Rally Software Review

Gives us visibility into what we're doing, but needs better user-story management

What is our primary use case?

Release planning, test case writing.

It's performed plenty, I'm happy with the performance.

How has it helped my organization?

I get to see what we have, what test cases we need to deliver, per release.

It gives us the visibility into what we're doing and how we're doing on a day to day basis, to see if we need to refocus or to try to change things before it gets down into the negative. The daily iterative working part of it is what I like. And I get to see the visuals of what's going on.

What is most valuable?

The Defect feature. In one view you can see all your defects and you can push them into the different releases.

I also like the Release view, where you can select different user stories and just dump them into the releases you want them to be in.

I also like the reporting. I can see my Burndown, my Burnup, and other reports that we use to see if we're delivering on time.

What needs improvement?

One thing that my team struggles with is when they have so many user stories. You have the parent's story, and then you have a child of a child of a child and it goes "down into the drain." Sometimes it's hard for them to quickly search for a user story. I know there is a part where you can just type the user story number, but that's if you know it. 

I wish there was a view, like the Kanban view, where you could see the parent, and see all the children visually, so you could drag and drop where you want it to go. Something like that might help.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's been around for a while so it's pretty stable. 

I'm assuming it's our infrastructure, but since its web-based, at certain times of the day, it's slow. At certain times of the day I've noticed it takes a while for the page to come up and for updates and the like. Sometimes you have to shut it down and restart.

I opened up a ticket with CA about it. I don't think I got a response back. It's been a while, I didn't look back into it, and nobody contacted me about it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales.

How is customer service and technical support?

Generally I'm satisfied with the tech support I get from CA.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't involved in the setup with my current company; my previous company, yes, I was. I think it depends on who you're working with. With the person I was working with in my old company, it was straightforward.

We had that one on one relationship with CA, and they were on site to help us out. If we had to be on a call for anything they were there.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

At my old company we had a demo for VersionOne, then Rally (now Agile Central), and one other tool. One of the reasons we went with Rally is it was easier to use than VersionOne. The reporting was great, it was what we were looking for. And at that time it had another feature called Timesheet, that became the Timesheet in Agile Central.

What other advice do I have?

When selecting a vendor, what's important to me is that the product be user friendly. It also has to be able to produce. My bottom line is the outcome, so I want to see that it can help deliver correctly, on time, within the budget. Also resource planning, resource management, those are the kinds of things I'll put into consideration if I'm looking for a tool to use.

I think CA has been consistent in trying to improve Agile Central, but they also still have room for improvement, so I give them seven out of 10.

I would tell colleagues to try Agile Central because of the features I noted above. And then, I don't know about VersionOne, but the support for Agile Central is also great.

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