Create and configure pipelines

ALM Octane pipelines represent the flow of your CI server jobs and steps. Use pipelines to get a clear, multi-level, analytic view of your pipeline runs and their status. This helps monitor quality and progress, quickly identifying and fixing issues as they occur.

To learn more about pipelines in ALM Octane before creating them, see CI Pipelines.

Note: If you are working with Jenkins: You can similarly create and configure pipelines using the Application Automation Tools plugin on the Jenkins CI server. For details, see the section on creating and configuring pipelines on the Application Automation Tools wiki page.

Add a pipeline in ALM Octane

Once connected to a CI server, you can create a pipeline in ALM Octane. Specify the root job for the pipeline, and ALM Octane builds a pipeline that represents the job flow starting from that root job.

The result of a pipeline run is determined by the result of its root job. Therefore, for the pipeline run result to reflect the results of other jobs in the flow, make sure that on your CI server, the results of those jobs are aggregated up to the root job.

To add a pipeline in ALM Octane:

  1. Prerequisites

  2. In ALM Octane, go to the Pipelines module and open the Pipelines tab.

  3. Click + to add a pipeline.

  4. Select a CI server. The list displays the servers created on the CI Servers settings page of the current workspace.

  5. Select the root job from which you want ALM Octane to start the pipeline. The list displays the jobs defined on the CI server you selected. If the communication with the server fails, the list will not be available.

  6. Enter a name for the pipeline and, optionally, assign the pipeline to a program and/or a release. If you select a release, you can also select a milestone.

    • The program, release, and milestone are automatically assigned to all test runs collected from this pipeline. If you change the program, release, or milestone, a new set of automated runs is created to represent all the tests running in the pipeline. This lets you view test results in the context of program, release, and milestone, and track their quality over time using the Dashboard widgets.

    • For details on programs, see Working with programs in pipelines.

    • Before selecting the release and milestone, we recommend you read the section Best practices: Linking a pipeline to release and milestone.

    Tip: If you assign the pipeline to the Default Release, the pipeline will always be associated with whichever release is currently set as the default release.

  7. Specify the pipeline's type. Select one or more types from the list: Build, Test, Integration, Deploy, Security.

    • Most types are optional. This definition helps you remember the lifecycle stages that this pipeline handles.
    • You must select Security if you want this pipeline's runs to show security vulnerabilities discovered by Fortify or SonarQube.
  8. Set up notifications (optional). Instruct ALM Octane to send emails to relevant users when builds or automated test runs fail.

    • Notify committers upon run failure. Notify people whose commits were included in a pipeline run that failed.
    • Notify test owners if their tests fail. Notify people who are owners of failed automated tests.

    You can edit these options later in the pipeline's Details tab.

    For more details, see Track commits associated with a pipeline run.

ALM Octane retrieves the information from the CI server and creates the pipeline. Click the pencil next to pipeline's name or release to edit it.

After the pipeline runs, you can see a comprehensive overview of the run results. For details, see Run pipelines.

Back to top

Best practices: Linking a pipeline to release and milestone

When creating a pipeline, you have the option of linking the pipeline to a release and milestone. When you link a pipeline to a release/milestone or modify the release/milestone value, all the future runs reported in the context of the pipeline will be assigned to the selected release.

The following are recommendations for different scenarios:

Scenarios Recommendation

Continuous integration pipeline:

  1. Trunk/master-based development (no branching)

  2. Release/milestone branching

  1. In this case, there is no reason to link to release and milestone.
  2. If you create a new branch for each release, it is recommended that you link the pipeline to a release. In addition, if you need to track the quality of your milestone, link the pipeline to the milestone as well.

Feature/story branching

The CI on these branches would typically not be injected to ALM Octane and should certainly not have a release/milestone.

Automated regression cycle When your release and milestone represent a release and cycle, it is recommended that you link the pipeline to both release and milestone to track results easily.

Consequences of changing a release or milestone

When you change the Release or Milestone fields for a pipeline, you should be aware of the following significant consequences:

  1. A new set of automated runs is created to represent all the tests running in the pipeline.

  2. Failure analysis features are based on the history of a single automated run. As a result, when a new automated run is created the accuracy of the failure analysis insights will be reduced until relevant history on the new run is built up.

