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Jolt Awards

Jolts 2007: Project Management


Jolt Winner

Rally Enterprise
Rally Software

Dru Jacobs, Director of Marketing and Don Hazell, EVP Worldwide Field Operations

Rally Enterprise may feature a lot of buzzwords, but please don't hold that against them -- tags like agile, software as a service, rapid delivery, transparency, dashboards, even eat your own dog food certainly apply, but they weren't pasted on post hoc by the marketing department. Rally's team-, project-, and lifecycle-management software came out of a single, clear vision that answered some simple but deep questions: "What do agile teams need to know about their projects?" "How would it make customers' lives better if we hosted the software ourselves?" "What if we used agile methods to produce the stuff, and committed to really frequent release cycles?"

Rally Enterprise offers features that agile teams have come to depend on, without a lot of extraneous fluff, and the software doesn't dictate your process. (Insofar as you've adopted some kind of agile mindset or methodology, that is; if you're doing waterfall, working with Rally is going to feel like sweeping that water back uphill.) For visibility, you've got dashboards for backlogs by release and by iteration, you've got velocity and burndown reports, and plenty more. For planning, knocking together an iteration or release by dragging and dropping is a real judge-charmer; the Enterprise edition integrates with CRM tools so that requests propagate more quickly up the chain. Rally incorporates its own issue/defect-tracking tools, and can play nicely with others.

Rally comes in three editions: Team for working with development projects, Program for multi-project, multi-team visibility, and Enterprise for managing the entire development lifecycle as it affects the whole organization. Rally has paid attention to providing a migration path, so you can start small and roll out larger and larger; they've also begun offering a virtual-server on-premise deployment option for folks who really want the goods in-house, without the endless installation and configuration hassles.

Rally Software doesn't just preach agile methodology; they live it, teach it, and develop their products with it, and it shows. If you've "gone agile" or want to get started, Rally Enterprise is a great way to let everyone involved keep your development on track.

--Rick Wayne

Productivity Award

6th Sense Analytics
6th Sense Analytics

Even the Grateful Dead wanted to know: "Where does the time go?" Deadheads or not, developers ask the same perennial question. You can try to track billable time spent on various projects, but wouldn't be nice if you could just work and have a tool collect the metrics for you? 6th Sense Analytics came up with an innovative answer: Instrument the tools commonly used by developers, and offer a service that collects the data and couples it with some highly useful, easily comprehensible analysis.

6th Sense uses "sensors" that hook into a wide variety of tools, such as Eclipse or Visual Studio, as well as web browsers and office applications. Each developer's time spent in editing, building, debugging, or researching on all their projects is compiled and can then be sliced and diced into graphs and tables. For example, you can see a pie chart for how much time you spent debugging versus editing code, or see a line graph of total time spent on several projects, or compare effort among several developers on a distributed team. 6th Sense gives good visibility while staying completely out of the developer's way.

--Rick Wayne

Productivity Award

Teamwork
Open Lab

From the very beginning, I could see that Teamwork was designed from the inside-out, with productivity as the driving force. Making my way through Teamwork, I found power and flexibility with very effective controls and information right at my fingertips. I never had to hunt for information, it was just that easy. Status and timelines are available at appropriate times and it's clear that great care went into the design and usability. Teams should find this not only a great way to track tasks, but to really see the overall health of the project and assignments. It's more than just a great project management tool; it proves itself as a valuable communication tool as well. Subscriptions to tasks can be selected at any time to give instant notification of changes to tasks, based on how the user prefers to receive the information.

--Jon Kurz

Productivity Award

V1: Agile Enterprise
VersionOne

V1: Agile Enterprise is an outstanding example of powerful features combined with a polished interface. Navigation is focused and provides a wealth of detail. There are reports that cover a wide range of viewpoints that are more than enough for even the most extreme project management aficionados. RSS feeds and exportable reports are just some of the ways that users can extend its functionality. V1: Agile Enterprise also does something that many other tools don't: not just project management, but very effective project planning. This demonstrates V1: Agile Enterprise's ability to be a full lifecycle, enterprise planning and management tool, while still maintaining a focus on Agile methodologies.

Being enterprise-ready doesn't have to mean complex setup and configuration. I was impressed with the smooth and easy installation. Within minutes and without complications, I found the system was ready to go. Whether your needs are high-level planning, or effective day-to-day management, this is a tool that is comprehensive and well-suited to Agile development.

--Jon Kurz


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