Posted by: Anthony Kesterton | January 30, 2013

Scaling up CLM

Back in the world of work, I spent an interesting day talking to a customer about scaling up their CLM estate.  They have a user base of around 6,000 at the moment – but plan to ramp this up to about 18,000 in the next year or two.  We will be using some of the excellent material on different deployment topologies on, as well as taking a careful look at how they currently use the existing infrastructure.  Several things about the current setup will help us scale up:

  1. They have used proxy servers to front the different instances so they can move them to different (bigger) machines and even data centres.
  2. They are currently running on single app servers – so we can get a lot of mileage out of splitting out the different parts of RTC, etc on to their own application servers, databases and machines
  3. They are running on a good database infrastructure (in this case, Oracle) and we can look at improvements on the backend via tuning, etc.

Making changes to these systems while still maintaining full service is important – we can’t just shut down for a week while we experiment. Fortunately, they do have  good development and UAT instances where we can try out any changes before they change production servers.  We also have some good experiences from the infrastructure that supports the 56,000+ user population on our own CLM servers across IBM, and the infrastructure that has users in the 100’s of 1000’s.  In the meantime, we have the blessing and curse of corporate standards for everything from login names to database settings to content with – so we have to tread a fine line between what IBM recommends and what their architects will let us do.

Posted by: Anthony Kesterton | January 30, 2013

RoboChallange 2013 – let the fun begin

You may have seen my previous posts about the IBM RoboChallange that IBM runs in London, in conjunction with Lambert Council.  Some of my fellow IBM’ers and I get to assigned to different local primary schools and spend an hour or so each week helping a group of children use Lego Mindstorms kits.  The children are usually aged between 9 and 11, and learn to build and programme the robots for a variety of tasks.  And in a month or so – we all spend a Saturday at IBM SouthBank when the schools compete with their robots.  They have to get the robots to dance, move in a specific pattern, race (my team won that section last year!), and then take on an unseen challange (usually something to do with a maze).  They also have to present on what they learnt,how they worked together, etc to a panel of very enthusiastic and supportive judges.  On the day of the competition, it is just the children that do the work – the IBM’ers and teachers (and parents) are not allowed to help. We are allowed to look on anxiously from the sidelines 🙂

I am particularly pleased to have another tech professional from the Rational Financial Services Sector team working with me this year – so I am not the only one who gets to spend some time “playing Lego” each week.

First session at our school will be tomorrow – and let the fun begin!

Posted by: markrational | January 29, 2013

Rational Team Concert Command Line Reference

Rational Team Concert Command Line Reference

OK – So a command line reference document may be a little dry – BUT – If you are a Team Concert user and you want to know the order that you need to learn the RTC SCM command line then take a look at my new paper on IBM DeveloperWorks. 

I take you through the login process, creating a workspace, populating it with content and finding your way through associating content with work items and getting it committed to the stream.

If you have ever used ClearCase you have probably used a ‘cleartool’ command prompt and learned lots of sub-commands. If you have moved on to Team Concert and you yearn for those days then take a look.

Any question – please comment here …


Posted by: Anthony Kesterton | January 13, 2013

You have one day left…

…to submit your abstract for Innovate 2013.

If you have a story to tell about improving the way your organisation works with IBM Rational processes and technology, please consider submitting a proposal here:

You may be off to Florida in June to speak at the conference!

Posted by: uktestexpert | January 10, 2013

Suspending a test run in RQM

Not all RQM manual test runs can be completed in a single session. Using the Script Execution page, there are a couple of different ways to manage the starting and stopping of a test run that is not completed all at once.

The Close button closes the execution page, returning the user back to where they were before starting the test run. Using the Close button leaves the test run in the current state. A tester can later resume the test, either by clicking the in-progress last result column on the Test Case Execution Record page or by finding the test run in the Execution Console.

Alternatively, the Click to Pause Execution icon places the associated result in the paused state and all of the steps are disabled and the current step is highlighted. When you resume the test run from a paused state, you must explicitly click the Click to Resume Execution icon (Resume) to continue with the test run.

Pause might be considered a more explicit action, thus indicating that you intentionally stopped working on a test run for some amount of time.

Close is less explicit as there is no indication that you are not working on the test run.

As an example, a tester that is working on a long test that takes several days. At the end of each day, the tester might use the Close button, as their intention is to resume the test run the following day. However, if something more important occurs that prevents the tester from working on the test for a while, then it can be paused indicating to others that they are not currently working on it.

