Lifecycle Quality Management

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In a previous article “Requirements based Development” I discussed the importance of capturing requirements at a business level (as opposed to a merely functional level) as a pre-cursor to all development efforts. In this article, I want to talk about Borland’s Lifecycle Quality Management suite, which is predicated on this assumption as it applies to testing and QA.

Now, before I go on, and for those of you that don’t know: Borland is no longer (primarily) a vendor of development tools (JBuilder, Deplhi and so on) and is now focused on supporting all of the functions that surround and support development, including change management, portfolio management, testing (of various types), requirements management and so on. The company’s overall vision of its suite is encapsulated in the term Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), in which requirements capture and testing are key components of Lifecycle Quality Management (LQM).

Borland’s view is that there are three things that you have to do right if you want your software development efforts to meet their associated business goals: you need to completely understand the requirements of the application you are building, you need to deliver correct code that meets those requirements, and you need to minimise defects in that code. I don’t think anyone would argue with this.

In terms of requirements management, Borland is one of only very few vendors to have recognised the importance of capturing these at a business level rather than at low level. This is done through its Caliber product, which integrates with SilkCentral (part of the Segue acquisition that Borland made), which provides test case generation based on the requirements captured in Caliber, as well as providing test planning and execution, and issue and defect tracking that links in turn to StarTeam, which provides software change and configuration management.

As one can tell from this description, SilkCentral plays a role not just in requirements management but, more particularly, in test management, providing integrations to three further related products: SilkPerformer, which provides performance and scalability (load) testing (note that there is also an SOA edition of this product); SilkTest, which provides automated functional testing; and the shortly to be released (general availability is expected in January 2007) Gauntlet, which provides a continuous build and test automation system that integrates testing in the code development phase with version control, the idea being that you test earlier and more frequently—as we all know, the early you detect problems the cheaper and easier it is to fix them.

Finally, LQM will integrate with two further elements: Together, which provides a model-driven development environment, and Tempo, which provides product and portfolio management. Both of these are currently available as stand-alone products but will be integrated into LQM in the future, with Together providing model-driven testing and Tempo adding demand management and resource allocation capabilities.

This is only a very quick rundown of what Borland’s plans are but it should give you a good idea of the company’s intentions: to provide a seriously complete environment for developing high quality applications. In my view, the fact that it starts by looking at requirements at a business level is fundamental and will undermine any competitor that cannot do this.