Mike MacDonagh's Blog

Somewhere in the overlap between software development, process improvement and psychology

Tag Archives: IJI

RSDC 2009 Call for papers

So it seems like RSDC 2008 has only just finished. In fact RSDC 2008 UK was only a few weeks ago! But things are starting up for RSDC 2009 already. I hear that call for the papers will open tomorrow. The website isn’t up yet so I don’t know what the theme will be but you can expect more stuff turning up at www.ibm.com/rational/rsdc over the next few months.

This will be the 4th year in a row for the Rational Software Development Conference (May 31 – June 4) at the Swan and Dolphin in Orlando, and I heard somewhere that the next 6 will be as well! Not surprising really as it’s a great venue for the conference.

It seems call for papers starts earlier every year, but that’s no surprise seeing as there are more people submitting and going every year. Technically I expect this year to be about the maturation of the Jazz platform, and I would speculate that we will see some cool things like the Visual Studio integration (since screenshots have already been released). There should be some interesting uses of RTC out there (I’m planning to talk about this myself). I’d like to see something about Bluehouse, Focalpoint, Telelogic and Rational Jazz stuff.

I think that the words Tara, Vega and MCIF will be extremely prominent ;)

Top tips for giving a good webinar

I’ve done a lot of webinars over the years. These tips are mostly specific to using Skype (for teleconferencing) and WebEx (for webcasting)

0. BE PREPARED

As with all presentations/demos you should know your slideware and demo inside out. And have practiced it on the machine that you’re going to use for the webinar!

1. If you can use two screens, do!

  • One for running the webinar WebEx window, chat window, attendees window and Q&A window (all easily undocked)
  • One for running your PowerPoint/demo
  • If you use multiple monitors and you’re not using UltraMon you really have no excuse. Go and get it now! Don’t let their rubbish website put you off it’s a critical tool for windows multiple monitor users.

2. Disable all bandwidth or screen interrupting widgets

  • Outlook, twhirl, yammer, IM, etc. etc.

3. I find that significant animation played well but it’s probably a good idea not to over-do it!

4. Run a PowerPoint optimizer on your presentation before webcasting (pptminimizer recommended)

  • It reduced my graphics heavy presentation from 19.8Mb to 6.3Mb

5. I use skypeout to call the teleconference on my USB speakerphone, that frees me up to use a keyboard/mouse properly

  • When entering the pin number through skype it will pick up your keyboard number pad as a phone keypad if you select the skype window first
  • When entering pins/passcodes using a keyboard do it slowly otherwise the teleconference software won’t understand it. If it rejects the pin try typing it again more slowly.
  • Buy yourself an awesome skype friendly USB speakerphone

6. If you try to login to WebEx before the event has started you need to refresh the page periodically to enable the Join button when the event does start

7. Once the host hands you the presentation rights you should select the Share menu and choose to share an application

  • In my experience doing WebEx demos over the years I’ve found WebEx desktop sharing to be a bit flaky whereas sharing multiple applications is easy and saves you any embarrassment of a popup window showing you message about your bank balance or last night’s shenanigans while webcasting
  • Have the front slide of your presentation up before attendees join so they know they’re in the right place!

8. If you’re going to demo in a browser or show your desktop remove all shortcuts, personal bookmark toolbars and disable content addons that you don’t want the whole world to see.

9. The Attendees window shows you how many people are logged in, when they’ve left at the end beware of them joining back in again if you’re having a private conversation afterwards.

10. If you mention something covered by a later webinar in the series then plug it (view the full set of the IJI webinars here)

  • In fact you should probably have a slide with them on a the end

RSDC US Feedback

This week we got our feedback scores from the RSDC 2008 in Florida. I had two presentations this year and got am average of 4.27 out of 5 on my RPM talk and 4.7 out of 5 for my practice based RUP deployment presentation :D

I’ll be repeating the practice based RUP deployment talk at the RSDC UK in September CUPID – Implementing the IBM Rational Unified Process at PricewaterhouseCoopers Scroll down a few posts to see some info on the RSDC UK

As for the WordPress FireFox extension – I can see lots of people downloading it, but very few rating it or adding a review. I need those ratings to push it public on the FireFox extensions website. If you’ve tried it out leave a review and rating – please!

