Rally Software Review

It keeps our teams all in the same place in terms of where information is stored

What is our primary use case?

Software development and infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

Sprint planning and overall work management of the stories and the project lifecycle.

Sprint planning is valuable because it keeps our teams all in the same place in terms of where information is stored. We always know what the status of a project is and anybody can see it.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Ease of use
  • Visibility

As a PMO Manager, I need to be able to look and see what the project status at any time without having to go ask somebody or look for a status report. So, I could go there and see exactly what percentage is complete, what the blockers might be, and just see who is assigned to what, so I can look at resourcing.

It has made our company more organized and it is helping us be more true to the agile principle. When I came to the company, we did not have any agile practices in place. So, it has helped us, because it gives us a framework to put the agile practices in place. 

What needs improvement?

The integrations with the PPM tool and making sure those two work well together. 

Improved engagement with TFS, because we still used TFS for code management. There is an API between the two. I think that the APR could be easier to set up and the API could be a little more fluid in terms of when the code is checked in. It really relates to how a project is updated based on that.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is better. A couple years ago before CA bought it, we had a lot of problems. Now, we do not have as many problems. So, it has been good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is getting better. It used to not be as good, but they are adding some features that make it easier to build portfolio items in.

The problem before was that there were just a lot of little bugs where you create a project in one place and it would not continue to exist in another. Also, there were not very good templates or anything. So, they are improving on that. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not really used the technical support.

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

We did not have a solution when I started. I picked it because I was familiar with it from a previous company. I actually used it for a couple years before that, as well. I just knew we needed something that we could hit the ground running with pretty quickly.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup and subsequent upgrades. 

I am not really sure how it is now to set up. If you are putting into a GreenField brand new product, I do not know how that would work now. Previously, it was just figuring it out on your own.

Upgrading was pretty straightforward, especially if you are used to using any of the agile tools in the agile practices. Once you get used to some of the unique namings for Agile Central, or formerly Rally, it is pretty straightforward. It is a like-for-like, in terms of what you have learned, in terms of being agile in what you learned on what you are doing on a day-to-day basis. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The vendors on the shortlist would be TFS's Project Management through Microsoft, ServiceNow's Project Management, and JIRA.

Earlier on, we went a little faster and we did not do a full software evaluation. We actually are doing a tools assessment now. We are going to be looking at replacing CA, possibly, because we want to make sure we have the right tools. We want to make sure that they flow between all the different tool sets that we have. 

What other advice do I have?

It has performed well so far. It has improved over the past couple of years.

For any product, do a full software evaluation and make sure you actually test them side-by-side with like-for-like test cases. Then you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Otherwise, you build out and realize it might not be the right product for you. So, a full software analysis is important.

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: Initial support is always important. It is always great when you can have a few free hours to have somebody to come in and help you understand the idiosyncrasies of any software, figuring out exactly what the best way is for it to be set up. Otherwise, you are just trying by trial by error. So, that is important. Also, stability is important.

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