Back to top

Use parameter sets when creating a pipeline

Note: The following is supported in Jenkins, TeamCity, Bamboo, and GitLab.

If your CI server job is parameterized, you can define different sets of parameter values that can be used when running the pipeline job. Each pipeline can have multiple sets of parameter values.

For example, suppose you sometimes run a job on one deployed environment, and other times on another. You can create one data set (Set 1) using the default URL and port, and another (Set 2) with a different URL and port. You can then run the pipeline a few times using different settings.

Note: This requires the Manage parameters permission.

To configure parameters in a pipeline:

  1. When creating a pipeline, if its job is parameterized, a table appears showing the parameters configured in the CI server, with their default values.

    Note: In GitLab, by default only project-level variables are shown. To also see group or instance variables, modify the gitlab.variables.pipeline.usage property as described in GitLab service.

  2. In the column headings, add columns to define additional sets of parameter values.

  3. You can rename each column heading as needed.

  4. You can edit parameter values in each set of parameters as needed.

    Values are limited to 4000 characters, and each set name must be unique.

  5. To clone a column, delete it, or reset to its default values, select the relevant menu item in the upper right corner of the column.

  6. Click Save.

    When you run the pipeline, a dialog appears enabling you to choose which parameter values to use in the run. For details, see Trigger a pipeline run from ALM Octane (Optional).

  7. If you change the job's parameters on the CI server, click Sync with CI on the pipeline's Details pane to get the latest parameters defined on the CI server.

Note: ALM Octane currently supports boolean and string parameters only. Invalid types are not displayed.

Back to top

Customize your pipeline display

If you have a large number of pipelines defined, it may be helpful to view less information at once.

In the Pipelines module, open the Pipelines tab and use the toolbar above the list of pipelines.

What do you want to do? How to do it
Filter the list of pipelines to display only the ones you want to work with

Click the Filter pipelines button and select the pipelines to display.

If you select a release or milestone in the upper section, the lower section shows you its pipelines. Select the pipelines you want to display.

If a filter is active, an orange dot appear next to the filter icon.

Select to display less information about each pipeline in the list Click to show more or less information about pipelines in the list itself.

Your selection is retained for future sessions as well.

Back to top

Explore a pipeline's graphical representation

When you create a pipeline, ALM Octane creates a graphical representation of the pipeline steps, starting from the root job of the pipeline.

If you are working with Jenkins, Bamboo, or GoCD, you can see the flow of the steps, including which steps run in sequence and which steps run as parts of other steps.

In the Pipelines tab, click on a pipeline. Click the horizontal ellipsis and click View in the dropdown. The Pipeline PL pages opens. Select the Topology tab.

Jenkins example

Note: The pipeline is initially built based on the structure ALM Octane discovers on the CI server. When the pipeline runs on the CI server, ALM Octane adds any additional steps it discovers during the run. You will see these steps the next time you open the pipeline.

Here are visual clues for understanding and working with the display as you explore the pipeline in the Topology tab.

Visual clue Description

The pipeline's ID and name.

Click to view the pipeline in a Flat view or Tree view.

Tree view. Displays the hierarchy and flow of the pipeline.

Flat view. Displays the pipeline steps side by side without describing the hierarchy or flow. This view is useful for gaining an overview of complex pipelines.

In this view, you can also filter pipeline steps. For details, see Filter pipeline steps .

A step in the pipeline.

Click the step's name to open the job on the CI server.

For a pipeline that displays hierarchy, click to expand and collapse the steps that run as part of their parent step. (inner jobs)

Steps on the same side of a dotted line run in parallel to each other. (parallel jobs)

Steps on the right side of a dotted line run after the steps on its left side end. (sequential jobs)

Steps that run as part of the pipeline.

In a pipeline that displays hierarchy, the steps after this arrow run only after the calling step and its children end. (sequential jobs)

Click to label the step type as Compile, Package, Deploy, Security, or Test.

Click to configure step information, which is added to the pipeline step as a tag. You can use tags later, for example, for filtering test run results.

You can specify:

  • Test-related information: Framework, test type, testing tool, and test level.

  • The environment on which the step runs (browser, operating system, database, and so on). You can also define conditional environment tags that are set according to build parameter values when the step runs.

  • A way to link to build reports created by your build.