RSDC UK Agenda Published

The IBM Rational Software Development Conference UK (RSDC UK) will be held in (22 – 23 September 2008 Royal College of Physicians, London). At the moment the banner on the RSDC UK main page is misspelt :D Perhaps a little less “devlopement” and a bit more “testing” might be useful :P

Anyway, this promises to be a great event with some great speakers. On Monday the keynote will be given by Erich Gamma in real life and Grady Booch in Second Life. Then on Tuesday the keynote will be given by Ivar Jacobson. Another colleague some of you may have heard of, Ian Spence, will also be speaking. I’ll also be speaking at the event, once with my client presenting a case study.


Me CUPID – Implementing the IBM Rational Unified Process at PricewaterhouseCoopers

P05 Monday 15:50 – 16:50, Presented by Mike MacDonagh (Me! Principal Consultant, IJI) and Linda Weedon (Methods & Tools Manager, PwC)

PricewaterhouseCoopers UK IT chose to adopt the IBM Rational Unified Process (RUP) as part of a Capability Uplift and Process Improvement Deployment (CUPID) program. This presentation focuses on the use of RUP to manage a large-scale deployment of RUP and the effective adoption of the IBM Rational tools when facing challenges such as geographically distributed development, the requirement for process governance, and the tailoring of RUP to an organizational change management process.
Me Live Jazz: Process execution in IBM Rational Team Concert

PPM05 Tuesday 16:30 – 17:30, Presented by Mike MacDonagh, (Me! Principal Consultant, IJI)

This session covers bringing software development practices to life using IBM Rational Team Concert. The demonstration includes kicking off a new project making use of Work Items, Agile Planning, Jazz SCM, Team Reports and other Jazz components in a seamless configured environment.

I’ve posted a lot about Jazz and Team Concert on this blog so follow some of the links to look around – this session at the RSDC UK is basically a big demo so it’s your chance to see RTC and get a really good understanding of what it can do.


I suppose I really should get around to uploading a new pic of myself. The one’s on this blog and all over the internet are about 6 years old… these days I’ve got a goatee beard and a lot more grey hair!

This conference is going to be a great gathering of thought leaders in the world of software development, an opportunity to see what’s coming in the future from IBM Rational and an opportunity to network with peers, partners and hassle friendly IBMers. So make sure you register and come along :)

Knowledge Centered Support in my project

Kelly Drahzal recently published this great presentation on Knowledge Centered Support which made me think a bit on the nature of support mechanisms. I’m currently engaged in rolling out a large and complex enterprise tool (Rational Portfolio Manager) and associated governance, portfolio management and project management practices in a large and complex client.

One of the things we need to do to get these pracitices and the tool embedded in an organisation is manage support. Our support takes two forms, tools support and process support. Normally when a person thinks they’re asking for one of them they’re actually asking for the other :P One of the interesting things about the support that my rollout team provides to the practitioners is that ultimately it’s a transient function – we won’t be the long term support team on this product, in fact support will be handed over to the centralised support function and the rollout team (comprised of external consultants (some IJIers, an IBMer and some independents) and contractors) will dissapate into the ether from whence it came. So obviously, as per Kelly’s presentation we’re very keen on knowledge centered support – we don’t want to waste our time, effort and brain power by re-recreating the answers to people’s problems.

So what do we actually do to try and avoid some of these problems and do some knowledge based support? We’re a transient support function so we don’t have and super tools or even specialist knowledge base management skills. What we do have is a highly skilled team and a number of communication channels.

We capture all support requests in a humble excel spreadsheet, regardless of their communication channel and categorise the requests into a number of categories. (Of course this gave me an excuse to write some cunning macros to keep everything updated automatically).

As well as providing lovely graphs the spreadsheet captures the issue and the response. As a result the team can all see who had what problem and how it was resolved. As problems are solved knowledge is created, capturing it in a spreadsheet is all well and good, and can be searched on by the support team but it’s not great in terms of sharing that knowledge broadly. (As it happens the support spreadsheet is publicly accessible via a guest account on our config management repository – but that doesn’t mean anyone is looking!)

