Rally Software Review

It has allowed us to experiment with approaches that we would have been a bit afraid to experience before


What is our primary use case?

Primary use case is agile development and Mode 2 development.

It has performed really well. We have taken some teams that were non-Agile and tried to do a combined approach. This eliminated some of the heavy documentation that we were used to with waterfall. We have been able to deliver our integration between CA and HPE ALM in a period of time that is about half of where we were before. 

What is most valuable?

It documents stories in a way where we do not have to be heavy on front-end requirements, front-end documentation, and front-end workflows. We are able to create those stories in a more of a just-in time approach. Since we are doing combine and not scrum, we want to get those stories on as we think of them and immediately work on them instead of waiting for a time box. So, it was the ability to adapt quickly. 

How has it helped my organization?

We are very new on agile and Mode 2 devolvement. It has really allowed us to experiment with approaches that we would have been a bit afraid to experience before. So, it has allowed us to try new things and to take risks. 

What needs improvement?

When you copy a story, I would like the attachment to copy with it. This is a big one for us. We do requirements in one sprint, then do development in the next, which still is a little bit of waterfall. So when we copy those requirement stories and they become development stories, the attachment does not come with it. So, it is a lot of manual effort to do that. It would save us a lot of time. 

We did submit an enhancement request. I think a lot of teams that do very large scale products have the same issue. They just do not realize it would help them. 

Also, there are a few things in the way things trickle up from category to theme to feature that I do not really like. I wish there would be some enhancements there.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. It was purchased by CA from Rally, which I was familiar with beforehand. It has gotten better since CA has taken over, adding some new features, but it is a very stable platform. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Since we are more of a Waterfall shop, as we bring new teams into the agile approach, I think it is quite scalable for us. However, it will probably be a more longer term poll. 

How is customer service and technical support?

We have used them quite a bit. They have been very responsive. We use a competitor's tool for our waterfall approach. I won't say which competitor it is. However, we have been very happy with the speed and the availability of CA's technical resources.

Our issues have been lower scale problems, but we do not have a support staff to manage Agile Central. What we found was technical support was not only giving us the ability to get help, but also helped us evolve our support team into a team that can be managed well on its own. So, I have felt they have helped us in a lot of ways.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We did not have a solution in place. We were looking at Mode 2 and agile teams and we knew we needed something. Putting post-its on the board was not going to work anymore for a company of our size. While we still do some post-it exercises, it all ends up in Agile Central and we knew we needed something to manage this. We still have PM's who want to see portfolio management, so we knew it had to be digital. It could not be paper anymore.

How was the initial setup?

We took our instance and revamped it from the beginning, which was very straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were. We were looking at a few. Not sure if I can say which.

They were not providing a solution that was mature and developed. They were providing solutions that they wanted us to be like a test customer on.

What other advice do I have?

They still feel like a small tech company. The support we have gotten and the way they have managed or accepted some of our enhancement requests. They still treat it like a small company, like Rally was before they purchased Agile Central. They still have that feel, knowing how big they are and seeing how they can act small. It is really nice.

Make sure your agile processes are really well-defined before you go out into the market and look for a tool. Tools do things differently, they call things a feature in one and a subfeature in another. Make sure your processes are defined, and once you have that, look for your tool after that. Do not look for your tool first.

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: We have price, which I would not say is our most important. We are looking for more of a fit and finish to our process, though price is really important to us. One of the things that we look at is: We want to create a really good process, then find a tool that fits that process. I think a lot of customers do it the other way. So, if our process is mature and we like it, the tool really needs to fit that.

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