Moving on

March 21, 2015

Last week, I had my last day after 12 years at IBM (and four more at Rational / ATTOL). Looking back, great satisfactions and challenges paved the way along with best-of-breed products, development, support and consulting teams. I’ll miss the passionate and talented people (and friends) I have been privileged to work with.

I’ve now moved in a consultancy role for the Drops / Arcad Software company, a French company known in the AS 400 / IBMi space. Wish me good luck in my new job !


RQM Test Lab Management: a cheat sheet

December 10, 2014

Recently, I’ve visited a Southern state of the US for a business trip. Among other topics, I’ve focused on the Test Lab management capabilities of RQM.

Request and Reservations


I remember that, during my initial grasp of this part of RQM, the information provided in various places (see the References section below) helped me a lot. Nonetheless I consider that it was not quick enough.

Maybe because I missed a synthetic view of the following aspects in a one-stop-table. Such document would aim at providing you both with a rapid comprehension of the features and a convenient communication medium around:

  • The Test Lab Management assets
  • Their associated definition
  • From which artefact they could be created (*)
  • What artifacts they could serve at creating (*)
  • Whether they could serve (or not) as a basis for creating a Request or a Reservation
  • Whether a view showing all the Reservations is available (or not)

As a consequence, I ended up creating the following table / cheat sheet:


CLICK to ENLARGE the table

This table revealed useful during discussions with customer. I hope this content could also help you:

      • At speeding up your understanding of the currently available capabilities in RQM, and
      • At facilitating the decision of the mapping between your own testing shop terminology with the RQM one.


(*): from the RQM GUI only here. REST APIs and other importer tools are excluded of the scope of this blog post.

(**): image borrowed from article: [devWorks] “Use RQM to manage lab assets in shared lab” (Nov 2013)

Direct access to CLM (RTC/RQM/RDNG/DM) Help / InfoCenter: a cheat sheet

September 16, 2014

Have you figured out that the CLM InfoCenter was relocated to a central Knowledge Center for a while now? As known by all of us (but often forgotten as well) the product documentation is the CORE/PRIMARY source of information (before reaching out to any other one).

But last time you were questioning a specific feature of the CLM product, how long did it take you to get to the right web page? more than 10 seconds?

If you ran a Google search (e.g.”RTC infocenter 5.1“), where you pointed to the specific product (RTC/RQM/RDNG/DM) and version (v3.x,v4.x,v5.x) you looked for ? Or, for whatever referencing reason, did it end up… missing its finest target?

In such case, we share this annoyance as I figured out the first returned results do NOT systematically match with my searching criterias (as for today, the search I provided earlier returned me with links to older product versions, some wikis, etc.)

As a result, I came up with idea of providing a “quick access list” (or cheat sheet) to get it systematically right and quick:

Direct Access to CLM KnowledgeCenter

CLM (Collaborative Lifecycle Management)
RTC (Rational Team Concert)
RQM (Rational Quality Manager)
RDNG (Rational Doors Next Generation)
RDM (Rhapsody Design Manager)
RSA DM (RSA Design Manager)
Related reporting products
Insight (Rational Insight)
RPE (Rational Publishing Engine)

I hope this blog post could save you some time and generated a positive side-effect: having the new Knowledge Center positioned higher in the returned results of your future web searches!

Finding lost content in RTC SCM: the good references… and some rough way

August 14, 2014

For the past couple of months, I’ve acted as the Rational Team Concert (RTC) SME/expert for a small number of IBM interns developing for a promising project (around IBM BlueMix platform). Especially around the RTC project set up and more regularly on RTC SCM-related trainings and questions.