  • A way to link to test run reports created by your build.

For details, see Configure steps: Define test and test run information.

Click to instruct ALM Octane to redraw the topology based on the current pipeline steps defined on your CI server.

This is useful, for example, if you changed the pipeline flow on the CI server a few times and the pipeline structure in ALM Octane includes steps that no longer belong in the flow.

When redrawing, ALM Octane attempts to maintain the pipeline step configuration. However, for steps that moved significantly, the configuration may be lost.

Back to top

Label and configure pipeline steps

Enhance the pipeline's usefulness in ALM Octane by labeling and configuring. This makes it easier to understand the purpose of the steps and provides additional contextual information for test run results.

Label steps according to job type

  1. In the Pipelines tab, click on a pipeline. Click the horizontal ellipsis and choose View in the dropdown. The Pipeline PL pages opens. Select the Topology tab.

  2. Click the label at the top right of a step, and select a job type for the step. The label helps you understand the pipeline flow. In the flat pipeline view, you can also filter the pipeline to show only steps with specific labels.

    Job types include: Compile, Package, Deploy, Test, and Security.

  3. When the pipeline runs, the labels are added to the resulting builds. When analyzing pipeline run results in the Builds tab, the labels help you understand the context of the builds.

Configure steps: Ignore or hide results of specific steps

Your pipeline may include steps or tests whose results you do not want to track in ALM Octane. You can instruct ALM Octane to ignore such steps or hide their results from the quality analysis.

In a pipeline's Topology tab, click the Configuration button on the bottom right of the step. Then select one of the following options:

In the pipeline's Topology tab, the pipeline step reflects the selected option. For example:

Configure steps: Define test and test run information

For pipeline steps that run tests, add environment and testing information about the step.

  • Test Fields and Testing Environments. This adds tags to your pipeline step. When this pipeline step runs tests, its tags are added to the tests, test runs, and builds. You can then filter builds and test run results in ALM Octane according to these tags, and enhance your product and release quality analysis.

    Example: This Jenkins step, QA-Functional-Chrome, is labeled as a Test and has the following tags configured:

    • Test fields: Framework = TestNG, Test type = End to End, Test level = Integration Testing, Testing tool: Selenium.

    • Testing Environment: WinServer2012 (OS), MSSQL (DB), QA (AUT Env), Chrome (Browser).

  • Build Report and Test Run Report. If your build creates reports, ALM Octane can add a link to the report in the relevant automated test runs. This report can be stored on your CI server or elsewhere, and may help analyze test run failures.

    Configure a URL or URL template for report links in your pipeline step. ALM Octane adds the links to the test runs that are created as part of this pipeline step and to the build that is the result of this step.

To configure a pipeline step:

  1. In the Pipelines tab, click on a pipeline. Click the horizontal ellipsis and choose View in the dropdown. The Pipeline PL pages opens. Select the Topology tab.

  2. Click the Configuration button on the bottom right of a pipeline step.

  3. In the Test Fields tab, add information about the type of tests the step runs, and the tools and framework it uses to run them.

    Select from the predefined values:

    Field Possible values
    Framework Select from the list. Example: JUnit, TestNG, UFT One.
    Test type

    One of: Acceptance, End to End, Regression, Sanity, Security, Performance.

    Testing tool

    Select from the list. Example: Manual Runner, Selenium, UFT One, UFT Developer, LoadRunner Cloud, LoadRunner.

    Test level Select from the list. Example: Integration Test, System Test, Unit Test.

    You can add values to the Framework and Testing tool lists. To do this, add tags to the pipeline step using the API, or the Jenkins plugin UI.

    ALM Octane automatically sets the following fields for test runs discovered on Jenkins pipelines:

    Field Set for test results from

    Testing tool

    UFT One


    LoadRunner Cloud

    LoadRunner Enterprise

    Framework UFT One
    Test type LoadRunner Enterprise

    If you manually added tags to the pipeline step that runs these test, your tags override the automatic ones.

  4. In the Testing Environment tab, add information about the environment on which the step runs. For example, the operating system, browser, and database.

    Environments are grouped by category. ALM Octane provides a list of environments out-of-the-box. You can also define your own environments details, according to your project developing model.

    Do one of the following:

    Use an existing environment

    Click the Environment box and select existing environments.

