Releases and Cycles Overview

The issue of application releases is often challenging. It requires aligning your business priorities and quality expectations with your project requirements, tests, and defects. Most applications require testing on multiple hardware platforms, multiple configurations (computers, operating systems, and browsers), and multiple application versions. Managing all aspects of an application release can be time-consuming and difficult. You begin the application management process by defining releases.

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) enables you to organize and track your upcoming releases by defining releases and cycles. A release represents a group of changes in one or more applications that will be available for distribution at the same time. Each release can contain a number of cycles. A cycle is a set of development and quality assurance efforts performed to achieve a common goal based on the release timeline. Both releases and cycles have defined start and end dates.

After defining releases and cycles, you define and review requirements and assign them to releases and cycles. Requirements describe in detail your application needs, and are used as a basis for creating a test plan. The tests you create during the test plan phase should cover these requirements.

After assigning requirements to releases and cycles, you create test set folders and assign them to cycles. A test set is a group of test instances in an ALM project designed to achieve specific test goals. After assigning test set folders to a cycle, you run the test sets under these test set folders.

If an application flaw is detected while running a test set, you can submit a defect. ALM automatically creates a link between the test run, associated release and cycle, and the new defect.

A defect can be submitted to an ALM project from any module at any stage of the application management process. While reviewing and deciding which new defects need to be fixed, the defects can be assigned to the appropriate release and cycle.

Following test runs, you can review the test progress to determine how well it meets the release goals. You can also determine how many defects were resolved, and how many still remain open. The results can be analyzed at a release or cycle level.

You can track the progress of the application management process in real time by analyzing the Releases tree and ensuring that it matches the release goals.

For related task details, see How to Use Releases and Cycles in ALM.