In the past days, I’ve helped one of these interns at recovering some source code in RTC. This area is actually well documented:

Reference articles / resources:

  1. [] Topic: “My sandbox is out of sync with my repository workspace.  How did that happen?  What do I do?” of the Jazz Source Control FAQ
  2. [] Finding Lost Content with Rational Team Concert (by H. Fraser-Dubé)
  3. [Blog post] Navigating the history of your file changes in RTC 4.0 (by J. Diaz)

In the case raised by this intern, I was mentioned that:

  • for some times already, he experienced some RTC error message explaining his RTC sandbox was “out of sync with the repository workspace“.
  • since morning, he could not load a particular SCM component anymore (despite other members of the team still could do it). Loading would systematically fail for some obscure reason (linked to an “Error processing changed links in project description file. : is an invalid character in resource name ‘C:’”) associated to the .project file. I’ll avoid jumping into cause since I still have no clue here (maybe an Eclipse problem, but who knows…)

Having checked for the availability of a backup with the intern, my first thought on this was: “it should not be of a big deal anyway”. I already had pointed him the article [1] as a one-stop-shop for recovering from such situations (esp. by unloading/reloading of components).

But it turned out that, in this particular case, we couldn’t have the problem fixed. As I mentioned before, the component reloading would systematically fail. Based on this, we decided to start fresh and recreate an Eclipse sandbox and a new repository workspace. As a result, we got… the same “invalid character” problem. Humhhh… that was interesting…

Our next action consisted in switching back to the initial sandbox (now with all the components unloaded and so far no more loadable). Investigating the repository workspace history, we discovered that the source code modifications that were checked in (but not delivered) in the past 10 days were simply missing… Despite of the “Automatic Check-in policy” option (settable in the preferences of the RTC Eclipse Client) that I advised the team to use from the first day. This was a surprise. Possibly linked with the fact the sandbox was out-of-synch with the repository workspace for a while now. Or not.

We then got to article [2] that explains some good practices for recovering from a situation where you apparently lost some source content. We also checked blog post [3] which finished to provide with explanations for navigating the SCM history. As a result, we’ve checked the various approaches available:

  • Eclipse’s Local History: unfortunately, it was N/A in our case (at least at the UI level) since component would fail to load up to completion.
  • RTC Source Control’s Backup shed: was N/A in our case as this option needs to be activated beforehand (and is not the default).
  • Check-in History (New in RTC 4.0): was not a solution to us as the last check-ins would not appear in this history.


Experimenting the rough way….

From there, I’ve wondered if we could directly access the Eclipse history (the same one we could not take benefit from Eclipse menus) folder. As a result, I found article [4] and located this folder :


Reference articles / resources:

Checking its content, it’s pretty ROUGH to parse by a human: files are disseminated in many folders, file names are unrecognizable… But we circumvented part of the problem by proceeding to a “Search in Files” from a text editor (like TextPad, Notepad++, etc.) using a filtering based on the Java Class names the intern knew he had made major changes for. Finally, he could retrieve the latest versions of the Java classes he had modified in the past days. Pffiouu…

Solved a problem for now but…

Again, this is pretty rough. But I found it interesting to share with the community in case you’d fall into this seldom situation where article [1] [2][3] could not apply to you. Consider it as being the LAST option to choose for recovering your latest source code. In all other situations, RTC provides a range of far more handy solutions depicted in the list of articles above.

… planning to identify and solve the core problem.

This intern now smoothly accepts and delivers change sets in RTC again. Though this is not completely satisfactory. We miss the root cause of the initial problem (Eclipse-sided or different ?). Stay tuned as I shall update this blog post when it is properly identified.

Adopt Rational Team Concert (RTC) and RTC Enterprise Extensions (RTC EE) faster and better (Part 2/2)

April 8, 2014

This is the second article of series of two dedicated to Enterprise tooling adoption. In the first article, we’ve discussed some core concepts and results borrowed from social psychology field. We’ve noted how familiarity with a new tool is important to minimize resistance to adoption.

In this second article, we provide some supporting material depicting how to keep the right focus when adopting some new Enterprise tooling. First from a general stand-point and then for the specific adoption of:

These latter ones should be seen as extra layers coming on top of the initial layer of Enterprise tooling adoption.

