Rational Asset Manager Milestone 3 Beta 2 Made Available

August 5, 2009

We made Rational Asset Manager Milestone 3 Beta 2 available to our customer in the managed beta program. We made some great improvements on the “Karen Hunt” Scenario. As part of the development process we try to focus on key scenarios and persona’s to help us make sure we are hitting the mark for function and usability. The “Karen Hunt” scenario involves a director or other business executive trying to publish an asset. We asked, “what are the expectations that needed to be achieved in this scenario?” Here were some of the answers that came to mind as we designed and built Milestone 3 Beta 2.

Our goal make it easy for directors or executives, who typically aren’t very technical, to publish assets. How did we measure our success?

1. Number of steps required to publish and asset. By reducing the number of dialogs, fields and confirmation buttons and choices required, we reduced complexity.

2. By not requiring any other software beyond what a typical executive would have on his desk like a browser. That includes making sure the default behavior of publishing an asset doesn’t require additional applets to load or require installing some rich client.

3. By making it fast. Fewer steps means faster. Getting things done fast means it’s easy.

4. By doing the work for them. We analyzed what were the typical categories, descriptions, images and links that business people would often add when submitting an asset. For example many would put the most common assets as links or images on the asset description. Or fill in asset attributes or categories with meta-data from an asset artifact. In the beta we make it easy to quickly pick which artifacts are featured in the asset description including even providing previews. This eliminates the need to waste time doing this when publishing an asset. In the beta, we also automate setting asset attribute and category values by providing templates and other techniques. We also found that business executives often only had one artifact in their assets. By defaulting immediately to uploading a single file as the first step this made it easier.

5. By doing usability tests with real business users.

Our motivators are not only our external customers but also internal competition. IBM often funds internal research projects to drive innovation. An internal community source tools began to offer very easy to use file sharing web application. Of course, it didn’t provide the asset management capabilities of a Definitive Software Library like Rational Asset Manager. However it did provide the team some extra motivation to make this beta so easy to use that even a business person could use it. In future posts I will describe how we also analyzed and improved the other extreme scenario of publishing a highly governed asset like a service lifecycle.

After using milestone 3, all I could think of is wait until customers see it. They are going to start using RAM to manage all their business assets and yes maybe even so of those personal ones too like photos, MP3s, videos.. I think this release is looking incredible. Once we deliver I will post some demo viewlets. If you can’t wait, join the beta program.

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