HP Agile Manager – impressions and outlook

In my first two blogs about HP Agile Manager (HP AM in the following) I provided some facts about the upcoming product.

This blog elaborates on impressions, use scenarios and outlook.

Let me start with the summary first. Wow, this is the type of product that was expected by many HP customers who work the agile way! It took HP quite some time to deliver a product on the agile premise. Now, agile practitioners can use the browser of their choice and are no longer stuck with the Internet Explorer, which is still required to run HP QC/ALM.

For IT departments in large organizations this product will be a big relief and cost saver, as they don’t have to care about installations and needed permissions any longer. No ActiveX components like in QC are required to run the UI. It simply runs anywhere without any download. I did state “will”, because currently the product isn’t delivered at all to IT organizations. The only way to get it is through a SaaS service from HP. While this is an excellent opportunity for companies who are allowed to store data outside of the company network, this is a killer argument for companies who aren’t allowed to do so. From my experience specifically European companies will have some issues here. And this is not just because of intellectual property stored elsewhere. It also has to do with the fact that HP SaaS is typically located in the US. Network latency issue often have an impact on service availability.

From a usability perspective HP AM is certainly great for young generation employees who are used to web interfaces. IT veterans still have their way to go learning new navigation aspects of such a web application.

For a “1.0 release” HP AM delivers a rich set of functionality for agile development. With its hierarchical concepts of themes, features, users stories and tasks large development projects and programs can utilize this product for agile development. And this is not a surprise, as the concepts for HP AM stem from one of HP’s internal development organization with a long experience in agile development. HP utilizes internally a lab prototype product which was presented at several events already. See last paragraph on blog New Opportunities for QM.

Therefore, customers have good reasons to assume, that this product is practice oriented and delivers value to agile development organizations. However, utilizing HP AM to its full potential may be a challenge for organizations just starting with agile. E.g. Estimation, planning and tracking features require corresponding practices at the organization level.

Looking at the competition, HP has to accept that in the second decade of agile development there are already market leaders established. With Rally Software and VersionOne among the most successful. So, how can HP win? Well, HP has a great software portfolio and specifically well established test management solutions. An integrated test management approach is critical for success in agile development. HP AM can hardly win as a standalone solution, but  tight integration with other HP offerings will transform HP AM into a killer app.

It will be interesting to see how fast HP is able to leverage other HP Software solutions.

HP announced already a synchronization tool between customers HP QC/ALM instances and the HP SaaS solution that will allow to synchronize data. However, it seems that data is only partially synchronized. Within the HP AM product Q&A customers already stated, that this is not what they expect. They want to have all data synchronized. Why? Well, there are several reasons. Customers who already have deployed QC/ALM often have build a lot of project management support processes around this tool infrastructure. Reporting, analytics and data warehouse applications are often well established. It is understandable, that they need to have all data in one place. This is specifically true for organizations who do hybrid development: Agile and non-agile.

Next week on Discover 2012 in Frankfurt existing HP Customers will have a chance to experience HP Agile Manager live. And there will be opportunities to exchange ideas and experiences with other practitioners. For example the Vivit TQA roundtable on agile development.

HP AM is a late start, but good start. Stay tuned.

Links:

HP Agile Manager Beta