Choice of a radar screen presentation…

The radar screen format is self-explanatory and introduces the intuitive idea of refining cycles and continuous improvement. Which is exactly how adoption should be conducted, i.e. each of the points on the radar should be reviewed on a regular basis.

Intent for me is not to comment on each item of these charts (*) but rather let them “as is”. For now, this rather comes as a “big picture” that you may find of a good support when either discussing with your local IBM team or business partner or when preparing the next steps for making adoption at your company progress.

(*): that would be done in a live meeting between yourself and a subject matter expert (from IBM or a Business Partner).

Note: If you’re looking for something more prescriptive on how to deploy RTC/CLM, please check the Reference links below.

… and how to use it.

Before deployment, you should wonder if there is an action plan against each of the points on your radar. If yes, what will be the impact of each action plan on the resistance to change (R.T.C) ? If no, what will be the impact of this lack on the R.T.C. ?

During deployment, you can make a retrospective of the impact of your actions plans on the R.T.C.

At the end of each deployment iteration, you should perform a retrospective to identify what actions were the most effective for reducing R.T.C.

1. Adoption of Enterprise tooling: radar screen for success


Click to enlarge

Order of adoption: RTC or RTC EE first ?

Shall you start adopting RTC in your distributed or in your mainframe teams ?–> A sound approach is to start with the most critical to you !

2. Adoption of RTC: radar screen for success


Click to enlarge

3. Adoption of RTC EE: radar screen for success


Click to enlarge


Acknowledgement: Thanks to Simon Washbrook for his review and always useful remarks.

3 Things to know for facilitating Enterprise tool adoption (emphasizing the human and change management factors) (Part 1/2)

April 4, 2014

In my recent engagements with mainframe customers (and especially with the project managers in charge of the in-house deployment of Rational tooling), I identified a common pattern where we start speaking in-house processes and numbers (of developers or teams), their IT architecture, etc. but where – at some point of time – we take a step back and start discussing how the adoption of their new Enterprise tooling went so far, how it was implemented and the possible concerns that remains.

A common pattern… and one point which needs to be emphasized.

Innovation is a fact ! As is the resistance to change by end users and the necessity to respect company policies. These are the biggest hindrances to a successful (Enterprise) modernization. To mitigate these risks, an appropriate strategy (including adoption, management of expectations, roll-out, training, etc.) is the key for avoiding shelf-ware or rejection.

 A series of TWO articles…

In the first article, we will discuss some core concepts and results from social psychology field.

In the second article, we will elaborate on how customers could keep the right focus when adopting some new Enterprise tooling. From both a generic perspective and in the context of the specific adoptions of IBM Rational Team Concert (RTC) and IBM Rational Team Concert Enterprise Extensions (RTC EE) respectively.

Core concepts from social psychology

The purpose of this section is to leverage some core concepts and results from social psychology space. We want some valid terminology  clarifying what one could feel to a certain extent… but yet in a fuzzier way ! Note: to this regard, this post shares a common viewpoint with a previous blog post.

The couple of definitions and concepts I found useful to exhibit in the context of an Adoption process are the following:

  • Effort Expectancy (E.E.) aka “perceived ease of use”
  • Performance Expectancy (P.E.) aka “perceived usefulness”
  • Resistance to Change (R.T.C.)

In the context of a Learning process (borrowing from the field of pedagogy), you can think of:

Writer’s note: as you’ve certainly figured out, there is some overlap in acronyms: “RTC” and “EE” could be interpreted in two ways here… To disambiguate, I shall using the orange color for terms coming from social psychology. That way, Rational Team Concert (RTC) and Resistance to Change (R.T.C.) should not be confused. Same thing for EE and E.E. !

Application to Information Science and Technology

Here I’m relaying some previous results from the following source: “Resistance to change and the adoption of digital libraries: an integrative model” [JASIST’2009]

  • «A user’s intention to adopt a new technology is influenced by a variety of beliefs and perceptions
  • «Domain-specific R.T.C. is both a direct and indirect antecedent of users’ E.E. and P.E.»
  • «Understanding the role of R.T.C. in user adoption can help designers and managers create a better fit between systems’ design and their intended users’ personal characteristics.»

