Rally Software Review

The Release Tracking view shows us which features each team is working on during a PI. The discussion feature should be front and center when opening any item type.


What is most valuable?

We find the most value in the Release Tracking view. We use this view during draft plan review for our scrum teams. This view allows us to see which features each team is working on during a PI. We can easily see where stories for a feature are scheduled within or across sprints, and we can compare that to priority and any logical sequencing requirements. We can also see any interdependencies between teams. This view is also very useful during a PI to track progress using the burnup chart with its forecast based on empirical trend lines. We view these forecasts per team and also in aggregate for an entire release train.

The other features that we find valuable include the task board, which is useful sorted by team member for daily scrum; the iteration status for sprint planning; the team and iteration planning pages, which are useful for PI planning and draft plan review; and various Kanban views at the portfolio, program, and team levels.

The “follow” and “discussion” features are also very valuable for qualitative tracking of work items.

How has it helped my organization?

This product is a great fit for organizations using the Scaled Agile Framework. It follows and facilitates best practices for agile and scrum. In many instances, the built-in constraints of this tool have opened discussions about agile best practices, and the comprehensive documentation in the online help knowledge base has provided solid guidance for agile transformation where needed.

One example of this would be the question of what to do with unfinished work at the end of a sprint. Because the right action is counter-intuitive, this is an area of much controversy and contention across the industry; however, there is an established best practice, which the help section explains and which the tool facilitates. See Manage Unfinished Work: https://help.rallydev.com/mana...

What needs improvement?

The discussion feature should be front and center when opening any work item type. The description and acceptance criteria can become irrelevant as soon as work begins. Those areas are better suited to being buried back in a tab rather than the discussion area. The adaptive changes should be the primary focus once work is underway. Updates, questions, decisions, and suggestions should all be the first thing seen when opening a work item. This is implemented well in tools like Asana.

It should be possible to assign an epic or feature as the parent of a defect. Many organizations struggle to use defects because they do not roll up in the hierarchy to specific features and epics.

Kanban boards should allow local exit criteria. Currently, the policies are set and viewed globally.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used Agile Central for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability has been an issue at times. We have seen an unacceptable amount of system downtime. This has improved over the last year.

How are customer service and technical support?

The product team has been somewhat unresponsive to popular community requests for feature enhancements. Technical support has been responsive, and customer service has been acceptable.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have previously used Team Foundation Server and we have evaluated JIRA. This product was chosen because it was a good fit for Scaled Agile Framework.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is relatively straightforward compared to other products.

What about the implementation team?

This was implemented through a vendor team. Because this tool is so flexible and can be used in so many ways, we do not recommend attempting the implementation without outside consultation. It is easy to have the configuration fall victim to local anti-patterns.

What was our ROI?

Efficiency and effectiveness in our processes have improved by 10 percent with this tool. At scale, and across multiple release trains, this gives us a 15X return on our investment.

What other advice do I have?

Do not try to implement this product if you are not using agile at scale. There are simpler, more elegant and intuitive tools.

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