Mike MacDonagh's Blog

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

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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?

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

RSDC 2008 Day 1: Jazz, Sushi, Wallflowers

Today was day 1 of the RSDC 2008. I’ve already been busy for a couple of days but today was the proper first day. Unfortunately I spent the beginning a little hung over. I turned up to the keynote presentation at 8am local time with a bit of a headache – after watching the acrobatics and suffering the loud noise I had an even worse headache – oops :) With only myself to blame I soldiered on to experience many cool things today:

Lots of Jazz stuff

Today IBM Rational officially announced both Rational Requirements Composer and Rational Quality Manager. Also Rational Team Concert has got a lot of press. I blogged a while ago about RRC and RQM (here) so it was good to finally see these products.

Rational Composer is especially interesting to me as it a new Jazz based tool that allows you to manage requirements, create process flow diagrams, GUI mock-ups, manage glossary terms, create traceability and even create Use Case Docs in a single environment. Of course there is integration with Requisite Pro but it seems clear to me that in the long-ish term the products will converge until ReqPro is no longer necessary. I’m looking forward to the GA release of Requirements Composer, and especially the future release that is fully Jazz enabled, making use of Jazz SCM for requirements management and integrating deeply into the other Jazz products. I said previously on my blog that Reqiurements Composer was due for open beta today, but the word is that it will be next week! I’m impressed by this product and I think it will really help people that want to elicit requirements – all the way from organisational business analysts to project business analysts and system analysts. It’s a cool product.

I also saw today the Microsoft Visual Studio client for Rational Team Concert. As a .Net developer myself and someone that works with clients that have heterogeneous environments this is particularly important to me. So far there are some VS native windows for Jazz views such as Team Artifacts and Work Items but I’ve not really seen what the relationship to TFS/VSTS is. Also at the moment some of the views (particularly of work item details) are through the web interface in a html pane inside Visual Studio rather than in a native VS plugin interface – although I’m assured this is to come soon. It’s good to see IBM Rational focussing on integrating with other platform and vendors. As most users would probably say though – I want it now!

Other interesting elements included the news about Rational Project Management and Rational Enterprise Reporting, not to mention the new governance tools from IBM Research including

  • 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

All of the above are native Jazz tools and indicate the bright shiny new Jazz future. It seems obvious to me that these tools and will be the future path in the long term for Rational Portfolio Manager

Rational Team Concert will be the first generally available product and will be released towards the end of this month – here’s a screenshot of IJI EssWork in Team Concert just because I’ve been playing with it:

(cliccy piccy)

Many other things caught my eye today – including an excellent presentation on RPM by Scott Craig that happened to include some ideas that I think will seed solutions for some of the problems faced by my own RPM implementation at the moment at my favourite client.

I also liked the look of IBM Rational Self Check as it’s a good tool for supporting what I and my team have been doing manually for years. In fact the Self Check screenshots look remarkably like the measurements slides in my RUP implementation case study! If only this tool had been available 4 years ago! Rational Self Check is part of the focus on measuring practice adoption and the IBM Rational Measured Capability Improvement Framework (MCIF) – of course practice adoption and measurement is something that we know rather a lot about at IJI ;)

The hat

image shamefully nicked from kelly

Met Kelly and Ferdy

It was cool to meet up with some folks who I’ve previously only interacted with online. I think we need to setup a group photo of us all :)

The Wallflowers gig

More gratuitous photo stealing from kelly:

Ian (Spence) had to point out to me that the lead singer (Jakob Dylan) was the son of Bob Dylan – which once he’d told me it was actually pretty obvious. Clearly I need to be more in touch! There were sparkly cups at the wallflowers gig too, obviously I grabbed a couple to take home for my boys (clicky piccy):

Sushi with the Wallflowers

After the exhibition centre and after the wallflowers gig we went over to Kimonos in the Swan for some Sushi and cocktails, the Wallflowers took the table next to us and it wasn’t long before our group and there’s were intermingled. They were kind enough, after getting hassled by Bryon Baker, to sign some autographs for Garth’s kids 8)

Bryon (and others) at karaoke

Speaking of Bryon, he did a funnygreat rendition of Coca Cabana with Gina, I got the vid on my phone so I’ll upload it and post it tomorrow :D

The ribbons

And here’s an updated pic of the copious number of ribbons I have this year. They’re a good conversation starter though :D

New: Rational Quality Manager and Rational Requirements Composer

A while ago I blogged about the upcoming announcement of a new Rational Quality Manager tool that was going to be announced at the RSDC2008 in June. Well now IBM are leaking the existence of this tool on a new blog http://qualitymanager.wordpress.com and they plan to launch an open beta on the first day of the conference (June 1st).

Rational Quality Manager, or RQM as it will undoubtedly be called, is the next generation Test Management tool from IBM Rational which will replace the old Rational Test Manager and ClearQuest Test Manager to provide a substantial competitor to Mercury’s HP’s Quality Center. RQM is Jazz based making RQM part of Rational’s 2nd generation software development platform including Rational Team Concert, the new Rational Requirements Composer and others.

Rational Quality Manager has been described as “a collaborative web-based quality management solution which offers comprehensive test planning and test asset management for the software lifecycle”.

Rational Requirements Composer has been described as a tool to help “elicit and define requirements for business driven-development”. The IBM Rational Requirements Definition and Management Open Beta website isn’t up yet, but it will be next week on this URL.

You can expect open betas for Rational Quality Manager and Rational Requirements Composer to be made available at the beginning of next week. Watch this space for more info as it comes along…

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