To share the knowledge we communicate it through many channels. Sometimes it’s apparent that our education has been lacking some good guidance so we update the education programme (training courses, open surgeries, lunch ‘n’ learns). We have a wiki where we can post new bits of information, a message board/forum, emailing lists, laminated desk drops, a FAQ on the wiki and also some mentoring guides. One of the functions of our team is to mentor practitioners in the adoption of practices and tools and to do that we have a number of mentoring packages that we give to adopting teams. Ensuring that the mentors are all saying the same thing, giving the same solution to the same problem is important. One of the best ways of doing this it to get the mentors together to talk to each other, run through scenarios and gain consensus on the common answers. We also document these scenarios, sometimes in the practitioner facing User Guide and sometimes through mentor guides.

First Look: IBM Rational Quality Manager

Note this is from 2008, for a review of RQM in 2011 see CLM 2011 review

Yet again hats off the Jazz folks for making something consumable. With no effort involved I was able to download and install a Beta 2 of Rational Quality Manager (RQM) and login and get a default empty dashboard with no configuration at all 8)

RQM is a web based tool “for test planning, workflow control, tracking and metrics reporting capable of quantifying how project decisions and deliverables impact and align with business objectives.” It’s also Jazz based. A couple of weeks ago I did a First Look analysis of Rational Requirements Composer (here) so I thought I’d have a look at RQM today. I should caveat this by saying I’m not a QA/Test expert! :)

This being a Beta there are some bugs hanging around like the horizontal tabs having a higher z-order than the pop-up menus from the left navigation bar so you’ve got to be precise with the mouse to open the “My Test Plans” tab at the moment and it’s a little hard to create a new test plan :S If only the left menu bar auto scrolled down like the “related sites” links on the far right! Eventually I worked around this by constructing the URI to create a new test plan – https://localhost:9443/jazz/web/console/QM#action= com.ibm.rqm.planning.home.actionDispatcher&subAction=newTestPlan and just typing it into the browser address bar. I had this problem in FF and IE, anyway I’ve got a work around so off I go.

Here’s the blank empty GUI:

Once I got into the Test Plan editor I was able to start creating a structured Test Plan. I like this idea, as instead of a huge Word document with no structure here there are discreet sections with potentially seperate ownership. Obviously in my demo repository there are no requirements to hook into a test plan so I clicked the button to create one, this led me into the Rational Team Concert web interface 8)

Unfortunately I got quite a few errors in trying to save sections of my test plan, and also none of the editors for the various sections would let me type in them no matter how many times I hit the “Edit” link. The idea of structured test assets continues in the Test Case editor, although I had the same problems as with Test Plans here in terms of editing some of the content. I was however able to generate work items (which naturally I did twice) based on my test case and configured environments using the excellent lab management interface :D

Upon executing my generated work item the problem I found was that my test failed. There were no doughnuts to be had! :(

This being based on the Jazz platform there is of course a lot of reporting available (I shifted over to the sample Java PetStore test plan since there wasn’t enough data in my dummy project).

Conclusions

RQM gives you a fully web based quality management portal. The structured nature to managing test assets is a major improvement, and since this is Jazz based I’m sure it’s all deeply configurable for different ways of working and approaches to quality management and testing.

The integration of information from Team members, Test Plans, Test Cases, Test Scripts, Execution, Reports and Defects is seamless and intuitive, with requirements and defects being managed through the Rational Team Concert interface and of course the data is easily reported on.

I’d like to dig more into the integration with other tools such as Rational Team Concert, possibilities with Rational Requirements Composer and the relationship between process templates in these various tools. Not to mention migration paths from other QM/Test tools like the “classic” Rational tools and those from other vendors.

All in all it looks like an impressive, intuitive and powerful product but it’s an early access Beta and has quite a few bugs that can make playing with it a bit frustrating at the moment.

More info

See my first look at IBM Rational Requirements Composer here

See more stuff about Jazz in general here: What’s all that Jazz?

