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Document and automate processes with IBM Rational Method Composer and Rational Team Concert

Many teams find it challenging to get a project started quickly, onboard team members, setup and configure tools, and leverage proven patterns of success to do their job. Many other teams are required to document their process for compliance reasons, and show that they follow that process.

This article illustrates how to take a process description defined using IBM Rational Method Composer and automate it in IBM Rational Team Concert.

Rational Method Composer is the IBM Rational solution for managing, tailoring, and communicating process descriptions. It consists of two components:

  • Process assets in the form of the IBM Practices Library composed of selectable practices and pre-defined end-to-end process descriptions
  • A tool to author, tailor, configure, and publish process descriptions

To download a trial version of Rational Method Composer, please visit:

http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/downloads/r/rup/

Rational Team Concert is the IBM Rational solution for collaborative planning, work item management, source control management and continuous builds. Rational Team Concert provides highly configurable process support to adapt to the way you want to work, enabling team members to work together effectively.

Rational Method Composer process descriptions provide the human readable guidance team members need to work together effectively and efficiently as a team. Rational Team Concert process templates provide the machine readable rules that configure the tool to support your process. Together, Rational Method Composer and Rational Team Concert provide a powerful solution for process management, process enactment, and measured improvement.

Let's go through three scenarios where fictitious teams use the process assets and leverage the integration between Rational Method Composer and Rational Team Concert to plan and execute their projects.

Scenario 1 - Use and automate existing process

In this scenario we introduce the IBM Rational Solution for Collaboration Lifecycle Management (CLM), which consists of Rational Team Concert, Rational Requirements Composer, Rational Quality Manager and a Rational Method Composer process description that contains all of the process assets required to configure the tools and execute a project.

For more information on the CLM tools, visit:

https://jazz.net/projects/clm/

Background: The Business Recovery Matters team is part of the JKE financial organization and they are starting a new project. They want to adopt proven software development practices to guide their project activities in a non-intrusive way. They want process guidance easily accessible from the tool they use to collaborate on their project activities. Team members do not have time or expertise to create their own process description, so they decide to adopt the available CLM process assets to support their use of CLM tools.

Steps: To install and configure tools, and jump start running their project, the team performs these high level steps:

  1. Download available CLM process assets from http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?rs=2360&uid=swg24030663
  2. Install and configure the CLM tools
  3. Make published Rational Method Composer content available for browsing
  4. Import the process template into Rational Team Concert
  5. Import the Lifecycle Project Administration template and create a lifecycle project
  6. Run the project
  • Add team members to the project area and assign them to the available roles
  • Fine tune the project timeline
  • Create an iteration plan for first iteration and add work items to the plan
  • Create additional work items of pre-defined types

These steps are demonstrated in the following short video:

The following article on IBM developerWorks provides more information about this scenario, including descriptive steps and additional tool guidance:

http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/automate-software-development-processes-2/index.html

Scenario 2 - Customize the existing process and automate it

Background: The development team developing the Dividend Deposit feature starts performing their first project iteration. They are notified they have to follow a security testing process throughout the project lifecycle, in order to identify potential vulnerabilities and fix them as they develop their product.

Steps: The team investigates the practices available with Rational Method Composer practices library and concludes that there is a security assessment practice they can adopt. That practice contains well defined roles and tasks to be performed. They decide to quickly customize their process to include this practice, and enact that new process in Rational Team Concert. They perform these high level steps:

  1. Add security assessment practice to the CLM library in Rational Method Composer
  • A typical practice in Rational Method Composer contains roles, tasks, work products (who, how, what) and a workflow (when), thus providing a complete process description for the team to follow that practice
  1. Publish the modified content from Rational Method Composer and make the content available for browsing
  2. Make modifications to the “in-progress” project area in Rational Team Concert to reflect the process description changes
  • Add new security roles to the project area and assign team members to these roles
  • Add new security tasks as work items to the project area
  1. Continue to run the project
  • Plan an iteration
  • Add tasks and assign them to team members

These steps are demonstrated in the following short video:

The following article on IBM developerWorks provides more information about this scenario, including descriptive steps and additional tool guidance:

http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/automate-software-development-processes-3/index.html

Scenario 3 - Create and automate new process

Background: The JKE organization needs to develop an HR system to manage its resources. They decide that purchasing and adopting a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) product is more viable than developing a new system in house. However, the company has no previous experience with commercial product acquisition, customization, and deployment. The development team researches and finds out there are practices in Rational Method Composer that can support their new endeavor.

Steps: The team investigates the practices available with Rational Method Composer practices library and concludes that there is a complete process to support COTS delivery that they can adopt. They decide to do minor customizations to the process description and create a new process template in Rational Team Concert to support the automation of this process description. They perform these high level steps:

  1. Customize the COTS process in Rational Method Composer
  2. Publish and deploy the customized process from Rational Method Composer
  3. Use Rational Method Composer to create a new process template in Rational Team Concert that aligns with the process description
  4. Create a project area in Rational Team Concert using the newly created process template
  5. Run the project and access process guidance

These steps are demonstrated in the following short video:

The following article on IBM developerWorks provides more information about this scenario, including descriptive steps and additional tool guidance:

http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/automate-software-development-processes-4/index.html


Summary

The use of available or customized process assets and the integration between Rational Method Composer and Rational Team Concert can help a team quickly configure a lifecycle project and get started in hours, not days. Team leads can leverage proven patterns of success to create plans and work items. Team members can access relevant and contextual guidance from the work items assigned to them, so they are able to quickly come up to speed on the team's process.


About the author

Ricardo Balduino is a senior software engineer at IBM, leading and contributing to the development of IBM Practices, Jazz-based solutions, and the Rational Unified Process. His 17 years of experience in the software industry include developing software for industrial processes automation and financial services, as well as delivering training and consulting services to help organizations adopt formal and agile software development practices. Ricardo is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®). He holds a B.S. degree in Computer Sciences from Sao Paulo State University, Brazil, and a M.S. degree in Software Engineering from San Jose State University, USA. He can be contacted at balduino@us.ibm.com.

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