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

Posts tagged “rsdc2008

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 😀

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!


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” 😀

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 😀 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( 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)


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)


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

Open Space as the PDC

I really like this idea:

Open Space

Open Space is a way to bring together groups of people interested in a common topic to have an interactive discussion. In an Open Space session, there may be an expert who is passionate about a topic presenting to an audience or there may be a small group of people discussing an idea.

Four principles of Open Space:

  1. Whoever comes are the right people to be there
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened
  3. Whenever it starts is the right time
  4. When it’s over, it’s over

All you need to do is suggest topics onsite that you wish to discuss and participate in sessions that sound interesting to you. It’s the unconference with content by attendees, for attendees.

That quote comes from this page about UnSessions at the upcoming Microsoft PDC in LA. I went to the last one a few years ago and I’ve been to a few of the IBM Rational RSDC’s and this idea really works for me. I’d like to see that kind of thing going on at the RSDC too.

I’m in two minds as to whether to go to this PDC or not (they don’t happen every year unlike the RSDC, or TechEd). It was certainly extremely valuable going to the last one but this time around I find myself conflicted between needing to grok all things Jazz and similarly needing to grok all things VSTS/TFS, not to mention that I’m a c# developer at heart so I like to keep up with all the techie stuff in the MS space. At the moment I’m thinking that someone from IJI should go but probably not me. If you go, make sure you attend any session or unsession that Anders Hejlsberg is running, he’s always really interesting to listen to and has a brain the size of a planet.

RSDC 2008 Day 4: Meetings, Meetings, Dinner

Day 4 of RSDC is always a bit subdued after the guest speaker and special event of the night before, not to mention the general partying. The exhibition centre isn’t open anymore so all the sales and marketing people fly out on Thurs morning so there’s lots of goodbyes to do.

For me last year was all about meetings on Thurs morning and this year it was too. I also had an excellent dinner at the Italian restaurant in the Swan with Rational UK that I’ve not been to before.

I did hear that the 5 year contract for RSDC at the Dolphin and Swan has been extended another 5, so that means the next 6 RSDC’s will be in Orlando.

Overall I thought this was the best RSDC in years. There were plenty of real announcements, deep dives into new tools and a real energy that for me wasn’t in evidence as much in previous years. The organisation and conference centre was again practically perfect and the technical content was really good.

Bring on RSDC UK in September and RSDC 2009 back in Florida!

RSDC 2008 Day 3: Shatner, Jazz, Speaking, Universal, Party

A great day 3 at RSDC. Bill Shatner did his guest speaking slot this morning – I thought he was very funny, even though I’ve read some of the stories before in his autobiography (Up Til Now). The Shat was on form, self-deprecating, endearing and funny.

Straight afterwards we had a great meeting with one of the key Jazz fellas about incorporating some of the IJI stuff into RTC. Great ideas – I just hope there’s enough will, time, money, resources etc. etc. to achieve them 🙂 Always a problem in a company that’s got one million and one great ideas!

I had my two talks today – talk one on RPM went well and talk two on practice based RUP deployment went really well. If you were at either talks and asked a question then thankyou because we had really good and engaging questions at both talks. If you didn’t come, then come next year! We do good talks 🙂

At the end of the day we had the special event at Universal Studios. I’ve been to the one in LA before (recently burned down!) but not the Florida one. I didn’t really enjoy the LA Universal Studios but that may have been bad theme park management on my part. Tonight Bryon, Matt and I decided to embark on a mission of scamming the rides. This involved trying to cheat, charm, schmooze or otherwise get ourselves onto the first row of every ride multiple times without queuing. I’m proud to report that by indulging in just the right combination of bravado, honesty and linguistics we succeeded every time and as a result I’m sure we enjoyed more rides than anyone else. The MiB ride was a lot of fun and with Matt firmly in support despite his prevalence for motion sickness we went on three times without queuing and thoroughly beat the other teams by an order of magnitude 8) Then we went to the Mummy ride (I think they had this at LA but I missed it when I went a few years ago). That was awesome, lots of forwards and backwards, fire and roller coaster goodness. We scammed it well and went in a lift somewhere off the beaten track and talked our way into the front of the queue again. Finally we went to the Simpsons ride. A virtual roller coaster (which would make you think “rubbish” but was incredible!) ride which of course we scammed by a combination of honesty and charm to go twice in a row in car 1.

In total we saw Fear Factor Live (ok), did 7 runs on the major rides (awesome) had dinner and perhaps one or two beers all in a short couple of hours. A resounding success 8) And much better than last year! Bumped into fellow blogger Kellypuffs a few times too 😀

After returning to the hotel it was time for cocktails and karaoke which is a bit like a baby holding an apple. Please note I did not, have not, and will not sing. Garth Andrews did a remarkably good Elvis karaoke though, not for the first time! A lot of people were celebrating the end of the conference (for some – as the exhibition hall is now closed so all the sales and marketing people go home) or the middle of a hard week of massive information overload and not enough sleep for everyone else. I feel sorry for the people that are speaking first thing on Thurs morning (tomorrow). Especially as then a number of people decided that a late night swim and pool party would be a good idea!

RSDC 2008 Day 2: Jazz Planning, Governance, Steak

No big product announcements today but a lot of deeper dives into each of the new tools I blogged about before. It’s my mission to grok Jazz and so I’m looking forward to a meeting with some of the Jazz team tomorrow after Sir Shat does the keynote. It’s great to have William Shatner as a warm up guy for my two talks tomorrow 😛

There are 6 new Jazz based tools, significant updates to five existing Rational tools that add Jazz capabilities and “plans for certified add-in products from 11 Rational partners”.

One particular session that stood out for me today was on agile planning with Rational Team Concert. There were lots of questions around planning details but what interested me were the implications outside of projects. A lot of the problems that I see in organisations are caused by issues with strategic management, linkage to tactical management, governance and portfolio & programme management. You can get really good at doing projects but if they’re the wrong projects and can’t be resourced decently there’s little point. With that in mind I think I may raise some change requests as work items at since little issues like not being able to assign a work item to a pair can become big issues when aggregated up across projects to see where the time/money is being spent.

Today we gave out around 3000 IvarMan masks to the RSDC attendees in keeping with the superhero theme this year:

At the end of the day we got a bunch of foam missiles from another stand at the exhibition centre and had a small war with the bar staff opposite our stand 😀 It was a long day and a quiet 10 minutes 😀

I’m taking some of these things home for my eldest son! Finally to finish off the night we went to Shula’s most excellent steak restaurant. We declined to try and eat the 48 ounce steak and settled for some more reasonable chunks of perfectly cooked meat. Now it’s time for an early night in preparation for William Shatner’s guest speaking slot and my two talks tomorrow.