paying for it. 

Helix ALM – Helix is an application lifecycle management tool in the aerospace market that helps in developing quality airborne systems while ensuring complete safety and compliance with the standards. 

Pros:

  • Regulations – Helix complies with the DO-178C and DO-178B regulations for developing airborne systems. DO-330 is complied with for sorting the requirements for the airborne system and DO-254 is followed for design assurance. 
  • Fits Everywhere – Helix is a flexible tool that fits in all kinds of small as well as complex processes making it easy to use. 
  • Reports and Bugs – Helix captures all the test reports and bug reports in one place and also provides a time-to-time update for keeping the application up to date. 

Cons:

  • Importing and exporting items from MS Excel or Word can be a bit clumsy. 
  • Test Run system is not quite adaptable for mechanical testings. 
  • Report creation is poor.
  • Helix does not support Scrum methodology either. 

CodeBeamer – CodeBeamer is a tailor-made ALM tool by Intland Software for advanced products and software development. This tool comes up with pre-configured templates and compliance for Agile and DevOps-oriented organizations. 

Pros:

  • Compliance – CodeBeamer follows compliance with various aerospace standards like RTCA DO-178C (EUROCAE ED-12C) and DO-254 along with other FAA, CAA, and DOD regulations in order to ensure the airworthiness and safety of the product. 
  • Traceability and Collaboration – CodeBeamer offers a unique workflow that helps in maintaining a collaborative work environment. The tool allows you to connect all the development tools in order to provide your team with a personalized central development hub. 
  • Risk Management – CodeBeamer integrates quality risk management and helps in identifying, analyzing, and managing the risks associated with the product and development cycle. 

Cons:

  • CodeBeamer does not support import/export via ReqIF format.
  • The user management is not a piece of cake either.
  • It can be challenging to debug why a user is unable to execute a task given the intersection of 1) license constraints 2) project permissions 3) tracker permissions 4) field permission

ReqTest – ReqTest is an ALM tool that offers requirements management, test management, and bugs and issues tracking. This is a full-cloud-based solution that requires no set-up or installation or training for that matter. 

Pros:

  • Free Trial & Version – ReqTest offers a free trial and a free version of the tool unlike many other tools in the market. Also, the price of availing of the tools is also not so expensive either. 
  • User Interface – The user interface of the tools is said to be quite fresh and modern. It is customizable and fits almost all the needs of a requirements management system. 
  • Quality Testing – ReqTest provides a wide standard for quality testing at a very reasonable price. The audit trail of the tool is very much liked among the customers. 

Cons:

  • Standards – The tool does not offer any specific compliance to the standards for the aerospace and defense industry products like DO-178 and DO-254. 
  • The reporting capabilities of the tool on the agile board can be better.
  • High cost has to be paid in case more than 10 users need to be involved. 

Spira Teams – Spira Teams is another ALM platform that helps you in managing your requirements, releases, tests, issues, and tasks in a single integrated environment. It also offers an incorporated dashboard with important metrics of the project.

Pros:

  • DO-178B/C – Spira Teams offers solid compliance with the DO-178B/C standard. Therefore, all the testing and verifications are done according to the standard itself and also ensure that the development is done in accordance with the whole certification process. 
  • Easy Integration – The tool is known to make the automation and integration process quite easy which makes it one of the most preferred RM tools in the market.
  • Traceability – Spira Teams also provides end-to-end traceability for all the requirements, test cases, defects, development work, and source code. 

Cons:

  • For people using Spira Teams, it is not easy to move the requirements or artifacts from one tool to another.
  • Validation against AD is said to be difficult to set up as well.
  • Spira Teams is also not quite suitable for big firms because of limitations like a single database, and difficulties in attaching bigger files.

Tuleap – This is an ALM system that majorly facilitates agile methodologies, V-model, requirements management, and IT service management. This project management platform enables the organizations to meet the required standards like CMMI and ITIL.

Pros:

  • Compliance – Tuleap provides compliance with the DO-178B standards used for guidance related to Equipment Certification and software consideration within airborne systems.
  • Traceability – Tuleap ensures end-to-end traceability from initial requirements to test campaigns and final deliveries. It connects all the requirements, test cases, and other artifacts to ensure full traceability. 
  • Easy to use – Tuleap is quite easy to use and set up, thanks to the cloud version of the tool. It allows you to create a workflow corresponding exactly to your needs. 

Cons:

  • The document management interface is not as good as compared to other tools.
  • Some of the user interface features like copywriting and moving documents are not intuitive.

Conclusion:

Application lifecycle management (ALM) is a process that helps organizations manage the life of their applications. It covers everything from requirements gathering and design to testing, deploying, and maintaining the application. The importance of ALM cannot be overstated; if done correctly, it can help your organization release high-quality applications on time and within budget. The above list of the best ALM tools in the aerospace and defense market are the top choices.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive ALM solution, we recommend Visure Requirements ALM Platform. Request a free 30-day trial today to see how our platform can help you manage your application life cycle effectively and efficiently.

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