What is IBM RTC?
IBM Rational Team Concert is an advanced, highly configurable tool for project management, change management source code control and build management. It is a member of the CLM suite. IBM RTC manages stories and tasks, stores code modules linked to the stories and automates the build of the code to deliver working software which enables quicker and more cost effective IT project delivery. It integrates tightly with Rational DOORS Next Generation (DNG) for requirements and Rational Quality Manager (RQM) for testing and with these two other components provides automation support for requirements, development, building and testing – the entire software lifecycle.
What IBM RTC does
IBM Rational Team Concert automates and supports project management, source code control, release management and builds. RTC can manage projects using agile methodology or formal (waterfall) methodology or, by customisation, virtually any desired project management methodology. If following agile methodology, the RTC workflow begins by writing and storing stories. The stories are then tracked in an electronic version of the well-known agile taskboard with stories written on electronic post-it notes. Code written against each story and stored in RTC’s source code repository. RTC can then invoke and manage builds to produce working code. RTC integrates with DNG, and can create stories derived from and linked to DNG requirements. This allows code to be traced all the way back to requirements. RTC also integrates with RQM. It stores and tracks defects and links them to tests stored in RQM.
The main benefits of IBM Rational Team Concert are as follows:
- Stories (or tasks in formal methodology) are stored in a single repository. This prevents multiple versions of stories being created and allows all stakeholders to see changes immediately.
- Stories can be linked directly to items of code in the source code repository, creating a link between source code and stories. This improves quality by preventing stories from being omitted from the code, and preventing code from being written without it being associated with a story.
- The on-screen project management and agile taskboard facilitate geographically distributed teams. This is a significant improvement on the classic physical agile taskboard, which requires the whole development team to be in the same location.
- IBM RTC can automate the building of code. This allows continuous integration whereby changes to the source code automatically trigger a build.
- The combination of project management, source code control and build control allows RTC to manage releases in an automated way. Once the stories to be included in the release are defined; the required code components and build instructions can be determined, and the build executed automatically. This reduces error and saves considerable time, while raising quality.
- Integration with requirements: the stories (or tasks) can be linked with requirements stored in DNG, allowing complete traceability of code all the way back to the users’ requirements.
- Integration with testing: RTC tracks the handling of defects. The defects can be linked to tests stored in RQM, which further links them to requirements.
IBM Rational Team Concert includes the following features:
- RTC is accessed from a browser via an organisation’s intranet or (using SSL) the internet.
- RTC can also be accessed via a plugin in a developer’s integrated development environment (IDE). This connects the IDE directly to RTC’s source code control. The IDE integration is available for the Eclipse IDE and also Microsoft Visual Studio, which allows .Net code (C#, Visual Basic etc.) to be stored and managed in RTC.
- RTC is part of the IBM Rational Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) suite and is built on the Jazz platform.
- Project management workflows can be configured to suit an organisation’s working practices. By default, workflows for Scrum (an agile method), formal (waterfall) and Open UP (a successor to the Rational Unified Process) are available.
- Roles / permissions: different users can be granted different permissions at both the level of the entire RTC application and also at the level of each project. This ensures that only the appropriate people may access and/or modify requirements.
- Projects, called Lifecycle Projects, can be created which span RTC, DNG and RQM.
- Status information can be shown on a dashboard. RTC allows dashboards to be configured to show almost any information of the project.