IBM Rational Team Concert

Features

Rational Team Concert/RTC as a tool to fight chaos in software development
IBM Rational Team Concert is a powerful tool that is designed to be used in the software development area. But its key advantages are not in simple capabilities which can be found in a lot of other similar instruments. These advantages are based on collaboration mechanisms and the possibility to organize the effective work of numerous developers grouped into teams and sub-teams. It brings team awareness to all project members about current project status, a unified security model supported by roles and users, dashboards, and reporting capabilities.
The tool can not be called a new one because it's developed by the Rational Software brand of IBM and was first released in 2008. The software is available in various deliveries: “thick” clients, “thin” web client, and cloud solution. Additionally, there's a separate ISPF client to support developers in z/OS, COBOL, and PL/1 using TSO/ISPF but we will not be concentrated on these specific aspects here.
If we could take a look at the main milestones of Rational Team Concert development so we will note one very important fact: the tool is very stable at the last time. We can see that the periods between global releases are big. As users of this tool, we can believe that IBM will not wonder us very strongly by the full rebuilding of the capabilities and graphical users interface at least. Accordingly, we will not spend a lot of time and money retraining our developers and rebuilding out process descriptions to conform to those changes. Nevertheless, take into account that the development process continues constantly and many enhance and defect fixes are produced persistently.
Speaking more strictly, IBM Rational Team Concert is a collaboration tool designed to unite each member into a conveyor that can support persistent software development production with high quality and control throughout many projects of an organization. It provides a collaborative environment that software development teams use to manage all aspects of the process – change request management, version and configuration management, planning, building automation, revision control, reporting, etc.
Rational Team Concert isn't a cheap tool but it can be legally used for free by development teams with several developers from one to ten. In this case, the technical support from IBM will not be available for you but a lot of information placed at jazz.net and Jazz Forum will mitigate this problem significantly.
All Rational Team Concert artifacts have URI links defined for them. It's created in the core of the Jazz platform the part of which is the Rational Team Concert. The tool provides traceability across all artifacts allowing the link to them into information chains in the same way as the Internet can do it. For instance, you can link together such artifacts as work items, changesets, builds, tests, requirements, and so on. And the especially interesting fact that most of those links can be created automatically in the process of your work.

Change Management

Request (it's called a work item in Rational Team Concert) is a usual point to start any efforts in a project. It's an atomic kind of data in projects. Work items can be of various types, contain many attributes, and support various workflows with specific states and transitions among the states. They are used to trace and coordinate tasks by project members. And it's never minding which kinds of tasks are used. A project manager can be confident that all tasks will be realized or, at least, it will be easy to make it clear why some tasks are delayed or are the blockers for other ones.
The change management process is customizable at all. You can use diverse approaches to establish change management in your company. For example, you can use some typical templates coming to Out-Of-The-Box together with the installation of Rational Team Concert. Those templates bring some standard work item types (for example, epics, stories, tasks, defects, and so on, in case of using the Scrum process template). You can improve those work item types by customizing their attributes and workflows or develop your own work item types from scratch. In this way, only your imagination can limit the ways how you could apply a Rational Team Concert!

Version Control And Configuration Management

Rational team concert includes integrated version control and configuration management subsystem. It supports parallel development for teams of any size – from single groups of developers to big teams formed from many separate groups. The teams can be located somewhere in one place or be distributed everywhere in the world. The subsystem is seamlessly integrated with change management capabilities, so you can easily track which changes were made in codes, documents, and other files based on any tasks assigned to any developers.
But the force of Rational Team Concert is especially perceptible when you apply the tool for managing the versions of whole repositories but not single files only. You will save your artifacts in one or many components, fix the status of the components with snapshots and baselines. As a result of this, you will be able to restore the state of your project to a point how it was any time before. The flexibility of streams allows you to develop the software products in parallel, start any research where the results aren't clear still and avoid mixing them with the project artifacts, urgently fix any defects in the final phase of testing, and continue the development in parallel without any breaks and unexpected impacts.
Developers can work with Eclipse IDE and Microsoft Visual Studio which Rational Team Concert can be directly integrated into. In the case of non-integrated IDEs (for example, Delphi or others), you can easily work in parallel with the native Rational Team Concert Eclipse client available for installation. If you aren't a developer who works with numerous files simultaneously, it will be enough to work with Web-browser. Nevertheless, you can additionally install Rational Team Concert Shell which is a client embedded into Windows Explorer if you work in a Windows-compatible operation system.

