Want to know how your IBM Rational product licenses are being used? Wouldn’t it be useful to find out which users use which product licenses? How about knowing if any licenses were denied during peak hours? Or when the licenses that you purchased are expiring? Whether you are in a large enterprise with hundreds of users using multiple applications, or a small or medium business with a handful of users, you want right-here-and-now information about license utilization and availability so that you can increase operational efficiency and make the right investment decisions. The recently released IBM Rational License Key Server Administration and Reporting Tool provides reports to answer all these questions and more. (If you missed the release announcement for the tool, here it is, on this very blog posted by my colleague Jane Balin.)
In this blog post, I will provide an overview of the Rational License Key Server Administration and Reporting Tool and also explain its installation topology in typical application environments. To understand the Server Administration and Reporting Tool, let's start with Rational Common Licensing and the Rational License Key Server.
The Rational License Key Server is at the heart of Rational Common Licensing and provides a service to host licenses and serve tokens for Rational applications. There’s a lot going on under the covers in Rational Common Licensing and some of those goings-on involve d(a)emons and wizards, but let’s not go there now! For now, let’s keep it nice and simple, which is that the License Key Server is at the core of Rational Licensing. Now, for the Rational Jazz client applications, it's the fabulous Jazz Team Server that manages the authorized and floating licenses. If you use tokens for your Jazz applications, you also need the Rational License Key Server for the token service. And I will explain a little bit more about that later.
The Rational License Key Server Administration and Reporting Tool provides a suite of reports that provide information on license utilization and availability. Jane’s post provides a list of reports You use this tool to generate reports on license usage from your license servers, be it the Rational License Key Server or Jazz Team Server or both. You can also use the tool to remotely administer your license servers. This is helpful in distributed environments where you might want to administer one or more license servers from a single remote location. Administration involves starting and stopping the license servers and importing license files to the servers.
The Administration and Reporting Tool uses an agent - the Rational License Key Server Administration Agent – to communicate with the Rational License Key Server and Jazz Team Server. Think of the agent as a behind-the-scenes operation that connects the entities that you see and work on – the License Server and the Server Administration and Reporting Tool.
Let us see how these different components are laid out in a typical installation topology.
Fig 1: Installation topology: Rational License Key Server Administration and Reporting Tool
This topology assumes that you use more than one Rational License Key Server. It also shows how licenses are deployed on the Jazz Team Server. You must install the Server Administration Agent on all the license server machines that you want to enable for remote administration and reporting. The Server Administration and Reporting Tool is installed separately. The Server Administration and Reporting Tool communicates via the Server Administration Agent with the license servers.
Let me explain how the Jazz Team Server works in the context of Authorized and Floating Licenses and Token Licenses. If you are using applications that run on the IBM Jazz platform, you can use the Jazz Team Server to deploy and manage your licenses. The Jazz Team Server also functions as a license server and you can import your Jazz license files (client access licenses or CALs) to the Jazz license server. For tokens however, you require the Jazz license server to connect to a Rational License Key Server instance for the token service. When a Jazz user requests tokens, the Jazz License Server forwards the token request to the Rational License Key Server for token checkout. You do not require Rational License Key Server if you are using authorized or floating licenses on the Jazz license server. Let’s see if a table can help illustrate the concept more clearly.
Rational License Key Server
Jazz Team Server – license server
(requires Rational License Key Server for token service)
Now that we’ve sealed the topic of license types and license servers, let’s go back to the Server Administration and Reporting Tool. The Server Administration and Reporting Tool can provide reports on all license types on both the Rational License Key Server and the Jazz license server. For Jazz application tokens, the Server Administration and Reporting Tool extracts the report data from the Rational License Key Server.
That sums up the tool overview and the explanation of its installation topology. In the next post, I will talk about the architecture of the Rational License Key Server Administration and Reporting Tool, and how you can set up and configure the tool for use with your license servers.
You just upgraded WAS 8.5.x to the latest fixpack and after restarting the services, ClearQuest can no longer be accessed through port 80. You discover that you can reach it on port 12080. On closer examination, you realize the plugin-cfg.xml that is referenced by the httpd.conf file has been overwritten. How do you fix it? If you follow these simple steps below, you should be back to normal before you know it.
It turns out the httpd.conf file is not pointing to the plugin-cfg.xml being used by WAS. The file specified in httpd.conf has incorrect server paths. Propagation will fix this mismatch.
To fix this:
1) login to the WAS admin console http://localhost:12060/ibm/console/login.do
2) On the left of the console expand Server -> Server Type -> Web Server
Place a check mark on "<your_app_server_name>", click the propagate plugin button.
3) When the propagation is finished, Click on "<your_app_server_name>" and then on the next screen click on "plug-in properties".
4) navigate down the page and click on "Copy to web server key store directory"
When the copy is complete, restart the httpserver and WAS services.
Should you still have issues after performing the above, check the plugin log file for any errors.
