Firm rallies to address agile growth

With agile programming spreading to larger groups of developers, Rally Software Development last month introduced an enterprise-level version of its lifecycle management platform for agile software development. The product includes an on-premise deployment option.

Rally is introducing Enterprise Edition because customer sites are getting larger and users want things like project management and the ability to comply with regulations, according to the company. Rally defines agile programming as using lean manufacturing methods and building software in two-week increments. “We’re getting into sophisticated and more complex environments,” said Richard Leavitt, Rally vice-president of partner programs.

The company boasts BMC Software as a customer, with 400 to 500 subscribers using Rally. Other customer sites are exceeding 100 users, Leavitt said.

The enterprise-level product has features not available in the previously released Team and Program versions of Rally, including the ability to be deployed at a user’s own site. “Now you can have Rally for the first time behind your own firewall,” Leavitt said.

Rally’s on-premises option meets the needs of companies that do not want a software-as-a-service model, analyst Carey Schwaber, of Forrester Research, said. “It can never hurt to offer more options,” Schwaber said in an e-mail. “There are definitely companies out there that aren’t interested in purchasing software as a service for one reason or another. In my experience, the concern is most often security and risk management.”

The enterprise product also features versioning and traceability of all artifacts in a software release. A feature area for product management is new as well. “This is gathering user feedback and prioritizing it” to help define requirements, Leavitt said. Also in the enterprise product are real-time executive dashboards and reports that show release-level status and schedules across the software life cycle.

Agile development is a “mega trend,” Schwaber said. “We see the impact of agile development not just on teams that are explicitly practicing it, but also on teams that are using traditional methodologies. For example, release cycles are getting shorter and shorter across the industry. And we can credit agile development with raising the level of interest in daily builds and developer testing, as well.”

Rally also is offering services called Accelerators, which are prepackaged coaching services that help companies implement agile methods. The programs run from two days to six days.

Rival VersionOne last month also announced an upgrade to its platform for managing the agile development life cycle, touting a new Web services API to link to third-party tools.

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