Planning

The planning subsystem gives you a powerful mechanism for building plans, tracking single and related tasks, grouping the tasks at the level of a whole project or a single development sub-team.
To perform the tasks, you are to define timelines and iterations projects which define time constraints for any tasks to be created. You can define multiple timelines in a project if you have several teams working in various time schedules (for example, the main development team and a group providing tech support for customers).
It's possible to consider the developers as resources with having the predefined amount of time which they can spend in their work. Common time of all developers is an available collective resource in the project. You will see in real-time how the common time available in the project is being reduced by distributing the tasks among the developers. It gives you a precise tool to exactly plan the project based on the time really available for planning. Moreover, moving through the project, you will control how your expectations to finish the work at the predefined time conform to reality. It will give you feedback on whether you have to do something to accelerate the project works, or change the number of developers to successfully finish the project, or perform other urgent actions.
In a project, you can define overall project plans and specific plans for separate teams. Accordingly, some tasks can be directed to different plans excluding any ways to see the tasks assigned to other teams.

Automated building

IBM Rational Team Concert includes built-in management by building processes. It can be integrated with a lot of building engines (Maven, Hudson/Jenkins, Ant, command line supported, etc). And as everywhere in Jazz, building capabilities are closely integrated with another part of the instrument.
It's possible to realize the full process when delivery of some code to the mainstream will start its building automatically. Moreover, if the building was successful, it can result in launching the testing scripts in the related IBM Rational Quality Manager which is responsible for testing processes.
Of course, the building can be started manually or by schedule. It's easy to plan building processes by nights at the non-working time especially if it takes several hours, for example. When you come to the office in the morning, you will only check the building results and fix the problems.

Reports And Dashboards

Rational Team Concert can work with reports developed in external tools such as Eclipse BIRT, Rational Publishing Engine, Rational Insight, etc. Those reports can be printed or imported into Rational Team Concert to be able for generating data directly within Rational Team Concert in a typical Web-browser. Moreover, you can convert some reports into dashboards to control project status in real-time.
The reporting tool informs about any actions in the environment, behavior, and performance of work of a team in the project. Visualization of information about the development process can reveal certain trends that otherwise remain hidden or unclear. By making this information visible, reports can improve the effectiveness of decision-making efforts.
Rational Team Concert includes a big library of report and dashboard templates. For example, install the tool, create a project area and use the report informing about blocking tasks, the report about building results, the report displaying tasks of a single sub-team, the report with most valuable tasks, and others. The templates can be modified and created anew.

Process

Any project in Rational Team Concert is based on a process. A process in Rational Team Concert is a combination of roles, permissions, work item types, follow-up and behavior triggers, timelines, etc. The tool can strictly automate the activities for different users which have assignments to one or several roles. It will guarantee that nobody will do something that is forbidden to him and everybody can access only the data which is permitted to access for him.
You can constantly improve the development process and build your own process fixing it as a process template. Starting another project, you will be able to use that template to deploy the best practices which were found to be effective in your environment into this project.

Collaboration

You can set components owners at the level of sub-teams or single developers so that only some developers could access these components. Capabilities to setup visibility of project areas and separate components allow you to involve a lot of external developers restricting their access to some data. For example, external developers will not even know that there are other projects in your organization or other components with artifacts within a project. You can give access to customer representatives with read-only access for monitoring purposes.
Rational Team Concert simplifies the exchange of information in the context of the work performed. The project members can be automatically notified of any changes to the project activities. Changes can be provided in the form of discussion in various work items. Interested parties can automatically track the status of an individual task and subscribe themselves to future notifications.
Multiple views allow you to share information about the team. You can monitor the work of the team, change the level of details of information and customize the displayed information. For example, “My Work” and “Team Events” views create a comfortable private workspace to be informed about the current project state and effectively participate in the development process.

Community

The jazz technology platform is hosted at jazz.net where you can be informed about the capabilities of Jazz and register for participation. You can open requests for improvements, track schedules, participate in discussions, communicate with the developers of Jazz and Rational Team Concert, and get known about the last releases of Rational Team Concert and other products based on Jazz. Developers of Jazz and Rational Team Concert itself work closely with the community and publish a lot of technical documentation at the site jazz.net.
 
 
Image

Softacus AG

Löwenstrasse 20
8001 Zürich
Switzerland
E-Mail: info@softacus.com
Tel.: +41 43 5087081
Fax: +41 43 344 6075 

VAT: CHE-108.817.809 MWST
D-U-N-S® Number 486800618

Image

Softacus GmbH

Westendstrasse 28
60325 Frankfurt am Main
Germany
E-Mail: info@softacus.com
Tel.: +49 69 34876544
Fax: +49 69 5830 35709

VAT: DE301903892
D-U-N-S® Number 313482703

Image

Softacus s.r.o.

Křídlovická 351/47A
603 00 Brno
Czech Republic
E-Mail: info@softacus.com
Tel.: +420 530333482
Fax: +41 43 344 6075

VAT: CZ07286333
D-U-N-S® Number 496165108

Image

Softacus s.r.o.

Tatranské nám. 3
058 01 Poprad
Slovakia
E-Mail: info@softacus.com
Tel: +421 911 083 612
Fax: +41 43 344 6075

VAT: SK53507070
D-U-N-S® Number  2121388148