Where is requirements management heading in the next five years? In this blog post Richard Watson (Product Manager, IBM Requirements Management tools ) discusses his predictions for the short-term future of requirements management: To predict the future of Requirements Management (RM) tools I think it’s important to take a brief look back in history and see if we can spot any important trends. Requirements Management tools differentiate themselves from “typical” documents or spreadsheets by managing distinct, uniquely identifiable statements—called “Requirements”—and dependencies between different requirements—called “links”. Tools to specifically manage requirements have been around since the early ‘90s (starting with QSS DOORS and Rational Requisite Pro). In the first ten years of their lifetime requirements tools justified their existence by the cost savings on understanding and managing the scope and complexity of systems development. There was no real drive to connect requirements to the rest of the development lifecycle or, if there was, the main emphasis was to work out how to get other tools’ data into the RM system so that the traceability could be managed.
While trying to import an activation kit to activate Rational Software Architect Designer for Websphere v9.5 and you encounter the following error "This jar file does not contain any licenses".
The activation kit "v9.5 IBM Rational Software Architect Designer for WebSphere Software Authorized User Single Install Activation Kit" downloaded from the Rational license key center (LKC) website fails to activate the application and displays the above error.
Starting with version 9.5, RSA and RSA4WS (Rational Software Architect for Websphere) has been renamed as Rational Software Architect Designer and Rational Software Architect Designer for Websphere Software.
As part of repackaging, if you previously purchased RSA you will be entitled for RSADM also and vice versa .
When you extract the jar file you can see the activation kit is for RSA DM (Design Manager) not Rational Software Architect Designer for Websphere Software , the contents of policy.xml looks like below:
Here is one of the queries that was put across to me (Sumant Renukarya) by one of our clients using IBM Rational Team Concert; a question that was a bit like a puzzle:
'Where can I find a specific Apache Tomcat patch for AIX server? An AIX specific patch is not available for download'.
Though it sounded like a simple FAQ, it had to be answered judiciously as the number of AIX servers which were being patched, were in the range of 90 to 100!
After thorough research and brainstorming, it was confirmed that there is no separate installer for different flavours of UNIX, for Apache Tomcat server. Essentially, you need to download and use the default installer available for the single flavour of UNIX from the Apache Tomcat website, which serves for AIX as well.
Here is a Sample Scenario: An issue was reported with Apache Tomcat Release bundled with Jazz V188.8.131.52 and there was a need to upgrade the patch of Apache Tomcat server from the default 7.0.25 to 7.0.34. This was for an AIX server installation of the Apache Tomcat server, bundled with IBM Rational Team Concert.
Abstract: You can leverage your investment in IBM Rational ClearCase and enhance it with agile planning, work item execution and change management with IBM Rational Team Concert. This document provides information about the necessary requirements and identifies resources that will assist you in setting up the integration.
Abstract: This white paper focuses on the integration of IBM Rational Application Developer (RAD) and IBM Security AppScan Source Edition with Developer plug-in. The article provides insight on Rational Application Developer, Security AppScan Source, and the integration. The article covers how install the Security AppScan Source Developer plug-in and use the integration with Rational Application Developer.
Abstract: You can use the integration between Rational System Architect and Rational Publishing Engine as a reporting tool to create composite reports from multiple data sources. This white paper includes topics like how the integration works, how to setup up the integration, and how to publish a report using this integration.
Abstract: The content of this white paper helps you understand the administrative tasks of migrating the traditional integration of DOORS and Change to the OSLC integration using the built-in DOORS plugin. This white paper also covers the setup procedure of the DOORS database server and Redirector Service.
A series of white
papers providing an overview of different installation scenarios for
ClearCase and ClearQuest: These four scenarios involve the use of IBM
Installation Manager technology, used with these Rational products
starting in the 7.1 release.
Abstract: This white paper provides recommendations for maintaining a stable and efficient license service. The
white paper also provides tips for enhancing the performance. Included
is a case study on the performance benchmarks of Rational License Key
Server 8.1.1. This white paper covers the different aspects essential for a
successful deployment, such as system requirements, system resources,
and network and security considerations.
Abstract: The integration between Rational Logiscope and Eclipse enables you to be
more efficient in the handling of code and modeling. This document
describes the procedure to setup the integration between the two tools
and optimize their strengths.
With apologies to Led Zeppelin for the title of this post... Here's a slew of tips, trick, and straight up solutions from the Jazz.net library feed, compiled here for your convenience and ease of access. Click the titles to access the complete content for each tip abstract:
Get the most out of the Jazz.net library: The Jazz.net library is one of the most popular and widely used resources by the community. It includes technical articles, how-to videos, tech tips, and workarounds. With every month that passes, the number of items in our library grows more and more. Just last month we posted thirty-two new items!...
Usage Tips for Rational Requirements Composer 3.0.1: This article provides tips for getting the most out of Rational Requirements Composer 3.0.1 based on our own experiences using RRC. Most of these tips are for authors and commenters -- roles that can be added to a RRC project (and modified) using the Administration UI...
Tip: Disable servlet dispatching when using reverse proxy: When Rational solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management applications are deployed in separate application servers with a reverse proxy configured to make each application appear to be deployed in a single central server, a defect introduced in the 3.0.1 release will cause various application functions to fail...
Tip: Installing the ClearTeam Explorer to Rational Team Concert: Rational Team Concert 184.108.40.206 extends the ClearCase Bridge capabilities to the ClearTeam Explorer interface, an Eclipse-based interface to ClearCase version 8.0 that supports both web views and dynamic views. This document provides instructions for installing the ClearTeam Explorer to Rational Team Concert...
Why do I blog about Rational License server, RPT, RFT, CLM, anyway? Why do I even recommend it? Who will gain anything out of it?