IBM Rational Ensemble or IBM Rational Ensemble

Just to be confusing there are two distinct things called “IBM Rational Ensemble”.

IBM Rational Ensemble – Rational Labs Project

One is a Rational Labs project that is built on Jazz technology and is focussed on improving team collaboration by connecting users with other users that may be working on similar things as well as searching historic work item information to offer comparisons to past work. This is currently code named IBM Rational Ensemble

Improve team collaboration

  • Awareness of similar work
  • Tracks historic assignments
  • Links team members

More Jazz screenshots here

IBM Rational Ensemble – Business Partner Group

The other thing called IBM Rational Ensemble is “a gathering of business partners around IBM’s exciting Jazz technology! Our vision and purpose, is to create excitement and buzz around this new technology.” Somehow I think it’s this latter definition that’s going to win in this struggle for the name :)

Of course Ivar Jacobson International is part of the IBM Rational Ensemble which is great as it means we can get eary info on Jazz and the new Jazz products. The future is funky :D

Screenshots of new IBM Rational Jazz products

[EDIT: This post is from 2008 if you want a preview of the new 2011 product suite see here]

 

I recently put together a presentation for IJI on IBM Rational Jazz and the new, and future, Jazz -based products. Rather than present bullet points about products I like to show demos where possible and screenshots otherwise as like many people I find that I need to see a tool to gain an understanding of it. This presented me with a bit of a problem because most of these tools aren’t released yet, and some are only ideas from Rational Labs rather than actual listed products. But I managed to get screenshots or at least spy shots for the presentation so I thought I’d share.

You can download the whole presentation here, it’s in PDF form though so you don’t get the animation or Rational Team Concert demo vids (if you’re an IJIer just drop me an email if you want the full demo videos) Download

Here’s some screenshots and spy shots of some of the new tools:

Rational Team Concert

Rational Team Concert (RTC) is a collaborative project execution environment providing source control, work item tracking, build management and reporting capabilities as well as supporting agile planning. RTC is the first Jazz based product and at the moment the best known. The demo includes some early integration between Esswork and RTC.

Early access packages of RTC are available now from jazz.net

Rational Quality Manager

Rational Quality Manager (RQM) is a business-driven software quality portal for people seeking a collaborative and customizable solution for test planning, workflow control, tracking and metrics reporting capable of quantifying how project decisions and deliverables impact and align with business objectives.

RQM should be available around the 7th of July

Rational Requirements Composer

Rational Requirements Composer (RRC) is a requirements definition solution that enables organizations to enhance their requirements processes with easy-to-use elicitation and definition capabilities and provides various visualisation, documentation and collaboration capabilities.

Open Beta pre-registration (Available in July hopefully)


The following are currently Rational Labs projects and may not make future products in their current form

Rational Tempo

Improve estimation through:

  • Tracking probabilities
  • Schedule extrapolation
  • Risk management

Rational Ensemble

Improve team collaboration

  • Awareness of similar work
  • Tracks historic assignments
  • Links team members

There is also business partner collective called IBM Rational Ensemble which is not the same thing as this Rational Labs project!

Rational Governor

Improve Governance

  • Specify Governance Solutions
  • Manage Roles and Decisions
  • Automate processes

Rational Financier

Improve Financial Management

  • Specify Governance Solutions
  • Manage Roles and Decisions
  • Automate processes

Software & Systems Quality Conference UK

Software & Systems Quality Conference United Kingdom
Conference 29th – 30th September 2008

Coming up in September is the Software and Systems Quality Conference in London (SQC 2008 UK). The SQC is the premier conference for software quality and testing professionals in the UK, this years the SQC will be:

“Exploring what the testing community can do to boost productivity in the business space,  SQC UK will be a hive of activity this year with some fascinating speakers for what promises to be a challenging and potentially controversial conference theme: “Never to too busy – the role of testing in improving productivity”

Notice the lack of quality assurance here in the use of “to” and “too” :D

A good friend and colleague of mine, Matt Archer, who recently co-spoke with me at RSDC 2008 will be speaking on “A Thinking Framework for Context – Driven Test Documentation” – here’s the first paragraph from his abstract:

“Whenever the topic of documentation is discussed, it always reminds me of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In this story, a family of three bears live in a house in the woods. One day, the bears go for a walk, leaving their house unlocked. While they are out, Goldilocks enters the house and discovers three bowls of porridge. The bowls have been heated to each bears’ specific taste so when Goldilocks samples the porridge she finds that the father’s porridge is “too hot”, the mother’s porridge is “too cold”, but the cub’s porridge is “just right”.

