IBM Rational ALM Review

Helped with time management, improved our resource utility, and helped assure on-time completion


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use for implementing this solution was to use it for was for a science project at a university. We used it to monitor progress and enhance productivity.

How has it helped my organization?

The product helped us organize projects and effectively use our resources. Essentially it helped with time management. It improved our resource utility and helped assure on-time completion.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable component of this solution was in its ability to help us with the management of tools and the resources that we were using.

What needs improvement?

There are a few ways to potentially improve the product although it performs as expected. 

Reporting can be easier to do and customize, but it is adequate.

Product support could be better for new users by providing more beginner-type tutorials. While the product itself is not so complex, step-by-step instructions that help new users understand the basics will make the product easier to adopt. When we started to use the product it was a little bit of mess because we were not used to using it and implemented it poorly in some ways that would have been easy to avoid. Using the product efficiently will be better if there are step-by-step and interactive guides.

It would be nice if there were some more possibilities for storing either custom or standard information like stack information, memory cards type and capacity, or other details about products that can be visualized easily in case they may need to be upgraded to solve performance issues.

It was a product we decided to use for educational purposes and to provide some guidance to complete projects on time.

For how long have I used the solution?

We haveonly been using this solution for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is stable. We went with this product for management of lifecycle mostly because it was offered by a well-known, reliable company. We assumed it would be stable and we are not disappointed.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We never really needed to scale the usage a lot, but we never had an issue adding users or projects, so scalability is good.

How are customer service and technical support?

I was satisfied with the level of technical support, but it can be a little better. It doesn't have to do exactly with the technical support team, but more with additional material and information which you could find on their website.

For example, if you know the questions and you know it is probably a common thing that people need to know, you should not have to call support to find the answer. If you had a better collection of frequently asked questions — a FAQ — users could quickly solve more of their own problems. This source of information does not currently exist.

When you are not so experienced there are a lot of basic questions you have and you should have easy answers. Instead of being able to just find the answer yourself in a knowledge base or forum, you have to ask other people with more experience. It wouldn't be necessary if they would just provide some more information.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We were using JIRA for other larger projects. That is a product which is more difficult to learn. ALM was not very complicated and we did not need something that would take time for people to learn when doing short-term projects. It is easier to use than JIRA which is for longer-term planning.

How was the initial setup?

The installation was not so easy, but not difficult. The installation itself was not hard but then you had to know something to configure the projects. It was not just bam-bam and it's done but it's not really difficult to configure it to do what you need.

I think that a person with a little bit of experience will make quick work of the setup.

What other advice do I have?

I was satisfied using this product because it has done what it was intended to do. It's user-friendly and technical support wasn't too bad. We used IBM Rational ALM as it was created by one of the leaders in the industry. Apparently it was not as difficult to use as some other products.

On a scale from one to ten with one being the worst and ten being the best, I would personally rate this product as an eight of ten.

If I gave it a ten it would mean that I was so satisfied that I wouldn't need any additional services and so on. It would be perfect. In my opinion, it is better to rate something like an eight or nine so that there is room for improvement

Like anything, we had to learn how to set it up to make it useful for what we intended to have it do. Without optimization, it's more difficult and more complicated for inexperienced users to apply in a project.

My advice is that if you are considering this as a solution, you should definitely try it because it is a good solution to use for time management and product lifecycle tracking without having to get very involved.

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