If you ask me I will have loads to say as I love blog posts, especially those that can take you through the entire process of troubleshooting, installing a software, or building an application from A to Z. After reading many technical blog posts from different authors and writing many myself, I’ve decided that it’s time to share a workflow that I hope will help those who are creating amazing things to blog more easily and often.
Writing blog posts isn’t easy. Most technical posts require lots of thinking, putting together reporting, scripts, testing, scratching your head when they don’t work right, trying again and again till you succeed. There’s the time it takes to upload images, to get them aligned properly into posts, to get everything just right.
But writing regularly about Rational Licensing concepts has become a very valuable part of my learning process, which helps me connect to my clients and help them grow without any technical hiccups..
Lets understand what one can do to enhance technical blogging: How to write a technical blog
Upon reading couple of books/articles on blogs, this is what I think will best fits in:
Think / Research:
Research Deeper into the Topic, I like to include this step after the brainstorm, so I don’t pollute the creative process with external ideas.
Now that you have some of your own original ideas out on paper, it’s time to find out what knowledge has been already uncovered. I suggest that you
a) timebox this step and
b) use resources beyond simple Google searches.
Think before you act : Understand that what kind of blog are you going to write [ A Plan for Your Blog ]
Let Your Personality Show
Blogs began as an intensely personal medium, often having a diary-like quality to them. While blogs have since evolved, many still convey plenty of personality. "Let your personality show," "Remember to be yourself."
Unless you feel strongly about your subject, you will have a tough time succeeding as a blogger. "You have to enjoy what you are blogging about -- it's as simple as that, "If you don't, it will feel forced and your readers will notice."
Explain Technical Matters
No matter what your profession, you likely have to explain complicated topics to people who don't understand. Maybe you're a scientist trying to explain DNA to your grandmother, a literature professor explaining metafiction to drinking buddy, or an IT professional explaining reporting tool to your significant other. Regardless of what you're explaining, you can make it easier on yourself (and the person trying to learn).
Blogging requires time -- lots of time. "The number one thing is to blog as often as possible and to make every post as interesting and useful as possible.
Reference Other Bloggers
Be sure to link to influential bloggers and their posts within your own blog; if you're lucky, they will link back. But don't focus solely on the top one or two bloggers, or else you will look like you just want attention (and links). Other bloggers with clout who aren't the stars of the scene may be more likely to link back to you.
Promoting Your Blog
Understanding Traffic Statistics and analysis
Building a Community Around Your Blog
Scaling Your Blogging Activities
Beyond Blogging: Your Strategy for Social Media
Determine your motivation for writing a technology blog. This will play an important role in determining which topics you write about and how much depth and background or supporting information you provide.
If you're blogging as a hobby and want to share information you know as well as technical information you're learning regularly yourself, you can choose diverse topics that interest you at a specific time.
Can you write about something if you’re not an expert on it? YES you can!!
Try to just write about your findings and research, document your work so far, link to your references, and write down your questions. People may help answer your questions, or you may answer them yourself in further posts. You’ll learn a lot just by writing a careful, thoughtful blog post about what you’re doing.
Write Smartly, but don’t try to sound smart!!
Writing a technical blog helps make you less isolated. It gives the community a chance to get to know you in ways they wouldn’t otherwise. Even if people don’t subscribe and read every post, if you blog regularly and tweet a bit about it, people will find you and get a sense of who you are.
"If it helps you, your coworkers, our clients or our partners to do their jobs and solve problems; if it helps to improve knowledge or skills; if it contributes directly or indirectly to the improvement of IBM's products, processes and policies; if it builds a sense of community; or if it helps to promote IBM's Values, then it is adding value."
Work smarter with configuration management. Part 1: Introduction - What if your product and application development teams could use their normal ALM tools -- requirements, designs, tests, implementation -- in shared contexts, working in parallel on multiple releases or variants, and creating baselines across their tools -- all with high levels of reuse? What if the "glue" that made this possible was based on open specifications and designed for multi-vendor solutions? Imagine no longer!
Get the big picture in this gentle introduction. Then learn more about these capabilities (now in beta) in the other videos in this series noted below and at from this blog: http://ibm.co/1yW4gme
Jason, Matthew, and I are on a mission ... a mission to take our lives and our work back from the inbox.
Email is a great tool ... for a few things. It is NOT a great tool for many things that we currently use it for today: discussions, decision-making, file sharing, file repositories, questions & answers, newsletters, announcements.
We have the collaborative technology. We have the skilz. It's just a matter of "walking the talk", and persevering. A whole lot of persevering.
So we start today, with the Luis Suarez Magical 3 Step Pattern:
Stop replying to email
Identify conversations/tasks (use cases) that can be accomplished more easily, more transparently, more efficiently, or with less cost with another social tool.
Start moving those conversations/tasks to their appropriate home. Slowly and surely.
Honestly, I've been such a collaborative harpy for so long, we are doing a lot of this already. But now we're going to do it mindfully and consciously, and track our results like Luis did.
We'll also be providing updates on our progress here, along with the technical content you've come to rely on.
Well, your intrepid adventurers have 3 days of Working Outside the Inbox
under our belts and I thought this a would be a good time to discuss in
a little more depth about how we are doing this.
start with Step 1: Stop replying to email. This step would really be more
accurately described as Mindful Processing of Email but that doesn't sound nearly as provocative and attention-grabbing, and wouldn't make nearly so many people's heads explode, which wouldn't be nearly as much fun.
