It is important to understand what Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) enables clients to do within Anaplan.
In short, ALM enables clients to effectively manage the development, testing, deployment, and ongoing maintenance of applications in Anaplan.
With ALM, it is possible to introduce changes without disrupting business operations by securely and efficiently managing and updating your applications with governance across different environments and quickly and safely deploying changes in your planning cycles as you test and release development changes into production.
Common questions to ask before deploying ALM
How are you going to develop your models?
Who is going to develop the models?
Do you need to segregate responsibilities for development, test, and production models?
The overall ALM process can be broadly categorized into five stages:
Design an application that meets your business requirements. You will create user stories, schema diagrams, modules, data flows, wireframes, and prototypes.
Build stage, you create the lists and modules that make up the application. At this stage, use sanitized data; don't be concerned about loading production data into your application. Keep the development model small in a separate development workspace.
Test the application for performance and user acceptance. To isolate testing from production, utilize a separate test workspace containing test models, and use mock data or a subset of sanitized production data.
Deployment introduces the application to end users with full production data. Generally, your production application will be separate from your development and test applications. Importing production data from an external system or data hub might be part of your deployment process.
Post-deployment, as you build out an application to address further requirements, the development lifecycle can be repeated as often as necessary. Post-deployment development might include:
Fixes to resolve issues, either discovered in production or deferred in the build or test stage.
Additional functionality is provided by new dashboards, modules, lists, or formulas.
New models to support additional business requirements.
Tips and Tricks
We know that change is inevitable. Here are some tips to follow before and during deployment:
Create a structure for change.
Establish central responsibilities for the process.
Establish functional representatives in the business.
Designate a central solutions architect.
Establish a process for changing/creating a new model.
Consider segregation of duties for development and production models/workspaces.
Create a change control process.
Establish a process for collecting change requests.
Clarify requirements with end users.
Calculate development estimates (aka level of effort).
Define a triage process to prioritize developments.
Refer to the Business Owner for approval.
Agree on a development or sprint plan.
Define a communication plan to the end users.
If a data hub (see above) is used, consider the following:
Set Imported hierarchies as "Production lists".
Set up imports from live data hub into development models.
Use saved views and filters to contain the scope of development, test, and production models.
Always use development models as the source for both test and production models.
Once deployed mode is enabled for production models, do not take the model out of the deployed mode.
We currently have features to enable lifecycle management by building pages based on a development model, and then migrating to a production model in the same tenant. The full guide on how to perform lifecycle management with current capabilities in the UX can be found here. A more unified ALM sync experience for UX is also on the product roadmap, so stay tuned!
How to leverage the ALM APIs?
The ALM APIs enable customers to easily integrate Anaplan with existing tools and systems for automated and centralized change management. They allow customers with large environments to save time by running multiple change deployments in parallel and orchestrate these from a system of their choice. These APIs deliver the flexibility to build custom applications on top of Anaplan to provide additional layers of segregation of duty and custom approval processes. Customers can also use these APIs to retrieve and export information about the various ALM execution steps as auditable artifacts needed for SOX compliance reviews and other regulatory audit reviews.
Learn more on how to start using the ALM APIs here [link coming soon]
The content in this article has not been evaluated for all Anaplan implementations and may not be recommended for your specific situation.
Please consult your internal administrators prior to applying any of the ideas or steps in this article.