ALM State of the Industry Reports: which one is right?

Over the last 6 months have been asked which one is better: TFS, based on the latest Gartner report, or Team Concert and Rally, based on the latest Forrester report (which you get here and here)? The answer is quite simple if you actually read both. Here is the short version:

  • Forrester’s Wave report is made every two years, and it was comparing the latest version of Rally and Team Concert with Visual Studio/TFS 2010, so naturally TFS is in the second tier as the Agile backlog and planning tools were not considered;

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  • Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report compares Rally and Team Concert with Visual Studio/TFS 2012, so the three are in the leadership tier. In fact Microsoft is leader at this moment, a remarkable achievement considering that it was a late entrant in the race. Team Concert and Rally continue almost neck to neck, and it will be interesting to see what the next report will tell us.

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Both reports are useful because they also take into account other ALM tool providers. Also the combination of the two outlooks tells us about the complexity of the ALM industry, which is not captured by any single report.

That said, in the specific case of TFS you will need to pay close attention to the Gartner report as it is based on the latest and greatest. Also Forrester worked with Microsoft to create a new specific ROI report based on TFS 2012. It’s the Forrester “Total Economic Impact Of Microsoft Application Lifecycle Management”, and it shows amazing ROI over a 3 year period.

I also recommend reading the excellent Ovum Technology Research Report: Software Lifecycle Management 2011/2012. It provides yet another profile of the leadership tier (“Shortlist” in this case) which includes TFS as well, even though the report was based on TFS 2010.

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What I like about this report is its Ovum SLM Solution model, which highlights new trends such as DevOps and the growing overlap of ALM and PLM (Product Lifecycle Management). It also includes a list of vendor profiles such as Seapine and Tasktop, and their current ALM products. This is very useful if you are trying to understand industry trends as opposed to tracking a single company.

Notice how the same company/ALM suite can be in a completely different ranking depending on the report focus. That’s why I recommend paying close attention to the methodology used by each report vendor. The best way to understand the complexity of the ALM industry is to create your own composite view based on many sources. At a minimum you will need these four reports.

Just reading the marketing perspective from each company, which obviously will leverage those reports to provide a biased perspective of they own products, will put you in a position of an uninformed bystander in the ALM world.

If you have any comments, please send me an email and I will add them to the post.

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