So listen: this is what we are really doing.
of this as stopping the reflexive knee-jerk reaction of working in your
inbox, simply reading and replying. We've all become very well trained by our inboxes: receive an email, send an email. Read your incoming email and
Stop. Think. Ask yourself a few questions along these lines:
is someone else likely to ask the same question?
would this exchange, or the bit of knowledge/information shared, be of use to anyone else?
what is the best way to share this information or conduct this transaction?
is there a smarter, more efficient, more collaborative, open and transparent way to work?
Change begins with us (and you!)
Here are some wild and crazy ideas on how you can work effectively and openly and without being chained to your inbox:
Use the content repository or content management system of your choice as long
as it's NOT YOUR MACHINE. Don't become the bottleneck, or the
single point of failure. Put your stuff where people can find it and get it. When people email and ask you for that information, give them a link to the information where you've posted it.
Use wiki pages for knowledge
capture and on-demand access. One example, instead of keeping your
project status or metrics in a spreadsheet on your machine, think open
and transparent and provide that data on a wiki page. if your manager
expects a weekly status report, put it there.
discussion forums for collaboration, idea sharing and brainstorming.....or collecting a quick temperature check from your community. Don't conduct a lengthy email exchange with one or more people about it. Be the first to suggest there is a better way to conduct this conversation.
Use the community blog for news, announcements, and community-wide
communications. Why blog? To take advantage of all the technology that allows us to
share knowledge more widely ... tags, RSS feeds, aggregators, search....
the list goes on. Rather than sending an 800mg email that immediately
plunges 20% of your unsuspecting audience into "mail jail", try blogging your news. Oh, the
80% who aren't in mail jail? I posit that 40% will not read it anyway, either deliberately or by
accident when it scrolls "below the fold" amidst a barrage of other
people sending news, asking questions, and, worst of all, sharing files.
Besides, I bet a couple of weeks from now, someone's
going to ask you for the information again anyway.
Speaking of sharing files.... There are better ways. Instead
of mailing a slide deck to 10 people for review and comments, use Connections and if you MUST send an email, send a link to where you have
posted the file (or the wiki page from which you are working) so that
it can benefit the greatest number of people, who can then bookmark it / subscribe to it / grab the RSS feed, or otherwise self-serve
when they need the information. Which means the doc owner doesn't need to send the updated
file out to a cast of thousands either.
Oh, it all just makes so much SENSE.
no, we're not giving up email entirely, and there will be times that we
will (gasp!) send an email. We're just going to be mindful in our work
and aim to get the maximum value from each interaction.
So, stop and think.
Just because a conversation starts in email doesn't mean it belongs there.
Well, it's Week 2 of the grand WOTI experiment, and things are moving along swimmingly. We've got a nice little race shaping up in the Sent email department. Jason put us all to shame Week 1, by sending a grand total of three, count 'em, THREE (3) emails, easily winning the WOTI Overachiever of the Week Award. Week 2, we're all settled in for the long haul, and so i thought it would be a good time to discuss Step 2: Group Conversations and Identify Use Cases.
Luis Suarez tells us that it's easiest to first break up the mail in your inbox into 2 categories: Things That Belong in My Inbox and Things That Don't.
Things That Belong in My Inbox
Things That Don't
Everything else. Potentially.
We've started breaking down the "everything else" bucket and grouping them into use cases. We'll be looking to move that information or transaction to a better home.
In a lot of cases, especially in these early days, that means transitioning closed conversations/ tasks/ knowledge-sharing to a more collaborative/open venue, and turning "bad" email into "good" email (auto-notifications). And yes, you are right.... in the short term, that does nothing to reduce the amount of email we get .... but it ensures that the artifacts of that work are shared as openly as possible, with our inboxes becoming the messaging system they were meant to be, NOT the repository of all corporate knowledge.
Here are some ideas:
Requests for work can be better managed through work items in Rational Team Concert or "to dos" in Lotus Connections activities.
Regular status updates/tips and tricks/project status emails can be posted as blog entries in your Connections community, and aggregated as collections through tagging.
Again, it all comes down to mindful processing of email, and spending just a couple of extra moments to stop and think .... is this the best way to share this information? Is anyone else likely to need this knowledge in the future?
Think NOT just of the immediate, tactical need for information or action, but the ability to capture that knowledge/action for reuse so that the entire organization can benefit in the future, and not re-invent the wheel, or waste time recreating knowledge assets that folks aren't sharing.
Are you wading through a mountain of e-mails upon returning from a long weekend, struggling to catch up? A few of us in Rational Support aren't, and here's why!
Week three of the grand "Working outside of the Inbox" experiment and we're well under way, even starting to see some great traction! People are taking notice across organizational boundaries, reading up, asking questions, and even implementing some of the concepts of WOTI on their own both internally and even externally!
Today we're back to tackle Step 3: Moving those conversations/tasks to their appropriate home(s). Slowly and surely.
What does that really mean though? Where do we move conversations to if not e-mail? And how can we move conversations without breaking step 2 "Stop replying"? Well, the simple answer is: we move these to wikis, forums, instant messaging, and phone calls... and sometimes you WILL have to reply to an e-mail. But, you (we) can still reduce the amount by replying with pointers to the right locations for the conversations which we've already setup.
