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The Rational Workbench for Collaborative Lifecycle Management

You may have noticed the appearance of a new project at called Rational Workbench for Collaborative Lifecycle Management. This project is an evolution of our Collaborative ALM effort focused on bringing together software development activities across requirements, development, build, and test.

Why is this important? The activities involving requirements, development, build and test are not process silos. Integrating these disciplines through process automation, links between artifacts, and reporting across these links improves the productivity of teams while also improving the quality of the deliverables from those teams.

To focus this effort, we are bringing Rational Team Concert, Rational Quality Manager, and a new requirements management product tentatively named “Rational DOORS Requirements Professional” more closely together and calling this set of products the Rational Workbench for Collaborative Lifecycle Management.

What’s a “workbench”? A Workbench is a term we use to describe a combination of products, services, and best practices that are designed to work well together to solve a particular problem.

But there is a lot more to this than just a name! It reflects significant work done by the teams to address feedback we’ve received from our customers and community on their experience using our 2.0 version products together. In addition to making these products easier to license, install, deploy, and administer together, we’re also making them work together more seamlessly. In the rest of the blog I’ll explain some of the key improvements in more detail.*

Improvements to licensing, installation, deployment, and administration

Simplify the packaging and licensing – We are looking at moving towards a more fully role-based licensing scheme.

The idea is that a primary license for any of the three Workbench for CLM products would give you “read” and comment access to the other Workbench for CLM products in order to collaborate with the other roles on the team.

This would, for example, eliminate the need to buy additional “Viewer” or “Reviewer” licenses just for Developers to access quality plans, or for Quality Professionals to view requirements, as is currently the case in the 2.0 products. For teams that have people who need occasional access to more than one product, floating licenses can provide flexibility. We’re also thinking about whether it might make sense to offer a single “all in one” license that enables full access to all three products.

Proposed future RQM, RTC, DOORS RP Multi-product licensing

We’re also looking at normalizing the “Contributor” license across these products so it has the same name and capabilities across the three products, to replace the former Viewer and Reviewer licenses in RQM and RRC. Contributor is intended for team members that need to read and write Work Items, and in general need read and comment capabilities across the Workbench for CLM products to collaborate with the other roles on the team. The Stakeholder license is intended to provide a more limited, lower cost license for the team’s “customers” or “constituents” who only need to be able to enter and view Work Items or view project plans.

Finally, we are looking at whether we could make the server editions structure less complex. There is more work to be done here, but one idea is to have only a single server edition with no predefined limits, with entry pricing for small teams, and the ability to set up as many or as few servers as desired as long as the client access license (CAL) limits are properly tracked (which is pretty straightforward with our floating licenses).

Simplify installation of multiple products – The Rational Workbench for CLM products will have a common server install. Unlike in the 2.0 versions, you’ll be able to deploy these three products into a single Jazz Team Server and have them share the same common services such as WorkItems, Planning, Requirements, etc. This means the WorkItems capability in RQM and DOORS RP will be the same as the WorkItems capabilty in RTC, and all three products can access and share each other’s work items. The default – or simplest install – will be to install all the services into a single physical server. Then all you need to do is upload the product keys for what you’ve purchased, and voila! You’re in business. In addition, once you’ve installed the common server our intent is that you can try out any of the roles from the three Workbench for CLM products just by activating trial keys … because of the shared services, you don’t need to install anything else to do this!

Provide flexible deployment options – In addition to the default single-server install, there will also be an advanced install that allows you to install the Jazz Team Server (JTS) and Workbench for CLM product services on different app servers/physical servers to create a distributed installation for increased scalability, as shown in the diagrams below.

Harmonize platform and language support – In the past, there were some platform and language support differences that occasionally caused issues when setting up an environment to use these products together. Our plan is that the Workbench for CLM products will support the same server operating systems, application servers, databases, client operating systems, Eclipse versions, web browsers, and international languages and locales.

Provide unified administration across the products – In the 2.0 version products, each product installed its own Jazz Team Server, so users and projects had to be administered separately for each product. In the future, when the Workbench for CLM products are deployed on the same Jazz Team Server (the typical configuration), users, projects, and license management are all administered in one place.

Improvements that strengthen cross-product integrations

To strengthen the cross-product integrations we created several themes to deepen and open the integrations. These themes manifest across the roles, primarily through additional link types for cross-discipline artifact linking and open dashboards.

Collaborate on plans – Lifecycle collaboration starts with the team’s plans. Having all team members understand the requirements, development, and test plans ensures the team moves together in a more cohesive way. In the 2.0 products you could link a requirements collection with a test plan giving testers and analysts visibility for validating that the software meets the business needs. You could also link related development plans to give development teams insight into each other’s work. In the future you’ll also be able to link development plans to requirement collections and to test plans, giving all team members visibility into each others plans with the ability to navigate across them for more effective collaboration.

Collaborate on artifacts – Once plans are linked the next step is to link related work items. For example a single requirement may link to one or more development work items and one or more test cases. While this was the heart of the integration story in the version 2.0 products, we continue to deepen the use cases for which artifacts can be linked, and we have added more rich hovers and improved the available filter queries to help you determine which artifacts are linked and which are not. For example some artifacts track the status of another, such as tracking the status of an issue that has been logged against a requirement. For a complete list of link types, see the Jazz wiki ( ) In addition, as result of shared services, all tasks can now be managed by the same work-item management system. This lets you assign and manage defects, development tasks, and quality tasks for developers and testers all in one system.

Knowing when you are done with improved traceability – Having linked artifacts helps you understand when all of the work is done. With the new link types you’ll have even more power at your fingertips for tracking the status of the team’s work. For example creating queries and viewlets to see which requirements have open defects (meaning the implementation requires more work) or which requirements have open issues (meaning the requirement requires more work). We’ve also added to the out-of-ths-box traceability queries and we’re looking at providing rich hovers wherever possible. In addition, you’ll have the ability to produce traceability reports across the Workbench for CLM products.

Open collaboration – We continue to build on the mash-up dashboards that combine information from the different products to allow teams to track status and collaborate on a daily basis. In the future we’ll support incorporating OpenSocial and IBM iWidgets into your dashboards. In addition you can integrate our own dashboard gadgets, such as “my assigned work-items” into Open Social containers such as iGoogle or gmail.

You can see some of these improvements coming together in our M6 Milestone, and you’ll see things really take shape over the summer. We intend to start rolling this work into product releases starting in the fall of 2010.

I encourage you to follow along and give us your feedback. We’ve created a forum post to use for discussion around this topic. You can also take a look at our plans, download our milestones and Betas and give us feedback through the forums and through bug reports and enhancement requests. We want to hear from you!

Dave Thomson
Director, Rational Jazz ALM and Eclipse

*Our lawyers would like me to remind you that these are not finalized plans or commitments … just work-in-progress, and plans are subject to change without notice. See the Terms of Use.