What is most valuable?
What I like the most about Agile Central is that it is the only system I need to have full control and visibility of our entire body of work plus the activities and processes required to deliver it. This visibility is particularly good from a high-level portfolio view to individual tasks, staff.
What needs improvement?
There are few customisation options. For instance, the workflow for story cards cannot be changed out of the box from the standard (Defined, In-Progress, Completed and Accepted). However, this will not be a big problem for most organisations that follow a standard scrum framework.
The issue is mostly relevant to team using Kanban boards with customised workflows. A very common flow for instance is: To Do - > Analysis -> Development -> Testing -> Completed. So teams wanting to bring that kind of workflow to Rally will not be able to our of the box. And Rally will rightly discourage that kind of workflow.
And I’ve seen teams doing Scrum that have added additional columns to their workflows such is “Waiting” or “Blocked” and other not having the “Accepted” column.
Rally of course offers other options to manage blocked stories/tasks so perhaps the “improvement” tag might not be entirely fair. They do offer the functionality so what I was referring to was the ability to customise that functionality to more personal preferences.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have used Agile Central for close to one year.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
We have not had any stability issues. The system is web-based and hosted by CA. There is very good communication around system maintenance and upgrades.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We haven’t had any issues with scalability. We have increased our user base seamlessly.
How are customer service and technical support?
We haven’t really required much technical help as things have worked as expected. The CA Agile Central website provides updates on maintenance schedules or any other unplanned outage. When we have required help on how to use the tool, the CA Agile Central team has been quick to respond with solutions or suggestions.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Team Foundation Server (TFS) was quite suitable for us when we started to use agile as a delivery methodology, but as our maturity increased, the need arose for a more sophisticated tool to give us better visibility and control and CA Agile Central has certainly given us that.
How was the initial setup?
Setup was very simple actually. There is some work required upfront to define standards, best practices and governance on how to use the tool but CA Agile Central itself was very straightforward to set up. Everything is web-based and very intuitive. We had a CA Agile Central coach here for a few days and that was enough for us to get started.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Licensing depends on a few things. The assessment starts by looking at your portfolio of work, number of projects, resource profiles, etc. Then you need to assess the level of maturity the organisation has around agile. Teams should not be forced to start using agile methodologies if they are not willing and ready, so you might want to start with a small pilot.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We evaluated JIRA and also looked at the TFS roadmap for future improvements and upcoming features.
What other advice do I have?
The most important thing is to have very clear requirements as an organisation. That includes having all the internal processes, governance and ways of working well understood so that the selected tool can be assessed against those requirements with confidence.