Here's one brilliant example I witnessed since we've started this more organized initiative:
In the past three weeks my colleague Jamel Touati has been the absolute master of this by directing a number of collaboration questions (revolving around problem identification and solution discussions) to forum discussions he built out based on the initial round of emails. In his first replies, Jamel was able to direct everyone cc'd on the e-mails to the forum locations where they could review the content and continue the discussions transparently and standing as perfect examples as to why open knowledge sharing like that is so important. Now, the entire investigation and solution process is visible so anyone with similar questions can see how and why the particular solution was determined to be the correct one. Forums threads like this retain not only the core solution, but the history as well. And once a solution is determined, or an end result is finalized, that information can be distilled and moved to a wiki page for better clarity and readability with a mere pointer to the discussion thread if the history is ever needed.
I also saw a great unexpected personal win last week when I made the realization that I'd run an entire two week project (small internal tool creation) from concept to deployment without sending a single e-mail. I detail a bit of this out on my personal blog, but really the key component to this was the fact I used wikis and instant messaging to transparently collaborate and achieve my project's goal: delivery of a useful internal tool. I unwittingly proved the WOTI concept to myself; that working outside the in-box WORKS and allowed us to be more agile, more transparent, and more effective from start to delivery, and even beyond into demonstrations and minor training (I didn't even use a slide deck, rather recorded a reusable video walk-through)!
Like I said at the start of this post, we're even seeing traction outside of our own small group, and beginning to see other colleagues from within our larger organization, and even across organizational boundaries taking notice and beginning to shift their communications to better venues. It has started taking shape in the form of internal blog posts through our IBM Lotus Connections communities, as well as using "smart wiki pages" to aggregate content based on tags, allowing the conversations to be contained in one community, but made visible across communities through innovative use of RSS feeds and smart tags. Talk about breaking down communications barriers!
Of course, we may be spoiled here in IBM since we have easy access to some industry leading collaboration tools! Of course, that doesn't mean you can't have them too. And even without leading edge tools, you can still tackle some WOTI steps on your own, it's just a matter of identifying the right places for your conversations; be it internal wikis, discussion boards, or even just shared docs in the cloud (insert plug for IBM Docs in beta and available to us all, now!). And yes, to begin with, you may indeed see your out box increase slightly, but in the long run, those emails you'll be sending to guide people to the right places for conversations will fade away and you'll soon find you're using e-mail more effectively and that your work has become more open and transparent, ultimately resulting in more efficient collaboration and success in your projects. All because you were able to identify better venues to capture and share knowledge. Who knows, maybe you'll even see more personal success as people begin identifying you as a thought leader, effective change agent, and all around guru of knowledge management just because you had the audacity to simply stop using email and began working outside the inbox.
Have you started implementing some of your own e-mail reduction efforts? Have you begun your own WOTI initiative? We'd love to hear your success stories as well! After all, this isn't something specific to just Rational Support, or even IBM. Let us know in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or even through Twitter @mentions! We're chomping at the bit to hear your stories in whatever medium you want to share them
When I first started writing this blog post, it was going to be about ALL the things that drive me crazy when they arrive in email. But then I realized that it was a loooong list .... a Herculean effort, especially if your inbox reminds you of the Augean Stables BEFORE the big clean-out. Unfortunately, we'll have to go about it the old-fashioned way ... one shovel-ful at a time.
So, if you too want to work smarter, more openly, transparently, and effectively, you'll need to pick your battle. One at time, look at the pain points or areas of inefficiency and look to make one change at a time.
Want to make MY head explode? Send me (along with dozens of other people) an email that includes, as an attachment, your 54-page slide deck, your tabbed and richly formatted newsletter, your million-row spreadsheet, or several megabytes-worth of photos from your latest vacation. Honestly, it doesn't matter why you sent the attachment(s) to me in email: for review and comments, or for awareness. I can pretty much guarantee that you have several very good file repository options available to you, any one of which, ANY of them, would be more effective and efficient that passing that file around in email.
What's a better way to share files then? A link to where you've posted THE file is infinitely preferable. Nearly all available file repositories support some type of direct linking. Why not host the file in a single location and share that location out? Not only will this reduce our inbox sizes and keep us out of mail-jail, but it also means you only have to update one location when changes occur, rather than sending out another round of messages with yet another attachment.
So, a good place to start? Start sharing YOUR files more smartly, and set an example for others, Gently guide others to bettter collaboration methods, and file storage methods.
I'm happy to report that I receive very few files in email anymore. I'd love to hear YOUR experience.
Last week Lifehacker shared out this blog post by Jesse Stormier: "Put Your Inbox in the Upstairs Bathroom". And it immediately clicked for me: living inside the inbox is just too easy. This, of course, makes the shift to living outside the inbox even more difficult, as people don't change until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change.
This really can come down to a chicken or egg issue: is our addiction to email fueled by the ease of use, or is the ease of use driven by our addiction? In either case the solution, in part, is just as easy. In Jesse's post he notes how he switched from a slick GUI client and push notifications to using a command line email client, akin to putting his inbox as far away from him as his upstairs bathroom. Now, for a Unix guru that's a rather elegantly simple solution, as he is more than comfortable with the command line I'm sure. I'm even guessing it would work for a number of you reading this post here on developerWorks as well, knowing your technical excellence often has you playing on the command line.
