Micro Focus ALM Octane Review

We now have standardized practices providing cross-project reusable assets including tests


What is our primary use case?

We use it for Agile: Requirements, backlog, and testing for 80 apps, including SAP and Teamcenter.

How has it helped my organization?

Octane provides the platform needed for teams to run Agile projects. Previous tools like ALM QC were modeled for Waterfall methodologies. Metrics are not relevant for us in this case as we are still moving from Waterfall to Agile and hybrid delivery.

Our Waterfall practices have been standardized and templated to provide cross-project metrics and reusable assets, such as tests and other libraries. Our Mobile and Solution Delivery teams are finding Octane provides the CI/CD and DevOps connections with development and infrastructure teams, connections that they had previously managed with brute force tools like SharePoint, Excel, and email.

What is most valuable?

Backlog management is the most valuable feature. This was a capability that was missing or difficult to achieve in ALM Quality Center.

What needs improvement?

Octane, from an administration perspective, is very limited. The application is improving with each release but what is missing is the ability to manage users and workspaces. I would also like "usable" reporting for more than a few workspaces. Also still missing is the ability to copy a workspace or get data in or out, except for limited REST calls.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

As early adopters, we began using Octane before the ink was dry on the first release. Since the first release, we have seen nothing but added capabilities and feature/functionally improvements. We have not experienced a single instance where something was removed or deprecated. That said, we do find they like to move buttons around and hide things in different drop downs now - but there has never been a loss in capability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have projects and teams with several hundreds of users and tens of thousands of records (requirements, tests, etc.). There are risks with not being able to copy a workspace to test changes to the CI/CD or pipelines, so that is a miss. The reporting is limited to a few thousand records so we've had to request an override to the limits - but Micro Focus delivered on this immediately, once we stated the case.

How is customer service and technical support?

I've worked with the SaaS team and Micro Focus R&D on many aspects for initial setup, bridges, and complex four-system conversions. The technical experts are some of the best I've worked with in more years than I can admit to.

Which solutions did we use previously?

Octane was brought in to be the standard SDLC platform in concert with QC. We replaced VersionOne, Jira, and several in-house solutions since I've been with the company.

How was the initial setup?

We are on SaaS. Setup and deployment were immediate and required no effort on our part, except to make the request. This was also true for staging environments for a PoC.

Initially, our implementation strategy was to enable a trial period of six months to one year. The community response was so overwhelming that we went into a production mode within the first quarter and began setting up and migrating teams within the first year. Even emphasizing that the platform at that time was essentially a PoC, teams adopted it, even with the risks, and never looked back.

We work directly with our Micro Focus CSM. The technical team, including R&D, is first-class.

What was our ROI?

The only quantifiable ROI is the license cost savings converting from VersionOne and JIRA. With about 200 users for each platform, the ROI calculations are based on what was paid for the previous solutions.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I highly recommend the flex licensing model. With flex, we can ramp up or down to accommodate demand changes for roll-outs or PoCs, etc., as needed. It is especially useful for our performance and load testing areas.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated solutions from ServiceNow, VersionOne, Jira, and multiple in-house solutions.

What other advice do I have?

My advice, going on my experience to date with Octane, is to be sure you are ready to support the demands for licenses. I have found that once a team gets access, they will not go back to the previous tools and will want to convert everything. Make sure you have guidelines in place on the CoE's expectations so the teams actually use the tools for SDLC and not as a replacement for simple request tracking.

In terms of our biggest lessons learned about adapting tools and processes for Agile and DevOps, building templates and standards that have provided a lot of value in a Waterfall approach do not migrate well to an Agile practice. Previously, we focused on testing, mostly in isolation from requirements and development. Moving to Agile in Octane switched the primary usage to backlog (requirements) focus. The challenge has been to bring focus back to testing and quality delivery in concert with backlog management.

The challenges we faced with ALM Quality Center were the test and defect management capabilities. There was a difficult process in place to track and link requirements and releases. In ALM Octane we are finding the reverse. Requirements management, release, teams, etc. are exceptional, but we are finding the users are less focused on the testing and defect management capabilities.

We have 1,000-plus users using this solution in every role. Most are team members but we have admins and integration teams assigned to every role, including custom roles we've set up. In terms of staff for deployment and maintenance, we are on SaaS. Our CSM manages that side of things.

We have been using Octane since it was released, and maybe a little before that. Octane is a corporate standard and we see no reason to not continue migrating teams - that are ready - from Waterfall tools to Octane. We still support 3,000-plus users in Quality Center who could potentially migrate at some point.

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