I am excited to announce the availability of the new Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) reference architecture. Ben Chamberlain who created this reference architecture demonstrates how to build on SharePoint Server 2007, the EPM Solution and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2008 to better connect the worlds of Project & Portfolio Management and Application Development.
This furthers the concepts of using the SharePoint platform as way to enriching Enterprise Architecture and the corresponding methods that support and enable it.
Working with Ben on ALM alignment at Microsoft, this reference architecture is in very much in alignment with the methods used to build the Enterprise Architecture Toolkit (EATK) and will be directly compatable. This is both from a technology perspective as they use the same platform components, and they will be compatible at the process level as they complement each other in that the EATK focuses on EA and the new reference implementation focuses on micro application portfolio management concepts.
Above you can see where the new ALM reference architecture fits into the EATK world. This is a logical view of how it fits. From a physical perspective some of the pieces will combine such as:
- Portal platform
- Common integration
- Message schemas
We shouldn’t necessarily combine everything due to the fact these derive from separate products which have their own architectures. We harvest the commonalities and keep separate the pieces that make sense to be separate. In this case it is the data model. The data model is unique to the implementation in Project Server. We do not want to re-engineer that as it adds unnecessary complexity with little return. What we do is federate the information to the the necessary repository. This will both preserve the functionality and greatly increase the time to delivery but will also reduce the impact with upgrades of the Project Server product or replacement of it with another technology.
ALM Reference Architecture Details
The new ALM Solution includes (but is not limited to) the following capabilities:
- IT Demand Management Portal: A dedicated portal for capturing all work (project & non-project). Requests are controlled by governance workflows through the investment submission and business case development stages.
- IT Dashboard: Consolidated dashboard that aggregates data from projects, work requests (non-project work) and the organizations application portfolio
- Portfolio Analysis & Selection: Project Portfolio Server 2007 helps organization optimize scarse resources / budgets and select the project portfolios that optimally align with their strategic priorities
Consolidated Workspace: A single workspace for each application development project that provides a collaboration portal for both project and development teams. The workspace includes three tabs:
- Initiate Tab: This tab is the main view during the investment submission, business case development and portfolio selection activities
- Execute Tab: This tab supports the project planning and execution phases of the applcation development project
- Reports: This tab consolidates data from EPM and VSTFS to provide a consolidated set of reports
- Integrating Project Server 2007 & Team Foundation Server 2008: We modified the existing Project Server 2007 and TFS 2008 Codeplex connector to ensure the right data is available to all roles (e.g. Executive, Project Manger, Dev Lead, Developer) and that we eliminated any human intervention or double data entry.
The following extensions were made to the Codeplex Connector:
- Automatic creation of TFS project after the successful completion of the Select Checkpoint
- Automatically link the corresponding projects in Project Server & TFS
- Aggregate detailed development tasks in TFS to summary development activities in Project Server. This ensures Project Managers and Stakeholders can track the progress at the summary level, while providing the flexibility for the development team to break down development activities into more granular tasks / features