Encourage familiarity with the new tool…

  • «To encourage users who are high on R.T.C., new systems should be designed such that they are not perceived to embody a lot of change. This can be done by retaining as many characteristics of older systems, computerized or not.»
  • «Systems’ implementation and users’ training could be better done if users did not perceive a new system as embodying much change.»
  • «When a new system is introduced, familiar aspects of a new system could be highlighted to mitigate users’ resistance.»

… and demonstrate benefits […] in the context that is important to adopters.

  • «Illustrate to users the potential benefits of the system, and how these can be demonstrated.

by using testimonials, by linking resources to course listings,  and in any other way that will enable users to demonstrate the benefits in the context that is important to them. »


The content of this article could appear far from IT space in the first hand. In the second article, we will elaborate on how customers could keep the right focus when adopting some new Enterprise tooling. From both a generic perspective and in the context of the specific adoptions of IBM Rational Team Concert (RTC) and IBM Rational Team Concert Enterprise Extensions (RTC EE) respectively. Keeping in mind the concepts and results from social psychology…

Thumbnail Part2

Rational EM products (RTC EE, RDz, RD&T, RAA, …): recommendations and “educated guesses” for limitations

March 20, 2014

In the past couple of years, I’ve helped customers in their adoption and deployments of CLM, RTC, RQM and RRC-DNG. Based on their recurrent questions for correct sizing and scalability handling, I shared some limits / educated guesses for limitations in the blog post “CLM,RTC,RQM,RRC: recommendations and “educated guesses” for limitations“.

RationalEM-TableofLimitsNow that my focus has moved to Rational Team Concert Enterprise Extensions (RTC EE) and the Rational solution for Enterprise Modernization, I want to share similar content for RTC EE, RDz, RAA, … Following the same approach. [Tip for you] if you’re already familiar with my previous post, you may skip straight to the tables below and ignore the two following sections which detail some terminology and purpose aspects.

In the Tables below, there are columns for Limits and Alert zone. Let’s clarify how we define them:

  • Quantified data: the (maximum) number of….
  • Limit: a hard limit of the product. Meaning that you cannot go beyond this value.
  • Alert zone: based on experiences with customers, internal tests and development teams, it’s around these values that we start seeing performance issues. If you’re approaching these values, we’d suggest you monitor your system closely to detect any performance degradation before it becomes critical. WARNING: while provided figures are educated guesses and practical rules of thumbs, you could still find that your environment functions perfectly beyond these limits  (e.g. if your environment is particularly fine-tuned). In a similar way,  some intense usage could show that these recommended values are too optimistic…

As a consequence, it’s important to understand this post is NOT an attempt for replacing existing resources (see the References section) that provide extensive views on CLM performance and tuning topics. We encourage administrators and project managers to read them as they both include finer-grain information and insist on the key aspect of not loosing the “bigger picture”.

What’s the use of the following tables then ?

Answer: they’re here to HELP YOU quickly figure out if you’ve reached some known limitation or if you’re getting close to a threshold  (again: on the basis of a typical/average environment) requiring due monitoring of your environment.  To this regard, these tables are COMPLEMENTARY with existing resources and concentrate information ALREADY available ((but yet disseminated) on multiple medias/sites/forum posts/etc.

