Agile development flow

If your team uses the Agile methodology, use ALM Octane to manage the development process.

The agile development process

In theory, the Agile development process follows a standard flow: Plan > Build > Test > Release > Plan > Build > Test > Release, and so on.

On a day-to-day basis, the process looks more like this:


This process repeats with continuous delivery of your application.

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The first step in any Agile development involves planning. Because Agile focuses on continuous delivery, clear planning is essential.

In ALM Octane, do the following in the Agile plan stage:

Create workflow

Before beginning work, it is important to define the workflow. This lets you specify and enforce:

  • How backlog items proceed through the development cycle. This ensures that all parties work with the same process.

  • How an item moves to completion ("Done is Done").

Specify rules for completion of a phase, when an item is complete, and so on.

For details on setting workflow phases, see Set up workflow phases and transitions. For details on using rules, see Set up rules.

Plan the expected velocity and capacity

To commit to completing work, you need to know how much work a team or individual can finish.

When you create a team, the admin for the workspace specifies:

  • The expected velocity for the team. This number can be dynamic over time.

  • The capacity per team member

For details on planning velocity and capacity, see Manage velocity and capacity.

Create and update the Backlog

Before and throughout the development process, the product owner maintains the product backlog. The Backlog is fluid and adjusts to changing priorities.

In ALM Octane, you maintain the backlog in the Backlog module:

  • Create epics that specify the large-scale part of your applications

  • Create features for each deliverable part of the product

  • Create backlog items for items to develop

  • Organize items in a meaningful way

For details on using the Backlog, see Backlog management

Rank the Backlog

While maintaining the Backlog, the product manager ranks Backlog items. Correct rank ensures that development teams select the highest priority items when planning.

ALM Octane helps you rank the Backlog:

  • Rank is displayed in Backlog lists or grids.

  • Change the rank by dragging and dropping items within the list or grid.

  • Manually enter the rank in the Rank column.

  • For organizations using the WSJF methodology, use the WSJF fields to create priorities based on WSJF criteria

For details on ranking, see Rank the Backlog. For details on WSJF fields, see Rank with WSJF attributes.

Plan releases and sprints

After you create the Backlog, plan each release and sprints.

ALM Octane helps you assign Backlog items to releases, sprints, and teams:

  • Update the Release, Sprint, and Team fields in the Details tab of any item

  • Drag the item from the list or grid into a release bucket:

For details on working with release and team assignments, see Plan your release. For details on the release buckets, see Use the backlog planning buckets.

Assign items to a person

During the sprint planning meeting, assign work items to a user.

Assign items in ALM Octane:

  • Update the Owner field in the Details tab of any item

  • In the Team Backlog module, drag the item from the list or grid into a team member bucket:

For details on managing a team's backlog, see Manage the team backlog. For details on the team planning buckets, see Team planning buckets.

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After you decide what to deliver, you must develop the assigned features and stories. In ALM Octane you use this process:

Move backlog items through the workflow

As you work, it is important to update progress. This is especially true if you use daily scrum meetings where you discuss what was done and what to do next.

While working, update the phase of the backlog item:

Updating the item's phase ensures you have an accurate reflection of progress.

For details on workflow phases, see Advance the phase of an item

Create tasks

When working on a backlog item, it is helpful to break down the item into manageable tasks. To do that, ALM Octane provides a task list and task board to manage tasks:

  • In the Tasks tab inside a backlog item

  • From the Tasks tab of the Team Backlog module.

  • Add tasks when you create a backlog item in the Add dialog

For details on managing tasks, see Work on your stories.

Track task progress

Track individual progress to make sure everyone is progressing according to plan:

  • In the Epics or Features tab of the Backlog module, view the Progress column of the grid

  • In the Team Backlog module, view the Team Progress graph or individual team member bucket.

  • In the Team Backlog module, set limits on the number of items in progress for a phase (WIP limit) and on the number of days an item can be in a phase (card time limit). Each phase in the Board View displays continuously updated information on the number of items in progress and if any items are past their card time limit.

  • Create custom graphs in the Dashboard module.

  • Later in the release, add the Release Forecast widget to the Dashboard to see how ALM Octane predicts you will finish the planned Backlog items.

For details on tracking release progress, see Analyze release progress. For details on the Dashboard, see Use the ALM Octane Dashboard. For details on the Board View, see Use the Board View.

Track release progress

Check overall release progress for each team and its team members.

Add widgets to the Dashboard, such as the Stories Cumulative Flow graph, Burn Up and Burn Down widgets, Velocity Tracking, and so on

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To deliver high-quality features, you must test delivered content in parallel with development. In ALM Octane there are multiple steps to build a test process:

Add tests to Backlog items

For each backlog item (including epics and features), add tests.

For details on adding tests, see Create manual tests or Create Gherkin tests.

Run tests

Run tests in many ways:

  • Manually run a test manually

  • Schedule (plan) a test run or test suite run

  • Add the tests as build steps in your CI server and run the tests as part of a regular build process

For details, see Run manual and Gherkin tests and Run automated tests from ALM Octane.

Add and analyze build processes on CI/CD servers

An important of testing is ensuring new features do not break existing functionality.

To do this, add tests to your CI server builds. Then create a pipeline in ALM Octane that represents the steps of the build. When the pipeline and build run, view the details and results of the build jobs and tests.

The Pipelines module displays all details on the build processes:

  • The build flow

  • Success or failure of the build

  • Connection of build activities and source code commits to existing items

For details, see CI Pipelines.

Analyze test results

After running a test, view the test results.

For manual and Gherkin tests or automated tests included in a pipeline, ALM Octane Help displays the test results in the test run.

For tests run outside ALM Octane upload test results to ALM Octane. Once the test results are available, view the results directly inside the ALM Octane test.

For details, see Stop the run and see results, Send automated test run results to ALM Octane, or Analyze automated test run results.

Open defects

If you find issues or errors in your application, open defects to resolve these issues. This lets you use the errors and issues to improve the development quality. Furthermore, add the defects to the Backlog to include the defect in release planning.

Open defects from:

  • The Backlog module

  • The Defects module

  • The test details, as part of the test run

For details on adding defects, see Report and track product defects or Report defects during a run.

View application quality

As you develop, check the application's quality. This information is displayed according to test results and defects.

Use the ALM Octane widgets to view this information in:

  • The Overview tab of the Backlog module

  • The Overview tab of the Quality module

  • The Dashboard

Analyze release quality

Analyze the quality of the current release. Filter the widgets in the Overview tab of the Backlog and Quality modules by release.

For details on configuring dashboard widgets, see Use the ALM Octane Dashboard.

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After you decide you have completed all assigned backlog items, you are ready to release the application to customers.

Use the feedback from these releases to inform future planning.

Hold a retrospective to present what was done and review the release or sprint. In the Team Backlog module, use the Retrospective area to summarize the sprint or release and address unfinished items.

For details on the retrospective area, see Perform sprint closure and retrospective.

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See also: