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IBM Innovate Australia: A developer’s perspective

I’ve been working as a developer on since the very beginning, but I’ve never blogged on the Jazz Team Blog!!  Can you believe it? Well today that changes. I just got back from an amazing trip to IBM Innovate Australia events in Melbourne and Sydney, and I want to share what I learned, LOUDLY, because it was AWESOME.

Why they sent me thousands of miles from my workstation…

As sort of a last minute travel approval miracle, I tagged along with Matt Holitza, IBM marketing guru and author of Agile for Dummies, to provide the developer perspective on using Rational Team Concert. And as it turns out, we make a great demoing team.  Matt had a 30 minute slot during the morning sessions for the Agile ALM track, where he dove into The Agile PMO: Ensuring visibility and governance of your Agile projects, during which he casually promoted our 1.5 hour afternoon demo slot.

We managed to attract about 25 customers to the demo at each event, where we walked through every corner of the Rational Team Concert web and eclipse clients. Seriously… everything. We covered dashboards, work items, plans, builds, reports, administration, setup, linking, source control, pending changes, merging, history view, annotate, feeds, my work view, and more! I’m sure it was a bit like standing at the end of a fire hose, but we definitely made it interesting. We did an overview upfront about all of the different features of RTC, then we let the crowd drive how deeply we went into any specific feature.

I had a Jazz server set up on my laptop, but we ended up using for most of the demo. Why use fake data when we’ve got a bunch of Team Concert project areas loaded with great real data right here! Here are some of the tabs I had open for the demo:

The most interesting dashboards: RTC Development, RTC User Assistance, Foundation Leaderboard
The most interesting plans: CLM Backlog, RTC 4.0.1 Release Plan
The most interesting builds:,

In between demos, I attended a few sessions in the Agile ALM, DevOps, and Mobile tracks.  My favorite was the Agile Evolution talk by Melissa Ellul from Telstra and Mirco Hering from Accenture. They got incredibly detailed about doing continuous delivery using agile practices within a large organization, and gave me tons of ideas that I’ve since pitched to colleagues here in the Jazz organization.  Inspirational stuff!

What this developer observed after spending time with humans…

Has anyone else noticed that it seems as though we keep the best parts of Rational Team Concert a secret? Okay, not really a secret, but they’re not featured prominently in our marketing message.  We do a great job of highlighting the high-level differentiators of Collaborative Lifecycle Management, like seamless integration, the abstract “breadth of capability” (from requirements to implementation to testing), and robust planning capabilities.  But we don’t do a very good job of demonstrating what sets us apart once you actually roll up your sleeves and start using it to develop something. Source control features like suspend/resume, merging, and the repository workspace (a server copy of your local workspace), feeds like “My Work Item Changes” and “Recent Project Events”, build features like personal builds and the ability to hook up any build system you want (Jazz Build Engine, Hudson/Jenkins, Build Forge, and more), the ability to create custom work item types to suit any need and any process, linking (test cases <-> requirements <-> work items), and on and on. These were the details that had the crowd nodding their heads and saying WOW.  These features are low-level, sure, but they’re what really make Rational Team Concert a joy to use!  As soon as we stop selling “high level differentiators” and start selling joy, Team Concert will take over the world!  It really is “that good” (I’m a developer who uses it every day, so take my word for it!)

I’m sure you’ve noticed that our recent redesign goes a long way towards highlighting the right stuff.  The Rational Team Concert overview page, for example, delves directly into the joy-inducing features.  But we continue to challenge ourselves to do better!  If you have an ideas or feedback, please comment or let us know over in the Community Feedback section!

After a long flight across the Pacific, I’m back at my desk in Toronto, inspired by all the aforementioned presentations, observations and networking. Time to dive into the “My Work Item Changes” feed to see what I’ve missed while I was gone. Cheers!