Now, let’s go straight to the tables…

Quantified data Limit Educated guess / Alert zone Reference(s)
   Files in a component (<v4.0) 2000 Dev team inputs
   Files in a component (>=v4.0)  –  2000 [Share 2013] (s. 8)
   builds in parallel (*) number of build engines supporting the build definition
   team builds in parallel (<4.0.3)  –  1 (**) forum, EEBAW workshop labs (p. 63)
   team builds in parallel (>=4.0.3)  1 WI (***)
   team builds in parallel (>=4.0.6)  –  1 WI (****)
(*): this includes personal and team builds.
(**): multiple concurrent team builds of your dependency build may result in unnecessary rebuilds of the same program. You should prevent this by only configuring one supporting team build engine. Additional engines may be added for personal builds only. Check referenced EEBAW workshop labs for more details.
(***): from this 4.0.3 version level, when running multiple team builds in parallel, all but the 1st treated of the concurrent build requests will fail and error log will contain the following message: “Found a build “20140319-xxxxxxxxxx” “currently running.  Running concurrent builds is disallowed.
(****): constraint possibly relaxed by both setting the mentioned property and by making sure you use non overlapping subset. Typical use case is (only) for building different programs (a.k.a non-incremental team builds).


Quantified data Limit Educated guess / Alert zone Reference(s)
 – [RDz v9 InfoCenter] Tuning considerations


Quantified data Limit Educated guess / Alert zone Reference(s)
developers supported  –
  • 3-5 per RD&T server (Desktop machine)
  • 15-25 per RD&T server (Server class machine)
[Share 2012] (s. 32)
defined System z CPs (*)
  • 1 (1090-L01 model)
  • 2 (1090-L02 model)
  • 3 (1090-L03 model)
[Redbook] (p.12)
defined System z CPs (*) associated to a single zPDT instance
  • one less than the # of processor cores on the base Linux system (**)
 3-4 (***) [Redbook] (p.12)
zPDT instances  1 (per System z CP) [Redbook] (p.12)
emulated I/O devices  1024 [Redbook] (p.21)
(*): or mixture of CPs, zIIPs, zAAPs, and IFLs.
(**): an exception exists for a single core, which may be used with reduced zPDT (check p.3 of the referred Redbook).
(***): as per the I/O capability of the underlying PC and various “SMP effects”. Check p.12 for more details. Note: for configurations including multiple z1090 tokens, check p. 13 of referenced Redbook.

Reference for functional restrictions and scope exclusions inherent to a RD&T usage (in comparison to a real mainframe):

  • while these topics are not targeted in this document, for you awareness, you could find a consolidated list in the following resource (slide 25).


Quantified data Limit Educated guess /Alert zone Reference(s)
number of levels for impact analysis  100 [WSAA InfoCenter] (p.47)
max. size of a scanned file  5 Mo (*) [devWorks forum]
(*): default value extendable through a property. Check referred forum answer for details.


  1. [Deployment wiki] Performance datasheets and sizing guidelines
  2. Rational Team Concert 4.x sizing report for z/OS
  3. Rational solution for CLM 4.0 performance tuning guide for z/OS  (Oct 2012)
  4. General Link: Rational Developer for System z (RDz)
  5. General Link: Rational Development and Test Environment for System z (RD&Tz)
  6. General Link: Rational Asset Analyzer (RAA)

Acknowledgment/Credit: thanks to the authors of the cited documents above and more generally to the Jazz community who collaboratively provides accurate information through library articles, forums questions & answer, etc..

Value and ROIs of Rational solution for Enterprise Modernization

March 7, 2014

In the RETT team, we are dedicated at helping Enterprise Modernization customers make the jump of taking out their legacy tools and ease their switch for an IBM Rational-based solution. With a special focus on adoptions of Rational Team Concert Enterprise Extensions (RTC EE).

A customer classification… (to be cont’ed)

Customers we assist are likely to have a DECADE-long history in mainframe development and… a LOT of legacy source code to migrate to RTC EE SCM. But wait a second ! This does not always hold true, especially in the Emerging Markets.

A recent business trip I made to China proved it. We met with financial customers who were NEW to mainframe (note: I’ve already shared some lessons-learned about this trip in the previous blog posts: 1, 2). Not a surprising choice as mainframes have evolved along the way while constantly proving their unique value, performance, level of services, etc. Between us, what other technology could compete with this now turning 50 years old success story ?

