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Rally Software the go-to ALM tool for Agile developers

Rally Software gives Agile developers an ALM tool that, along with customizable dashboards, offers SAFe training and certification.

Rally Software offers a browser-based application lifecycle management (ALM) platform that can be accessed via the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer (versions 9, 10 and 11) through a Windows, Linux or Mac operating system. The product is tailored for organizations ranging from small to medium-sized businesses to large-scale industries, especially those that develop with the Agile methodology.

Rally includes several prebuilt applications but also integrates with JIRA, Confluence, Jenkins, Eclipse, Subversion, three Microsoft TFS solutions and many other products to allow users to organize projects to their specifications. Likewise, users can customize dashboards, Kanban boards and Scrum features.

During the planning stages, roadmaps can be used to anticipate projects' scope, capacity, dependencies and needs. With Sprint Planning, Rally offers interactive backlogs to drag and drop tasks into visual arrangements, with color-coded resource indicators to represent tasks' progress. Sprint Retrospective generates reports to provide summary metrics for each sprint, such as bar graphs showing stories in green and defects in red, displaying averages, ranges, standard deviations and overall count. Paired with roadmaps based on quantitative analysis of teams' performances, reports allow teams to anticipate task completion time and monitor developments; this data can be organized with metric scorecards in order to monitor and evaluate team efficiency. Rally's capacity planning feature allows users to create visual displays of "what-if" scenarios for portfolio, product and engineering teams to plan ahead and pre-empt issues. The Iteration Status page provides a real-time view into a project's, risks, progress and dependencies.

Rally Software also provides training and certification for Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and Scrum through its Agile University, with workshops at several different locations over the globe.

At each stage of the development cycle, users can communicate via email, RSS feeds and chat features. Rally can integrate with the other Rally software, Flowdock -- a team collaboration application for desktop, mobile and Web use -- to allow for customized group chats with adjustable data retention parameters.

Several editions of the platform are available for on-premises use or software as a service (SaaS), and Rally encourages prospective customers to request a licensing quote directly through its website.

The cloud-based community edition includes basic product functionality and is free for 10 users and five projects. Its core features include multi-team releases and program tracking, Kanban boards with a roll-up display and the ability to download free user-created applications.

The enterprise edition includes the features of the community edition as well as development and test sandboxes to refine integrations and use custom applications and extensions. Enterprise supports unlimited users and is available on premises or SaaS.

The unlimited edition includes all the features of the community and enterprise editions as well as access to Flowdock, Rally Insights analytic features and Rally Portfolio Manager, which provides additional tracking. Like the enterprise edition, it is available on premises or SaaS.

Rally Software offers a forum for users to discuss basic customer support issues. Additional support is available in a tiered system. Community support is available to all users, including those using the free community edition. In this tier, support staff can be reached during regular business hours (Mountain Time) Monday through Friday. Rally has plans to introduce live Web chat functionality to communicate with customer service representatives.

Standard support, which is included for users of the enterprise or unlimited editions, is available from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, based on the time zone of the customer's billing address and excluding Rally's observed holidays or other related closures. These hours include online case submission review; response time varies based on the severity of the case.

For $5,000 per month, premium support offers 24/7 availability, higher priority case attention and faster response times, access to a priority hotline, and direct contacts with product engineers. This is available for organizations with a subscription to the unlimited edition and subscriptions for at least 200 users.

Aside from the hotline for priority issues, phone support during regular business hours is available only to customers who subscribe to the Rally Success Program, which involves having one designated point of contact between the organization and Rally. This tier of support includes the features of the premium support tier but offers customers a designated support team. The minimum Rally Success Program subscription length is six months and customers' Rally Success Program subscriptions will renew and co-terminate with its subscription or license to the Rally platform. Customers are responsible for their designated teams' travel, lodging, meals, materials and shipping expenses.

 The latest version of Rally On-Premises is 2015.1.

Next Steps

First, figure out if your organization needs ALM software.

Then figure out which ALM software suite is right for your company.

Rally was recently acquired by CA Technologies.

This was last published in September 2015

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Application lifecycle management tools: A buyer's guide to ALM software

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How is the Rally Software ALM platform what your organization needs?
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We use Rally for story/iteration tracking. It works fine, although we really probably only utilize a tiny set of its features. It is a definitely a heavy tool, and more than we need. It's also expensive. My team has used free products that we actually liked just as well. 
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