Me? I'm lazy. While putting my inbox in the upstairs bathroom is a grand idea (my home office is upstairs, so it really isn't much of a trip at all), going as far as using Mutt on the CLI to access it is more akin to putting my inbox in my backyard, or for other people it may even be closer to their postal box down the street. Making email hard to use isn't really the point of "working outside of the inbox". Rather, the intent is to improve our collaborative efforts using tools better suited to the tasks and not automatically default to using email unless it really is the right tool for the job. So, let's make it easy!
Ok, but where's the solution? What's the recommendation? Two simple parts come to mind here:
Turn off notifications- More than anything, notifications are likely the biggest contributor to time wasted in the inbox. It is human nature to want to clear a flag, or notice, or other indicator that there is an email waiting for us. This is even more compounded if you have any obsessive/compulsive tendencies at all. The need to address a notice immediately can often be too great to ignore, and thus the interruption occurs. (Just in the time I've taken writing this post I've scurried off to deal with no less than 5 notifications about email messages arriving and awaiting my action.) So turn them off. Notices are much easier to ignore if you can't see them.
Close your email client when you aren't using it- As simple as it sounds, for me this is more akin to putting my inbox in the upstairs bathroom. I don't have to go through the extra effort of accessing it via command line, since the time taken to actively think about checking my messages then open my email client and wait for it to load is sufficient. Out of sight out of mind, right? Don't leave it running but minimized, or in another browser tab but not focused. Close it. Completely.
With these two easy bits covered, my last recommendation will be to schedule specific and focused time in your day to address your inbox messages, freeing you from the shackles of your inbox the rest of the day! I know a few people around here only deal with email first thing in the morning when they arrive to work, and last thing before they leave (in between, of course, is when real work is being done and collaboration occurring all across the organization in the right tools for the jobs at hand). Or perhaps scheduling three times to check: on arrival, right after lunch, and again before leaving for the day.
Regardless of how you go about it, finding what works for you is the key to enjoying a life outside of your inbox. I assure you, it is absolutely worth the mild pain of change!
Vacation. The word alone strikes both a visceral and dichotomous chord in any and all who hear it. On one hand it triggers a wistful longing or deep anxiousness to get to it, but on the other hand, well that's where things take a turn... for those of us in the corporate world, vacation means returning to an exploded inbox after a week of ignored email. It means that even as we are away from work, basking in the fact that we have no responsibilities for the week, deep down there is that knowledge and fear of what awaits us upon our return. I'm sure at least a few of us have already recoiled in horror at the thought of actually disconnecting and taking a week's vacation.
Thankfully, a few of us in Rational Support have a tool (or rather, concept) to help us deal with that anxiety which makes returning from vacation so much less stressful: our drive to work outside of the inbox. Now, admittedly, it didn't help me return from vacation wholly without fear, but instead, it assuaged that fear nearly immediately once I did return....
Take a moment and think about the last time you took vacation.... how many emails were waiting for your return? Two hundred? Three hundred? One thousand? Somewhere in between? Enough to make returning to work a daunting proposition I'm sure!
Well, imagine returning to the office to find only 138 total emails in your inbox! Moreso, imagine 50% of those messages being irrelevant spam/sales emails and auto-notifications. That's what I came back to. Now, do the quick math and you'll see that my inbox really only held 64 messages for me which required attention... even more luckily, about half of those were only informational and didn't require any direct action. By the time Monday was over, I was nearly 100% caught up from my prior week off. Prior to our WOTI (working outside the inbox) efforts, being caught up by Monday evening would have been inconceivable; a daydreamer's fantasy at best.
The great news? Just because my inbox was reduced substantially from prior vacations' totals, this doesn't mean I am privy to less information... rather, because of our heavy use of wikis, forums, and blogs, all the information I missed during my time away is still available, relevant, and searchable. Instead of digging in to my inbox to disposition emails and categorize accordingly, most of that content was now visible in my RSS reader and already categorized and dispositioned, or even handled for me via internal crowd sourcing as an effect of the networks of connections around me.
Because this information was now being shared in collaborative spaces instead of siloed inboxes, I was able to be more effective more quickly upon my return from vacation and focus on the work that really matters.
So, we knew this wasn't going to be easy. And we knew it wasn't going to be a quick project.
Remember.....we are looking to change the way people work, and nobody ever said being a change agent was easy.
So we've got six weeks of the Working Outside the Inbox under our belts. The first five weeks were GREAT. We saw steady declines in our inboxes, and in the amount of mail we had to send out, and the proportion of good mail (personal/sensitive, meetings/scheduling, and auto-notifications) was going up while the amount of bad email (newsletters, announcements, Q&As, status, etc) was going down.
Things were looking good for our fearless adventurers and we were riding the wave. Cowabunga!
Week 6? Not so much.
Which makes for a good blog topic. What about those speed bumps?
Sometimes, it all starts with one email. I'm sure you ALL have been there. One individual sends an email to a very wide recipient list. The recipients start replying .... to ALL. After a while, more folks chime in, either with their take on the situation or begging people to take the discussion elsewhere. Some of the other people on the email thread .. their heads (and their inboxes) are exploding. Several requests to move the email thread to a discussion forum prove fruitless, and there you go.