Be customers either long time engaged or “new to mainframe”, our sales and Client Technical Representatives (CTPs) face questions about the business added-value and the associated return over investment (ROI) coming with the adoption of the Rational solution. Fair enough. So what is the answer here ?


A sound approach is to map the customer classification given above to ROIs with different scopes:

… for guiding ROI content and scope.

  • For a customer bringing new IBM Rational mainframe capabilities into his existing development environment: the ROI should consider productivity, speed, quality, etc.
  • For a customer considering taking out a previous tooling (e.g. a tier SCM tool or an existing collaboration tool, …): we should compare apples and apples. Some key indicators about the tier provided solution should be captured and compared with the new ones and a consolidation should be built on top of this exercise. While making explicit the strength of Rational products (our value proposition).

Well, the good news is that IBM Rational provides a number of such ROI tools for ALM, DevOps, Quality & Requirements and… Enterprise Modernization.

Please note that you could find a complete list of them in the References section below.

First, let’s start by CLM in general:

Rational Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM)
ROI Calculator Report Comment
Rational CLM Value Analyzer  – (in Flash)
 – The Total Economic Impact of The IBM Rational Solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management June 2013 (by Forrester Consulting)

Now, let’s cover the Rational EM tools:

Rational Developer for z (RDz)
ROI Calculator Report Comment
ROI Calculator  – (in Flash)
 – Benchmarking z/OS Development Tasks – Comparing Programmer Productivity using RDz and ISPF May 2012


Rational Development and Test Environment for System z (RD&Tz)
ROI Calculator Report Comment
ROI Calculator  – (in Flash)
 – Benchmarking z/OS Development Tasks – Comparing Programmer Productivity using RDz and ISPF May 2012

What about RTC EE ?

RTC EE provides additional capabilities to RTC for developing and building mainframe programs with a modern IDE. The ISPF client capabilities let you work with green screens if this is a preferred approach. It provides competitive z SCM tools hosting your z source code and, thing to note, wherever you want (see a previous blog post). As building programs on the System z platform can be expensive (per MIPS and time consumption, etc.), it provides some dependency build, promotion (without rebuilding) and deployment mechanisms.

Traditional benefits from RTC EE adoption include:

  • improved compliance and auditability
  • decommissioned legacy SCM systems for mainframe & distributed
  • unification of practices, removal of redundancies
  • improved follow-up on project statuses
  • diminished time for rewriting documentation
  • improved workflows creation and updates,
  • etc.

For examples of returns on adoptions of RTC EE by Enterprise customers, you could refer to:

Rational Team Concert Enterprise Extensions (RTC EE): returns on adoption by customers
Customer Date Comment
CACEIS Case Study (2013) PDF file. First 2 slides are in French but the rest of the presentation is… in English !
IBM Hursley CICS Lab (UK) (2012)

Going even beyond about YOUR expected ROI…

Let’s take a step back and discuss the statement, tools and reports provided above. OK. They give you sound estimates. Good enough. As always, the particular context of your company could impact these figures. If you’re looking for the finest-grain ROI and you are in the process of rolling out the Rational solution, one advice here:  you would consider including this exercise to be part of a post-pilot activity.

And… what if you add Requirements and/or Test in this picture ?

Needs for testing makes no exception for Enterprise Modernization customers.

From a general standpoint and once the initial learning curve of a test automation tool is passed, test design effort for an automated test is generally considered slightly more expensive than a manual test (30 to 40 % rates are commonly cited). But the payback occurs when tests are automatically replayed (in a quicker way, with no human errors, possibly at night, etc). This is particularly the case for tests run frequently (e.g. for regression testing). You should not minimize the cost of their maintenance though.

The corresponding information for Rational Quality Manager (RQM), Rational Requirement Composer (RRC), Doors, Rational Functional Tester (RFT), … is listed in the table below:

Quality management (RQM, RRC, Doors, DNG, RFT, etc.)
ROI Calculator Report Comment
ROI calculator  – (in Flash)


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