Read the full abstract here

It’s got me on the first line :D Should be an entertaining and interesting talk, so if you’re in the Quality/Testing space then attend this conference and go and see Matt’s talk on Monday 29th at 11.30 – 12.10

When can you get the Jazz based Rational Tools?

I’ve seen some comments about the fact that at the RSDC2008 Rational announced 22 products. I think many bloggers and article writers may have got a little confused by all the hype. Rational certainly made some very important product announcements and the Rational Labs in the exhibition centre were fantastic in terms of showing us some previews of what’s coming in the future. These announcements and lab previous are the primary reason why I said it was the best RSDC in years. However there weren’t 22 new products announced! It breaks down like this in terms of what the analysts have been writing/bloggin:

IBM Rational announced pricing and availability for a swath of 22 products:

  • There are 6 new IBM Rational products that are native Jazz products (6)
  • Updates to five existing Rational tools that add Jazz enablement/capabilities (5)
  • plans for certified add-in products from 11 Rational partners (11)

6+5+11 = 22

Personally I’ve struggled to put these numbers in context. I think I’m fairly aware of the new Rational stuff that’s coming along but I can’t quite get the numbers to add up, so the rest of this post is about what I’m aware of, please comment if you have any more/contrary information: (Edit: see the comments on this post for a clarification on the numbers from IBM)

New Jazz based tools:

  1. IBM Rational Team Concert (may not count as it’s been announced for 2 years)
  2. IBM Rational Quality Manager
  3. IBM Rational Requirements Composer
  4. IBM Rational Financier
  5. IBM Rational Governor
  6. IBM Rational Tempo
  7. IBM Rational Ensemble (not to be confused with the IBM Rational Ensemble that is a business partner collective!)
  8. IBM Rational Enterprise Reporting
  9. IBM Rational Project Management

I’m counting 9 not 6

As for the 5 updated, these will be ClearQuest, ClearCase, ReqPro, RPM (arguably) and…? I’m not sure where AppScan fits in with this stuff. It’s great tool and will clearly integrate with Rational Quality Manager but I don’t know where it fits in with the 22? announcements. Similar questions can be asked about the Telelogic tools.

Anyway here’s what I’m tracking in terms of the new IBM Rational Jazz tools:

Rational Team Concert

Release Candidate 4(Jazz.net registration required) is currently available for downloading, the production release is sceduled for mid 2008 with the enterprise release scheduled for October 2008 (that’s the one I’d use for piloting)

Also

IBM Rational are running a number of open betas for some of the new tools that were announced at last weeks RSDC. They’re not generally available yet but will be soon. Specifically:

Rational Quality Manager

This open beta program includes two new Rational products and three enhanced versions of Rational products that you already know:

  • NEW* IBM® Rational® Quality Manager v8.0
  • NEW* IBM® Rational® Test Lab Manager v8.0 Extension**
    **This extension is included in Rational Quality Manager for the open beta but will be available under separate license for GA.
  • ENHANCED* IBM® Rational® Performance Tester v8.0
  • ENHANCED* IBM® Rational® Functional Tester v8.0
  • ENHANCED* IBM® Rational® Service Tester for SOA Quality v8.0

Open Beta pre-registration – get emailed when the open beta gets released on (currently) June 24th 2008

There will also be some open web demos on June 24th so you can get an overview without pre-registering for the beta if you wish.

Rational Requirements Composer

This Beta features the latest version of Rational RequisitePro for managing your requirements, as well as a new offering, Rational Requirements Composer, enhancing your abilities to elicit and define requirements for business driven-development.

