We (http://www.cmcons.com) constantly implement IBM Rational tools, i.e. we face both features of the tools and their limitations in practice.
Here I will speak about probably the most important tool when it comes to support of change processes - IBM Rational ClearQuest. I will not tell you about the tool itself since there are special materials on this topic. I want only to point out that it controls all changes in a project, or rather all change requests (CR).
In ClearQuest, change requests can be of the following types:
* Enhancement request – New requirements from a client.
* Defect – Documented defect.
* Task – Planned task, task for defect correction or task for enhancement request implementation.
All ClearQuest users deal with different CRs – analysts work with change requests, testers – with defects. But, one way or another, all project participants work with tasks, since in practice tasks are planned requests that have planned start and finish dates and many other attributes connected with planning (completion rate, workload, etc.).
Commonly, on basis of any enhancement request (or any defect) one task or multiple tasks (plan) are created for solving the request, i.e. a hierarchical chain is built:
Every task has its owner, start and finish dates, planned and actual dates, etc. Also, upon completion of every task the request can be closed. Besides, tasks may have not only hierarchical relations (decomposition relations), but also relations of the Dependence type.
This is how any change tracking system including ClearQuest works in practice.
The advantage of the ClearQuest is that it stores data on both top-down and bottom-up relations between objects in a chain.BUT! ClearQuest does not offer any tool for visualizing the change request hierarchy (regardless of the change request type – task, defect or any other).I.e. Clear Quest stores all requests with all relations in the database, but represents them as a flat list. Using the Query tool you can represent anything you want as a hierarchy, but to do it, you should build special reports. However, the practice shows that our users do not like building reports much, the more so because the reports should be build with great care.
Several times we tried to eliminate this shortcoming and have developed the following tools:
GanttChart 1.0 for ClearQuest
- The idea to develop a tool for Eclipse rose long ago, but we have managed to implement it only this year. As a result the GanttChart 1.0 for ClearQuest module has been developed. It allows the project manager or any project participant to visualize the hierarchy of change requests directly from ClearQuest.
will be of interest for those who use IBM Rational ClearQuest and who lack for project management fucntionality. The module does not substitute the existing project management tools. It just adds reports to IBM Rational (in the next versions of the module, the most of MS Project functions will probably be transferred from MS Project to ClearQuest). The module significantly simplifies management of complex hierarchical tasks and releases project managers from their routine allowing them to concentrate on the most important problems. GanttChart 1.0 for ClearQuest
is the next generation product designed for joint operation with IBM Rational ClearQuest Eclipse. All management functions are available right after the installation in the ClearQuest standard menu. GanttChart 1.0 for ClearQuest
is a flexible decision that allows configuring any change requests with different relations and with any nesting level, providing ability for fine tuning of additional fields.
The following are the main features of the GanttChart 1.0 for ClearQuest
- Multiplatform application. The module is integrated into the Eclipse client of IBM Rational ClearQuest and works on different platforms – Widows and Unix.
- No need to use additional tools. All functions are available in one tool - IBM Rational ClearQuest client – except for budgeting, resource allocation and project portfolio management.
- Single source of information and real-time synchrinization mode. The module allows displaying the actual state of project tasks on basis of last chnages in IBM Rational ClearQuest. This is performed without any additional synchronization or duplication of the IBM Rational ClearQuest data into some other project management system. All data is visualized in the real-time mode.
- Access to all fucntions of IBM Rational ClearQuest. Since the module is integrated into the IBM Rational ClearQuest client, a user has the access to both the planning funtionality on basis of Gannt chart and to all functions of IBM Rational ClearQuest – making queries, building reports and charts, etc. – at the same time.
The beta version of this tool will soon be released.
More info about GanttChart 1.0 for ClearQuesthttp://www.rational-tools.infohttp://www.cmcons.com
Color coding allows highlighting tasks according to their statuses, for example, green – completed, yellow – in progress, red – late, blue – as planned.Visualization of task hierarchy and decomposition of tasks: grouping of works and tasks by requests or defects.