We have a blog about Agile, and a blog about Engineering here at Rally, yet we didn’t have a blog about the Rally product.  That ends today.

Welcome to the new Rally Software Product Blog.  As of today, this is the official communication hub for Rally’s products.  If you are interested in staying informed on the latest news about Rally’s products, I’d encourage you to click ’subscribe’ in the upper right corner of the blog.   Here you’ll learn about new features, adjustments to schedules, and even some tips and tricks about using the product.  We hope to do more than simply share the news — we want to share “why”.  Product development at Rally is not unlike product development at your organizations, its a game of trade-offs.  We believe that sharing those trade-offs will lead to enhanced collaboration with our customers and prospects.

What about Agile Commons?
Since it’s launch in 2007, Agile Commons has grown to a thriving community of almost 12,000 members.  Agile Commons is and will continue to be the place to collaborate with Rally and your community of users on Agile and Rally products.  We have added the product blog to increase our level of transparency.  Agile Commons requires membership limiting the audience with whom we can communicate, while this Product Blog is wide open.  Agile Commons is still the place to submit requests for new features and vote on them and will still require membership to participate.

Recently, we’ve heard some feedback about the management of feature requests on Agile Commons. First, our product management organization places tremendous value on the feature requests you have submitted.  We appreciate it, and I promise you that we read every one.  However, the administration and de-duplication of these requests has failed to happen consistently.  This will change.  Over the next few months we are committed to a full-scale clean-up of the feature requests to accurately reflect the status of the requests we have received.

Who moved my Release Commitments?
You may not have noticed, but beginning with the first release of the year, we altered our longstanding tradition of posting Release Commitments.  The Release Commitments page on Agile Commons was renamed “Work In Progress”.  While the naming change may appear subtle, the philosophy behind the change is significant.

We, like all Agile organizations, inspect and adapt to continuously improve.  During the past six months, we’ve performed small experiments releasing features independent of our release time-boxes.  You’ve seen new features delivered over a weekend patch usually reserved for defect fixes.  Generally, these experiments have been successful.  The value to you is getting features delivered in a more timely fashion.  We often complete work in the first or second week of an eight week release, yet it would be held for 6 weeks until it is released.  We can remove this delay enabling us to shorten the feedback loop. You’ll begin to see more from Rally about continuous flow both here and on our Agile Blog.

What does this mean to you the customer?

Our goal is to deliver value continuously without disrupting the 96,000 users we have on the Rally platform.  Here is our communication plan for new features:

  • All features in development will be listed on the Work In Progress page.  This page will actively change to reflect the state of development.  Our commitment to you is that we will only post work that’s actually in progress versus work that’s “planned”.
  • All incremental features will be released in patches during normal planned outages on Saturday mornings (MT).
  • Disruptive features will be batched and released at regular intervals. We will follow 8-week intervals at first for these changes.  We also hope to offer opt-in support for disruptive features as they are rolled out as we did with both the Backlog page and Dashboard
  • Two days before the release (Thursdays), features designated for a weekend released will be communicated via an email to all subscription administrators, described here on the Product blog, and listed on the Rally login page.  Our product blog communication will include a screenshot with a description of the feature and may include a link to a document which describes the new feature and provides additional details on its use.
  • Following the release, the features will be highlighted as ‘Complete’ on the Work In Progress page for a few weeks.
  • We will continue to deliver customer preview webinars at regular intervals to introduce and demonstrate new functionality.

Thank you for support and stay tuned.

Rally’s products are a reflection of the passion and spirit of our user community.  We appreciate all the feedback we receive on a daily basis from our users.  We hope this blog increases the transparency of Rally’s product team and helps facilitate more collaboration with our user community.

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