    You can start typing in the box to search for a specific value.

    Add a custom environment
    1. Click the Environment box, type the name for the new environment and select it in the list.

    2. Select a Category for your new environment and click OK.


    • Add a Lab Machine category with tags for each machine you use for nightly runs.

    • Add environments for specific browser versions or development branches.

    For details, see Environments.

    Create conditions for setting environments during the build run, based on build parameter values

    In the table, add a row for each environment that you want to assign dynamically.

    In each row, specify:

    Parameter name + value ==> Environment

    Select the build parameter name from the list of build parameters available for this step.

    If you use the Matrix plugin on Jenkins, the pipeline displays child steps, generated during the build run. Each one represents a set of build parameter values.

    Configure conditional environments on the parent step. These are applied to the generated child steps. You cannot modify a child's configuration.

  5. Build Reports. In the Report Customization tab > Build Report URL field, enter a URL or a URL template that ALM Octane can use to create a link to reports generated for your builds.

    If you include {job_name} and {build_number} placeholders in the template, ALM Octane replaces them in the URL with the relevant job name and build number when creating the link.

    For example: 


    ALM Octane adds the links to the test runs that are created as part of this pipeline step and to the build that is the result of this step.

  6. Test Run Reports. In the Report Customization tab > Test Run Report URL field, enter a URL or a URL template that ALM Octane can use to create a link to reports generated for your test runs.

    Note: If you have defined an External Report URL in your CI server, that URL setting will override the ALM Octane URL definition.

    If you include placeholders in the template such as {test_class} and {test_name}, ALM Octane replaces them in the URL with the relevant entity when creating the link.

    For example: 


    ALM Octane adds the links to the test runs that are created as part of this pipeline step.

    Tip: You can select the checkbox Override test run report URL inheritance so that the current job will not inherit the URL format from its parent in the topology.

Back to top

Filter pipeline steps

Filter a pipeline by label or job name, to display only pipeline steps with a certain label and/or steps with a specific string in their name.

If you set up a filter on a specific pipeline, that filter is used again the next time you view the pipeline.

In the Pipelines tab, click on a pipeline. Click the horizontal ellipsis and choose View in the dropdown. The Pipeline PL pages opens. Select the Topology tab.

In the pipeline flat view:

  • Filter by label. Select from the labels on the right to specify the type of pipeline steps you want to see.
  • Filter by job name. Type in the context search box to see only steps whose name contains the specified string.

If you filter by label and by job name, the pipeline displays only steps that match both filters.

Back to top

Delete a pipeline

In the Pipelines > Pipelines page, click the vertical ellipsis on a pipeline (in the upper summary bar), and then select View.

When the pipeline's details appear, click Delete and confirm the action.

If you delete a pipeline: 

  • All of the pipeline's labels and configuration information are lost.

  • The pipeline runs and the automated test runs from this pipeline are deleted. The automated test entities remain.

Back to top

Special pipeline types

The following section describes how to work with Pipeline as Code and Multibranch pipelines.

Pipeline as Code

Pipeline stages are shown in the ALM Octane pipeline topology. Tests and commits are linked to the root jobs, as they are in Jenkins. Note that you cannot add tags to stages because tests are linked to the root job.

Multibranch pipelines

If you are working with supported multibranch pipelines, ALM Octane automatically creates a corresponding child pipeline whenever a new branch is built for the first time (after the parent pipeline was created). You can use the pipeline's menu commands to filter which branches are shown in ALM Octane.

For example, suppose you have a pipeline in ALM Octane for your master branch, and you create a branch off the master in GIT and run tests on the custom branch. In this case, ALM Octane automatically adds a branch pipeline to the master pipeline, and shows your tests on the branch pipeline. If you merge your branch and delete it, ALM Octane automatically deletes the related pipeline.

Multibranch is supported as follows:

  • Jenkins plugin from version 5.7, based on Multibranch pipeline job (Pipeline Multibranch plugin).

  • Bamboo plugin from version 1.9.6, based on plans with branches.

  • GitLab plugin from version 1.1.45, based on repository with branches.

Note: If you create a pipeline without branches, and then add branches in GitLab, ALM Octane will not reflect this change. In this case, delete the original pipeline and create a new one for the multibranch plan.

Back to top

Next steps: