Just arrived back from IBM's Innovate 2011 and have to say it was a great event to be part of.
The organisation of the Event was very polished with several innovations this year. There were plenty of PCs to check, build and print your agenda, RFID tracking so appropriate feedback could be provided, 3D barcodes to scan around the conference (introducing a gaming concept to the conference), superb support for social media (ensuring that everyone could keep in touch), IBM certifications exams included in the ticket and plenty more. I very much enjoyed our trip to Universal Studios, despite the combination of alcohol and roller coasters :-) IBM know how to put on an Event!
My focus this year was Rational Requirements Composer (after already being a big fan/user of RTC) and I'm glad to report a big improvement on last year's integrations and functionality. Im looking forward to testing the web interface's performance (in real world applications) and the ability to do full lifecycle traceability when combined with other tools in the Jazz suite. The CLM setup appeared more seamless (appearing more like 1 tool across disciplines) and RRC was starting to become a great tool for a BA. Minor bugs I encountered during workshops have supposedly been fixed in the CLM 3.01 release due soon. Specifically, I was impressed with the tool's generic and GUI modelling (although it wasn't clear a browser plugin was required at the time), baselining and review capabilities. I've also learnt how to plan releases of requirements sets (collections) and will be interested to see how efficient this is when integrated with RTC; I assume releases are planned in RTC using sizing, requirement collections are then created in RRC, which are then assigned back to the appropriate RTC release? The challenge will be keeping change management as simple as possible across tools.
The progression of DOORS and RRC will be interesting to see (in the 'Next' versions). The OLSC technology had more partner integrations this year, and the Jazz implementation of the OLSC disciplines appear to be turning the IBM vision into a reality. I do however wish IBM were more open about their product roadmaps so that customers aren't left guessing about the products they will be using in the longer term; I, for example, can't see much progression for Req Pro or DXL, and would infer that I should be moving away from these at some point in the medium to long term? I may have missed some key discussions at the conference however, and it must be difficult to manage existing customers while progressing a portfolio of tools. Also, as RRC becomes more powerful within it's web interface, I was left asking what the DOORS thick client will offer capability wise beyond RRC? Will I need both tools?
Overall, congratulations to IBM. They have a great foundation to build on and I'd like to see more of their competitors embrace OSLC in future so that tools can be combined based their pedigree (with less concerns over integrations to other tools). I also would like to see a tester's perspective on how RQM is coming along and it's integrations with the rest of the Jazz suite.