Or, you might be working on a sensitive project that is not suitable for sharing, or are dealing with an executive request (also not suitable for sharing). Sometimes email IS the best solution.
Perhaps you are working an urgent issue/project with people who are far outside your group, and driving them to a more collaborative solution is just not possible at this time. That's ok too.
Repeat after me, one more time: Change is hard.
This isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. There will be speed bumps and there will be weeks that go better than others. And that's OK.
Don't get discouraged, keep on keeping on, and even when things are going pear-shaped, look for the wins. You might have a huge email thread going on, but you've also got a lot more people than ever before realizing that it's not the best way. And what about all those other wins you've realized ... use cases identified, patterns adopted. There's good stuff happening - a lot of it.
And remember, each speed bump is just another opportunity to model a better, a SMARTER way of working.
The fourth (and last but not least) step in the WOTI process is: Step 4 - Record Progress, Set an Example and Act as a Change Agent in the organization. It might not sound that exciting, but we're confident the results will eventually be thrilling!
We've recorded our progress on a weekly basis since we started, tracking our Inbox and Outbox.
The WOTI program began in the middle of week 1 on Wednesday, February 1st (see Fig 1). In Fig 2, the data for week 1 is extrapolated and adjusted to estimate the numbers of e-mails for the missing two days to build a full week. Note that the left side access are the team totals for our inboxes, while the right side axis is our team totals for our outboxes:
We are already seeing some encouraging results!
We are moving in the right direction with lower incoming and outgoing e-mail although we are not yet ready to scream victory ... We are going through a learning process as we continue to educate people on the value of WOTI. This requires passion, persistence and patience! (It took Luis Suarez time before he moved to the Canary Islands! Where would you be if your Inbox were empty?)
We strive to set ourselves as examples, but still act in our own way as change agents in this effort. We exchange our experiences, brainstorm and share knowledge on a weekly basis about what worked for each of us.
Leading organizational change with a great idea like WOTI requires a fundamental belief that there are long term values for ourselves and the overall organization and it is very rewarding to see everyday new adopters of the WOTI way of doing business! We hope that you are also on your way with your own WOTI initiative in your organization, and we'll be very happy to hear about your progress and look forward to learning from each other.
In the meantime, recording is in progress and we'll continue to update you with our findings and experiences in future blogs ...
With Kelly moving on to her new role, we (she and I) thought this would make a perfect time to set another milestone on our Working Outside the Inbox (WOTI) series with some lessons learned, some failures, and some successes as well. Make no mistake though, just because we are recapping our blog series does not mean we are abandoning the WOTI ideas and principles. Far from it, in fact. As you'll find below, from our experiences with the initiative we are more dedicated than ever to using the right tools for open and transparent collaboration.
First up, where did we see our failures?
Jason: I tend to forget to not reply to emails and default back to using email when busy and unfocused. Continuing to use email when there are better alternatives for the conversation I am engaged in (or starting) was my single largest failure over the course of these past six months. I did always feel a pang of guilt when I sent "bad" email though...
Kelly: You'd think I'd know better , but I was expecting magic to happen immediately, as everyone MUST see the innate value of what we are doing. In fact, Working Outside the Inbox is a marathon, not a sprint .... rather, it's a mindshift and a new way of working, one that, through constant exposure and once embedded in one's "muscle memory", becomes the new standard way of working. Like Jason says, it's easy to fall back into old habits, or grow discouraged in the early days. Your results will not be immediate.
But let us not despair, for these failures didn't diminish our successes! Surprisingly, even without dedicated focus or and organized official initiative in place, all of us participating here found some level of reduction in frivolous email.
Jason: Anecdotal evidence showed me that after a week's vacation, my inbox was easily handled within a single day upon returning to the office, a feat unheard of prior to this effort. Most email seen is now in the form of automated notifications which I periodically disable as I add the corresponding wiki or discussion forum to my RSS Reader. All this allows for uncluttered, easy use of "good" email: private communications of confidential or sensitive nature.
Kelly: Success snuck up on me as well ... gradually more and more of the email I received was in the form of automated notifications, and only rarely does my email include slide decks or file attachments, which for me, is the biggest win of all. No more "mail jail"!!!! The volume of email I receive that needs to be processed IN MY INBOX is reduced to onsie-twosies. Everything else is handled in the right place .... Rational Team Concert for work items, commentary and documentation, Connections Communities for shared collaboration and knowledge sharing. Rational Asset Manager as our document repository. So guess what? I don't need to sit with my inbox open all day, addressing the deluge. How cool is THAT?
And lastly, what WERE our lessons learned from all this?
Jason: First and foremost, culture change is a long and difficult road fraught with speed-bumps around every turn. It is frustratingly slow and requires both a deep commitment and resilient spirit. Secondly: sometimes the right thing to do isn't the easiest. There is indeed an initial extra effort we need to take when trying to move conversations to the right tool, and this isn't always an easy task, but the benefits are readily seen once all participants in the conversation are on board.
Kelly: My biggest lesson learned ..... don't reply to email ..... rather, use your email to model the kind of collaborative habits and behavior you hope to see. If people send an email asking for information, DON'T JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION. Provide a link to where you've posted the answer/information for all to benefit from. Persevere in your efforts to work openly, transparently, and collaboratively .... it's the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do.
Shared knowledge is power!
