IBM Rational ALM Review

Gives us a clear picture of what needs to be developed and what the risks are but the design manager is unstable

What is our primary use case?

I work as Q&A engineer in addition to supporting CALM management. I use it for daily, day-to-day user activities.

How has it helped my organization?

It certainly helps from the requirement management for the deployment phase. Starting with the requirement engineering the customer requirements certification and then to the system requirement analysis, the designing. The tool is quite collaborative. There is no need for overhead in getting the requirements from the requirement management side. 

There is a clear picture between the requirement and the development. The development is done in the Rational Team Concert. The resources are being maintained in addition to the work item. It gives us a clear picture of what needs to be developed and what the risks are.

Once the development activities have been frozen they can be moved to the development or to the testing team, the testing team can get to the common data system, but that's for integration. They then log their test cases, the test functions, and can get feedback in terms of any defects or any risk. At the same time, if you're working from the architect or the designing team, it's quite easy to manage the resources online. It helps us in our day to day activities of maintaining the development lifecycle. 

What is most valuable?

Abilities to share ideas in terms of tasks, lifecycle traceability from requirement to development to testing and designs gives a clear understanding of the system.

What needs improvement?

Support for working with traditional methodologies must be extended if IBM wants to expand horizon in the System engineering domain. You cannot really work in the traditional way of development. In the automotive industry here we tend to follow the Agile methodology.

The designer manager is uncivil. The design manager is clearly really unstable.

In the next release, I would like to see traditional methodologies working within the tool and a traditional planning book in the toolbar. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for around eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability depends on the tool. The Rational Team Concert is quite stable, Rational DOORS Next Generation is stable, and Quality Manager is somewhat stable. Rational Design Manager isn't even 25% stable. I would rate the overall stability as 7.5 out of ten. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The tool is quite scalable, from the deployment side or be it be from the tool functionality side. If you are a part of the development teams it helps you. But I'll say there is room for improvement that could help us. For example, in regards to DOORS and Rational Team Concert, the development with respect to the Java script is limited, while for Java, the capacity is quite huge.

It's scalable but you need a lot of background knowledge if you want to scale the solution.

In my company, we have four or five locations in total, so all together we have somewhere around 500, 600 users. 

The deployment and maintenance only require two to three people but they don't work on it full time. 

We did have plans to increase usage in the past. Recently, we have had some struggles with our events. We had some problems with Rhapsody Design Manager. It took me six months to get it stable and I still struggle with it. I don't think that we'd increase the userbase anytime in the future. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good but there is too much of hierarchy. It takes a lot of time to get to the right person. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial process of setting up the environment I wouldn't say it's complex. But depending on the consideration, like the requirements, if you're going into enterprise-level of full deployment, you need to keep in mind certain inputs there's certain room for enhancement available within the tool. Although, it's quite straightforward. 

Deployment took two or three weeks.

What other advice do I have?

It's a good solution. It's comprehensive. The support is good. If you want to develop your own customized use cases there are better solutions than this one, like JIRA

I would rate it between a six and seven out of ten.

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