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Hitting nails on the head: Scrum and Rational Team Concert

In a discussion about the shortcomings of Scrum, Uncle Bob Martin nailed 7 theses to the door. His 7 theses have been widely discussed, and they are liked or disliked by the Scrum community. Let’s take a look at a few of his identified “shortcomings” and how Rational Team Concert can help you get around them:

  • No Technical Practices – Scrum is a framework for managing complex work. The application of Scrum in agile software projects is just one application and therefore it cannot say anything about technical practices. Still, successful software projects rely on sound technical practices. Rational Team Concert helps you out: It’s build infrastructure supports continuous and integration builds; work items and SCM help you with code reviews and approvals; the process framework promotes and enforces the roles that everyone agrees on. Check out this video to see them working all together: Developing with Rational Team Concert
  • Insufficient guidance regarding the structure of the backlog – Our Planning & Tracking component has built-in support for hierarchies of work items. Splitting up stories into smaller tasks and being aware of the roll-up of estimates and projected completion times is a done in a snap. See our guide Effective Planning with Rational Team Concert for more details on backlogs.  In addition, you can customize the work items and plans to define the structure you like. The Scrum process template comes with Epics and Stories, but you can go ahead and tweak or extend them.
  • Automated Testing – Testing is not only part of the continuous build, there are also reports telling you about project health and measuring tests statistics like frequent test failures. For instance, take a look at our Project Health dashboard:

    How healthy is your project?

    In large teams like ours, we bring team members together by working with “track build” items. These items are used for discussion and coordination. See how we’ve tracked our latest M4 build.

  • Multiple teams – Rational Team Concert supports both small and huge projects. Large projects should be split up into multiple teams. We fully support multiple teams – no matter if they work on different iterations, follow different process rules, or don’t. Typically when working with multiple teams there is a common Product Backlog and Sprint Plans for each team. Still, for the big picture, you can group backlogs by team or iteration. Take our release plan for our next version of RTC as an example:

    RTC 3.0 Backlog

    It shows a group  for every team that is part of the overall RTC Development Team. These groups shows Stories the teams are working on and how they make progress. The Build group, for instance, summaries the work of the Build team – they completed 1 of 20 items and achieved 8 story points by doing so.

Scrum is a project management framework — and a pretty good one — but as with every skeleton it needs some flesh and support to be of any use. Rational Team Concert is the flesh and support to help you work with Scrum in your software development project. If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for?

Johannes Rieken
Jazz Development team (Agile Planning component)