The new Jazz 3.0 server now supports process authoring in the form of a tech preview. That is, the functionality is being made available now but it’s not officially supported yet. There are some great features you can now use for establishing, sharing, updating, and harvesting process descriptions. The tech preview is packaged as the Practice Library Application (PLA) and can be downloaded from the Jazz.net.
To start with, you can create and edit practices for your project in the web interface.
This allows everyone on the team to update tasks, guidelines, links, etc. Team members can contribute to team knowledge and enablement without the overhead of learning a more comprehensive tool like the Rational Method Composer (RMC). If you can edit something in a web page, you can contribute to the process description.
As you can see from the buttons on the Practices page in the first image, you can also import practices from RMC into the PLA, using robust practices for a project and editing them in the PLA as needed by your team. Use the Export option in RMC 7.5.1 to select the set of practices you want to export. Import those practices into thePLA (instructions below), and you’ll see all the content and elements you created in RMC.
The image below shows an RTC installation and tailoring practice I’m currently working on in RMC. I imported it into the PLA and can continue to edit it via the web interface if I choose.
So the $64K question is, if I modify this practice in the PAL, will those changes show up in RMC?
Select the Export option next to the practice name in the Practices page. RMC 7.5.1 can import the result, and it will merge the changes into the existing content. It will not merge changes with elements that use variability. And if the imported content contains new practices – that is, practices created in the PLA or in a library that’s not the current RMC library – RMC will create a new plug-in with that new content. You’ll need to merge that material manually.
The net effect is that you can now do “round-trip method authoring”. Your process engineer can create and refine the process description using a robust tool like RMC, export it, then import it into a Jazz server (using the PLA application). Team members can update content, make changes, or add important observations and specific instructions. Then the process engineer can harvest those changes by importing and merging them into the RMC library.
You can also share practices among projects as shown below. Notice the new Process Description tab on the project page.
See the detailed instructions on importing and exporting practices below.
Finally, the PLA allows you can take advantage of a new option in RMC 7.5.1. When you export task descriptors in RMC as work item templates (so you can create tasks in RTC that link back to the task in the process description), you can now point to the practice elements in the PLA instead of the RMC published process. This allows you to link RTC work items back to practice elements that live in the PLA. You don’t need to publish your process in RMC if you don’t want to. Just import your practice to the PLA, export your task descriptors from RMC, and import the work item template into RTC. The work item tasks that link to the practice elements now have the same look and feel as the rest of the RTC web interface. And you don’t need to maintain your RMC published process as a separate web app.
See Enacting Processes with Method Composer and Team Concert if you want to find out more about linking RTC work items to your process description.
The option to reference content in the PLA instead of the published process is available in the export dialog when you export RMC task descriptors.
Note that practice elements in the PLA are generic and don’t have a specific type (such as task, role, or guideline). The PLA duplicates the field names, content, and field order of elements imported from RMC. But the PLA doesn’t make an internal distinction between these element types like RMC does. Said more technically, the PLA is independent of any metamodel, while RMC enforces the SPEM metamodel.
You also won’t find any support for delivery processes or capability patterns in the PLA. It only supports what RMC calls Method Elements.
All the functionality described above is available from the Jazz 3.0 download site in the form of the Practice Library Application. Instructions for downloading and installing are here. This is a technology preview, so expect a pre-release experience. However, I’ve found it to be solid and worth using. Detailed instructions on importing and exporting practices can be found here.
Happy practice authoring!