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Understanding HP ALM - Whats and Hows

In today’s write-up we are going to have idea about HP ALM test management tool, its history, Introduction, Architecture, workflow and modules. We will also understand one of the work flow phases “Release Specification”. HP ALM is a web based tool platform with various key applications and a dashboard focusing on the core life cycles of applications. Let’s understand step by step each function of ALM with more practical approach.


Introduction and History of HP ALM

At the outset, let us understand what exactly ALM is even though it may be well known to all application end users. ALM can be said to be an ideal cluster of a common platform, various key applications and a dashboard focusing on the core life cycles of applications. The concept of ALM centers around two fundamentals of any application, namely,

  • Application Development Solutions and,
  • Application Testing Solutions.

          The former is related with the development of an application through its various stages whereas the latter is related to test various phases of a particular application and then to trace defect in the same, if any, besides the solutions for the detected defects in the same.


Why do we require Solutions?

As you are well aware that the IT departments are wide spread, multi-layered and engaged in various activities. As the size of the organization grows, the activity structure becomes large and complex resulting in chaos. The best remedy to this situation is to integrate the activities and people with a common, unique thread that is – Solutions. Solution is a centralized application management platform for managing and automating within and across application teams and throughout the complete process of developing an application with a harmonious and uninterrupted work flow.

            Here comes the concept of the HP ALM with a wider range of advanced features facilitating development and testing of an application. Any ways, let’s focus on the history part of HP ALM.

            A test management tool known as Quality Center was initially developed by Mercury Interactive. Earlier it was known as Test Director, which with the introduction of version 8 in 2008, was renamed as Quality Center. Later on, HP acquired Mercury Interactive and renamed all the Mercury products as HP products. Hence Mercury Quality Center became HP Quality Center.

ALM is a web based tool significantly useful in managing different phases in the Application Life Cycle, such as,

  • Project Planning
  • Requirements gathering
  • Testing
  • Defect Tracking
  • Solving defects and,
  • Further development

If you observe the above mentioned phases microscopically, you will find that the whole process may turn out to be extremely time consuming and tedious. ALM is the only tool, we can say, providing a tactful integration of all these activities being carried out by Developer, Tester, Business Analysts, Project Manager, and Product Owners. The below mentioned table shows the evolution of the present ALM in brief.



Commercial Name

Versions Numbers

       Owned By


Test Director

V1.52 to v8.0

Mercury interactive


Quality Center

V8.0 to v9.0

Mercury interactive


Quality Center

V9.2 to v10.0




V11.0 to v12.0x



Before we go in detail of the Architectural part of HP ALM, let us have a look at the usefulness of it in respect of the different activities.

  • Setup and track releases and subsequent release-cycles.
  • Create, organize and maintain Requirements and trace them to Tests.
  • Create Tests and Test steps.
  • Organize Tests into logical subsets.
  • Schedule tests and execute them, linking to Releases.
  • Collect Results and analyze the data.
  • Create, Monitor and analyze defects.
  • Track the progress of a project and Requirement coverage.
  • Collect and Create customized Reports for Metrics.

Considering the above mentioned uses of ALM, we must have a quick look at the components of the HP ALM summarized below in brief.

  • Project Planning and Tracking
  • Application Lifecycle Intelligence
  • Lab Management Automation
  • Asset Sharing and Re-use
  • Cross-project Reporting
  • HP Enterprise Collaboration
  • HP Performance Center
  • Quality Assurance
  • Multi-environment Support
  • HP Fortify Security
  • Requirements Definition and Management


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