IBM i Software Change Management – CMS vs ALM – What’s in a Name?

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May 6, 2021

From Software Change Management System (CMS) to Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)

Back in the good old days of the AS400 and iSeries machines – we used a CMS system for controlling where and how we distributed and installed software. CMS Stood for Change Management Software and it did exactly what it said on the tin.

Us programmers strive to follow a flexible Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Using an application to control software deployments enforces this life cycle and helps to avoid problems caused by lazy programmers bypassing these rules. Rules shouldn’t be broken — unless we really have to! 😉

And then these darn Content Management Systems came along. WordPress, Drupal, Joomla etc are all content management systems – a CMS is a website system designed to make it super easy to build a website, blog daily, and waffle away to your heart’s delight. Just like I am doing right now.

With expulsive growth and wild popularity the CMS acronym was stolen.


Luckily the world of Change Management Software is reacting and rebranding.

Welcome to the new name for software control systems:

ALM – Application Lifecycle Manager

Application Lifecycle Management quite simply defines a comprehensive system of rules, tools, processes to manage the life of your application from concept, to design, to implementation, to support, and on to retirement.

An ALM system follows the guidelines set out by the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), but is more comprehensive in scope typically including:

  • requirements management
  • software architecture
  • computer programming
  • software testing
  • software maintenance
  • change management
  • continuous integration
  • project management
  • release management

IBM i ALM System will have specifics controls for software development, testing, and QA.

It can consist of human processes as well.

Nowadays most developers will use an agile model and remain involved with the application after deployment, working with business owners and operations to make incremental changes as needed. ALM provides businesses a clear direction for an app before it’s built, ultimately avoiding expensive mistakes and unnecessary features. ALM tools also improve decision making enabling developers and leaders to quickly map out an app’s future.

So, now I’ve just got to get used to stop saying the Change Management System and say the Application Lifecycle Manager instead.

What a mouthful!


IBM i Software Developer, Digital Dad, AS400 Anarchist, RPG Modernizer, Shameless Trekkie, Belligerent Nerd, Englishman Abroad and Passionate Eater of Cheese and Biscuits. Nick Litten Dot Com is a mixture of blog posts that can be sometimes serious, frequently playful and probably down-right pointless all in the space of a day. Enjoy your stay, feel free to comment and remember: If at first you don't succeed then skydiving probably isn't a hobby you should look into.

Nick Litten

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