Posted by: markrational | January 4, 2013

Collaborative Lifecycle Management Webinar – 15th January

Imagine if your development team had a fully integrated, traceable and highly collaborative development environment. Would the ability to seamlessly flow from requirements to implementation tasks; from requirements to test cases; and from builds to the tasks completed save you time and improve the efficiency, reliability and quality of your development team?  

Think about the information you need that takes hours or days to collect and is out of date as soon as you have it. Now think about the impact of having that information constantly available via an informative dashboard.

Attend a 40 minute webinar from IBM Rational UK to see how the Collaborative Lifecycle Management solution can transform your development team. Whatever your platform, language, development tools or process the Rational solution will provide complete coverage of the needs of your developers, testers, analysts, managers and business stakeholders.

To register for this Webinar please email Mark Roberts via

Posted by: beckyowen | October 26, 2012

My highlights from Innovate 2012

On Tuesday I attended Innovate UK in London, and wanted to share with you some of the highlights from the wealth of interesting and thought provoking sessions I joined.

The first speakers were IBMers Michael O’Rourke & Dibby Edwards who presented on “Enterprise Software Delivery: Balancing Agility & Efficiency in the Software Supply Chain”, which was a really interesting talk. They spoke to the audience about the common reasons that software projects fail, top four being:

  • Unstable, changing requirements (95%)
  • Inadequate quality control & poor quality measurements (90%)
  • Inadequate progress tracking (85%)
  • Inadequate cost & scheduling estimating (80%)

They also spoke about the inhibitors to accelerated delivery of these projects such as – slow feedback between customers and Line of Business, ineffective iteration between Line of Business and development, inefficient linkage between development and operations, or lack of end to end customer requirements visibility and a complex network of stakeholders.

They introduced their hypothesis on effective software delivery in the software supply chain, which should include speed and innovation + delivery discipline + management discipline. And showed the below chart on how to succeed in the new reality that we are facing in Software Innovation.


They then spoke about the new capabilities from IBM to enable agility with governance which you can see in the picture below.

The next session was from Diego Lo Giudice from Forrester –  He opened by talking about how it is vital that the customer has to be at the centre of everything you do – and that companies must create an exceptional customer experience. This is obviously something very close to my heart being part of IBM’s Social Business team and is aligned to our Portal product which helps create exceptional customer web experiences.  Diego spoke about how mobile, digital and social media are changing the systems of engagement with customers (apologies the picture is a bit blurry).


It means that there are shorter development and delivery cycles, feedback is instantaneous, and innovation is faster. One size doesn’t fit all anymore there is not just one solution to a problem, different models for everything. Systems of engagement are also about dramatic change.

Diego spoke about how there are a whole lot of new topics that as IT we need to address to solve the new apps that are out there Digits disruption means inability to deliver software fast enough, and lack of integration between apps and projects over run and over cost. The way forward to any SW development & delivery shop is to focus on increased velocity and adaptability but not at the expense of quality and collaboration is paramount. Collaboration is again a central focus for me, as this can be done using the Rational Jazz platform and the Social Business Connections product.

After the break I went to a session from the Mobility track given by Leigh Williamson from IBM. Leigh spoke about how with the rise of mobile computing location has become irrelevant, customers expect to get their stuff anywhere, multi channel is the new normal, and app intensity has exploded. If companies are going to reach desired audience they now need to have an online channel that is not limited to any industry.  He gave a couple of examples of how mobile apps are changing the way we live. One being an app used to fix cars, where the user can scan the engine and see which bits need work, and another that has grown around blood sugar levels, where users have built a community that make recommendations to each other on how to manage their blood sugar level, support each other and give each other dietary tips.

Leigh explained how IBMs strategy addresses full range of mobile enterprise needs – extend and transform, build and connect, manage and secure. This has been enhanced by the recent acquisition of Tealeaf – a commerce related solutions that brings in the ability to have a mobile app to report feedback from the end user directly back to your development organisation.  Mobile development is more than just coding, and IBM Rational understands that, we help focus on user experience first to achieve outside in design.  Leigh explained how mobile software development is a team sport, it needs a diverse rand of skills using different tools – design, development, text, operations etc. Tools can make or break collaboration – fragmented tools create silos but integrated tools like IBMs break down barriers.

The next session I went to was from Corso, around Crowd Sourcing, which opened with an explanation of what Crowd Sourcing is- a mechanism that accelerates information gathering and encouraging sharing of info, increasing the likelihood of finding solutions to difficult business problems, uniting knowledge, capabilities and delivery. Crowd sourcing allows all stakeholders to become leaders in change innovation.  The asked the audience to tweet about how they would improve the innovate conference, using #corsoatinnovate.  They explained how crowd sourcing can help companies understand the market, and match this against the capability of their organisation.