NEW* IBM Rational Requirements Composer Beta focuses on the following capabilities for requirements definition and management:

  • Leverage multiple sources for requirements and organize them in rich documents for context
    • Create requirements and link to supporting documents and external sources
    • Supplement textual content with embedded views of diagrams and sketches
  • Develop robust use cases
    • Create simple, informative use-case diagrams
    • Elaborate use cases with rich document descriptions, user interfaces sketches, storyboards, and activity flows
  • Build comprehensive business glossaries
    • Interact with rich documents to define and share new terms
    • Link to and verify the usage of existing terms
  • Sketch business processes
    • Sketch business processes using a widely recognizable and easily understandable subset of the BPMN notation
    • Link business tasks and decision points to use cases, user interface sketches, and requirements
  • Visualize results with user interface sketches and storyboards
    • Elaborate the user experience to further elicit and validate requirements
    • Refactor sketches into reusable parts to quickly build storyboards
    • Easily maintain storyboards as sketch changes are propagated throughout
    • Link requirements to any user interface part
  • Collaborate in context to validate and clarify requirements
    • Attach comments to virtually any textual or graphical element
    • Maintain comment threads for conversational context
    • Create requirements from comment content
    • Host reviews within the collaborative environment to facilitate requirements validation and approval
  • Integrate Rational Requirements Composer Beta and Rational RequisitePro v7.1 Beta
    • RequisitePro integrations provide requirements traceability across the application lifecycle
    • Enhance requirements content to overcome perception, communication, and information gaps across functions, organizations, and geographies.

ENHANCED* Rational RequisitePro® v7.1 Beta focuses on the following new and improved capabilities:

  • RequisitePro client for Web enhancements, including:
    • Improved Microsoft® Word integration: create and edit requirements without taking documents offline
    • Additional project administration capability
    • View rich-text requirements content
    • Run and share BIRT-based reports
  • Enhanced security model for enterprise deployments
    • Set permissions on package hierarchies and views
  • New BIRT-based reporting option
    • Report designer for custom report design
    • Sample report templates aid in report design
  • Baseline Manager improvements
    • Explore baseline contents to gain context beyond baseline comparisons

Open Beta pre-registration – get emailed when the open beta gets released (currently) planned for late June/July 2008

Other tools

Some other tools I’m aware of but don’t have any information on dates (some of these are part of the rational labs research and may never make final products):

  • IBM Rational Financier – gives project and program managers insight into the financial value of one ore more projects to help identify and manage risks
  • IBM Rational Governor – helps IT organisations manage project roles and associates decision rights including managing the polices that constrain decisions and promote compliance with processes
  • IBM Rational Tempo – lets project managers understand and mange the variability of schedule overruns, a key source of risk in software development projects
  • IBM Rational Ensemble – reduces risks incurred by communication failures by promoting communication between developers doing related work (see here for info on the business partner group called IBM Rational Ensemble)
  • IBM Rational Enterprise Reporting – a reporting interface that sits across all of the Jazz tools, more than just a jazz version of SoDa this tool can replace a lot of the executive dashboard features of tools like RPM
  • IBM Rational Project Management – a replacement for Microsoft Project???
  • IBM Rational Self Check (see MCIF)

Conclusions

There’s clearly a lot going on in this space and the next few years will be critical in the Rational space as Jazz takes it’s ascendency. It seems obvious to me that the “classic” Rational tools (ReqPro, ClearCase, ClearQuest etc.) will converge with the new Jazz based tools in each area and Rational will provide an upgrade path for each tool so eventually more everyone from the classic tools to the Jazz tools. In my opinion this is a good thing for a number of reasons:

  • Rather than purchases of point products integrated point to point, the Jazz project is an architectural focus on the needs of the industry. I’d argue this is long overdue and extremely valuable.
  • Distributed teams are accepted as the norm not the exception
  • The “classic” tools have needed a facelift for a while
  • And more importantly there is a growing trend from Rational towards Practice based process and tooling, something that my company, and me personally, have been evangelising for a while now. The new Jazz tools, the MCIF, practice based approach to process and embracing of agile principles demonstrate a genuine effort in right direction
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