CA Agile Central Review

Built on web services which can be used to pull reports and metrics without SQL queries


What is our primary use case?

It's mainly about test cases and automation of data. I, as a test automation architect, collect all that data and show the metrics.

How has it helped my organization?

We were using Quality Center, Application Lifecycle Management, from Micro Focus. That is hosted on an Oracle Database, whereas Agile Central is completely built on web services. If I have to create some metrics, I can do it via simple web services. Web services can be used to pull the metrics and this is much faster. I don't have to write SQL queries to do so. It definitely saves time, perhaps something like 30 percent.

Also, if I had to track multiple teams in Quality Center, I needed to go through different containers. With this solution, I can just add all of them and see them together.

Also, the data is more granular when it comes to tasks, iterations, sprints, and releases.

What is most valuable?

Some of the services are open so that we can plug in some other tools as well. If I need to do some metrics I can use those services and a simple "get" request from them.

Reporting is much easier and faster than Micro Focus ALM, with CA AC built on web services.

What needs improvement?

One problem I see is that if there is a dependent user story - for example, if my team is working on one thing and there is a dependent user story from another team - we can have a dependency created but we don't know if there is a change of status from the other team. That is something which is very important for Agile Central to look into so that if the other team makes any changes we will be notified as well.

As of now, we get an email alert but that's not sufficient. We can overlook it. What I'm suggesting is that they have something which populates on the team level so Team One and Team Two can communicate on dependent user stories. That would be really helpful.

In addition, reports are confined to teams. For example, I have five to six teams under me, if I have to pull a report, it will be mapped to a single team. I have to pull five teams' reports and then consolidate them to see what the metrics are. I don't have an option to actually add multiple teams to one report.

Finally, it's not capable of some things such as CI/CD. Agile Central is still not there. For CI/CD you need a separate tool and a separate repository called a GitLab. Then you need to run that through a continuous integration called Jenkins. I want to see a holistic approach when you're going with DevOps. There should be just one enterprise tool which is capable of all these things. As of now, Agile Central is just a test management tool.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. I haven't faced any problems up until now. It has never hung. The Quality Center tool would hang. It has some client installation components but Agile Central is all on the server side. So it is much faster.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is definitely good because for a company like ours, with a huge amount of data month over month and year over year - with every release the data piles up. We are not going to delete any of the historical data. So far the scalability is good.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have not contacted technical support.

But there is a voting option available for customizations. If I need an additional field or something needs to be enabled, if more than 60 percent of users vote for it, the CA team will enable that. They have responded well to these types of requests so far.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We were using Quality Center, Application Lifecycle Management. The reason for the switch is a decision taken by our leadership team and I don't have any insights into it. Perhaps it was licensing cost.

If you compare Quality Center vs Agile Central, the latter is much better.

What was our ROI?

It has helped save time, especially when it comes to testing. Uploading a bulk of test cases is much faster. And if the leadership team wants to get any insight from the metrics, pulling in metrics is not so difficult. That is something which I, personally, feel is great when compared with our previous tool, Quality Center.

What other advice do I have?

This solution will be of benefit to somebody who has knowledge of and understands web services, as it is built on web services - Representational State Transfer (REST). 

In our organization, we have about 400-plus users of Agile Central. It is used by the development managers, QA managers, architects, delivery managers, and scrum masters. These are all stakeholders in it.

Across our organization, everyone, including the development team, is following the Agile methodology. We are yet to get into DevOps. Agile Central is the tool which even other departments, like testing, are using.

Overall, I would rate Agile Central as an eight out of ten because of its performance. It doesn't get a ten because of the dependency issue which they need to resolve. And, on the whole, the tool needs to have more of a holistic approach for everything, such as CI/CD and a test management tool. As of now, it is still confined to being only a test management tool.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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