They then showed how their software worked, and I thought it was fantastic. They could monitor the # and categorise the ideas around various factors such as risk, legal impact, gut feel, strategic value, and estimated value.  Features can then be mapped to strategic objectives for product development. Prioritise product development ideas for customers one against the others. I strongly recommend visiting their website and having a demo –

The final work session of the day I went to was again in the Mobile track on Driving Innovation in the Banking and Insurance industry. Financial Institutions are increasingly using social media to improve decision making and drive financial results. However, to provide a seamless cross channel experience to customers is not easy to achieve. In the insurance industry – emboldened customers are starting to emerge that want all the normal desktop services they have gotten used to, on their mobiles, available 24×7, it’s got to be safer ,faster & cheaper . Multi channel experience improves customer experience, reduces inefficiencies and allows for better engagement with customers – IBM can help organisations do this by delivering rich functionality and improved user friendliness on mobiles.

The conference was closed by Kriss Akabusi, who I have seen speak before, but was just as amazing as the last time. He was so motivational and so inspiring, and really got the crowd energised. He linked his life back to the themes of the conference, like collaboration and innovation! He stayed around for at least two hours after the conference,was willing to talk to anyone and pose for photos. He even called my sister to cheer her up after a bad day!


Posted by: beckyowen | October 15, 2012

Getting Social at IBM Innovate UK

Next Tuesday I will be attending Innovate UK at The Grange St Pauls, London, which will be my first Rational event.  I am really looking forward to hearing more about this side of IBM’s portfolio; especially as the software also complements the Social Business offering so my programme will have a stand there (everyone should come along and watch a demo!).  There will also be several Business Partner stands that all attendees should check out.

The agenda looks really varied, which different tracks and streams to suit all the interests of the attendees, which include topics such as Application Lifecycle Mgmt, Mobile App development and Strategic Business Planning for IT, just to name a few!  The keynote sessions look great.  First up is Michael O’Rourke -Vice President, Strategy and Product Delivery who will be speaking about the Rational Strategy & Delivery Management. He will be followed by Haydn Leary – DWP, Head of Business Requirements and Martin Croker – Accenture, Development Control Services Lead, who will present on “Supporting Agile-at-Scale and Agile-with-Discipline – Providing a common platform for Collaboration”.  Closing the keynote will be Diego Lo Giudice, Forrester – Vice President, Principal Analyst serving Application Development & Delivery, who will take the audience through “Systems of Engagement need Agility: Key App Dev trends to get there”.

I plan on going to one session from each track – probably Real World Experiences Developing Multi Channel Apps, the Bank of America Case Study, the Perfecto Mobile case study, the Industrialisation & Innovation with Rational Team Concert session and finally the Infosys session from Rajan Kumar. 

I am REALLY looking forward to the closing session of the day that will be given by Kriss Akabusi MBE. I have seen him speak before, and he is incredibly entertaining and very motivational.

You can find the full event agenda and register here –

If you want to keep up what is happening on the day, you should follow @RSwindell and @ibminnovate and join in the conversation from the event by using #ibminnovate.

Also make sure you check out the IBM Innovate Facebook page –

Or follow all the Social Media conversation via our aggregator here –

If you are attending the event next week, I look forward to seeing you there!!

Posted by: Anthony Kesterton | October 6, 2012

Computing for schools – the reality

I have had great fun working with schools via STEMNET, an organisation that IBM supports and encourages us to work with. Recently, I was approach by a group at a local secondary school who wanted help with some programming for a High Altitude Balloon experiment.  They are getting a lot of hints and tips from a group at UKHAS – and this site has a lot of info about the Arduino single board computer that is used to control the experiment (camera/GPS/thermometer) and log data.  The problem was that neither the teacher nor the 6th Form students had any experience about programming computers – and they were not able to understand what the code was doing.  Now these students are pretty bright and enthusiastic, and the teacher was very good and highly motivated – they just had not been exposed to anything that explained how computers work, or how to programme them. All UK school children do some form of ICT education – but this does not appear include anything about “proper” computing – more about PowerPoint skills!

I saw a lot of press about this state of computing education in schools but it was only this incident that really brought home the magnitude of the problem.

This is something all of us can help with.  Join STEMNET, go and find a local school and help them really understand computers.

Latest update of the agenda.


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