Did you miss any of this blog series? Fret not, faithful readers, here is the complete topic list which you can also find via the woti tag:
You know the pain: You're on a team, likely in a support role covering the phones on shift work taking calls from clients. Or, perhaps you're on a project team, covering some critical piece of the puzzle, or waiting on a colleague to close out their piece so you can move forward... And your inboxes are bulging at the seams with both critical information as well as those "nice to know" status updates.
In so many cases, we all find ourselves under this barrage of status update emails, FYIs, and other important, yet immediately unnecessary and irrelevant messages. Do we need to know that you'll be off the phones for the next hour or two? Do we need to know you're working from home for half the day? Yes, we likely do. Do we need to know that information right now? No, we only "need to know" when we need to know, and likely will only care or even remember if the information gets to us right at the moment we need to know. Is an e-mail the best, most effective and efficient way to let people know? Likely not.
But what IS the better way? That answer, dear readers, all depends on your team. There is no single best practice or use case to follow here. Each team has differing needs and demands based on location, shift, task, or even management preferences. While I can't do anything for the last, perhaps there are some solutions to address the others which will in turn help convince management of better ways if that is a concern:
Instant messaging statuses: Judicious use of custom status settings here can do wonders to let your team know if you are available or not, on their time, when they need to know. Going off the phones for an hour? A simple Instant Messaging status noting "Off the phones to work a problem" will cover that info for those who need to know, and will be even more appreciated once you're back on the phones and your status has changed again. E-mails aren't the best for quickly changing statuses like these.
Lotus Connections Profile statuses: Working on a project and need help? Want to promote your work? Or out of the office for the day? Updating your Lotus Connections profile status can be a simple and easy way to let people know. This is a little heavier than an IM status, but still light enough and flexible enough to allow for quick updates for often changing statuses.
Intranet wiki page: Don't have Lotus Connections to provide robust profiles? Have no fear, there are surely wiki solutions already in place in your company, and if not, there are numerous open source solutions to host collaborative wiki pages. I'd recommend these for longer term status updates from daily to weekly as they relate to projects or other work. A table on a wiki page can be easily updated by the entire team depending on how work shifts, and updates can generate auto notifications to let you know when changes have been made... of course you'll probably want to follow those via RSS rather than e-mail
Shared Team Calendars: This one should be rather obvious, and easily implemented if you haven't already. If you're using Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook, you have team calendar functionality and should be using it. This, of course, is for more robust statuses, like days off for holiday or even illness, but shouldn't be overlooked for smaller time frames like meetings and and other time blockers. Smart use of calendaring for your team can not only provide quick views of current availability, but also provide higher level views into team dynamics and show ways to remove blockers as well.
And lets get even more provocative here... internal microblogging: Assuming you don't want to use external Twitter or Wordpress.com microblogging themes, there ARE internal solutions to microblogging which can be used for team updates. I know the fine folks over at Automattic.com (the crew who develop the WordPress blogging engine) use an internally hosted installation of Wordpress with a robust microblogging theme for their team updates with quite a bit of success! In IBM we even have our own microblogging platform which is available company wide and mimics Twitter in the following/follower and 140 character limit paradigms, perfect for quick status updates.
Of course, implementing a Lotus Connections installation in your corporate topology will allow for nearly all of these alternatives above to be implemented in fashions appropriate for your needs. Yes, I am a bit of a fan-boy convert to the Connections Communities after having used them for the past 4 years with varying degrees of success both as a community owner as well as simple user. I really can't recommend it more, and that's not because I'm an IBMer, I really do believe in the tool!
The real key to success for any of these 'alternatives' to e-mailing statuses, is simple agreement and definition of expectations. If the whole team agrees and expect statuses to be posted to a particular solution, and then of course follows up with actually DOING that, then a successful transition away from e-mail for these use cases will be successful, and provide immediate results.
Imagine my surprise when I came in to work Wednesday morning and saw the visit count on the prior day's post (Twenty seven new downloads now available!) showed over 800 visits! From my use of an exclamation point in that previous sentence, I'm sure you can discern that 800+ visits on a single post in 24 hours isn't typical for this blog, and is particularly high for what we'd consider normal levels of traffic.
This pleasant surprise got me to thinking: what specifically about that post resonated so greatly that warranted such a high visit rate?
We've posted technical content like this before with somewhat tepid results, and conversely we've posted op/ed type pieces with similarly high results, leading me to think that one type of content over the other isn't entirely the driver here. Perhaps it is the time it was posted, or perhaps the day it was posted? We HAVE seen posts made earlier in the day tend to see higher visit counts than posts made later in the day... and Tuesdays/Thursdays do tend to bubble up as higher traffic days as well.... but I still can't get away from the idea that I'm still missing something relating to the specifics of the content we are publishing out...
So I'm coming to you, our audience, to ask you to answer two very pointed questions:
What type of content really resonates with you; drives you to click through and visit this blog?
Has our content ever helped you resolve an issue with which you'd otherwise have opened a PMR to find help?
Helping us with these two questions will, of course, result in providing you with more focused content particular to what you find valuable and helpful!
And, in case you may feel a bit unintentionally duped by my title of this particular post, hoping to find even more downloads similar in fashion to the post referenced above, have no fear; here's a few more which hit our streams over the past two days:
IBM Rational Robot 220.127.116.11 - This document describes how to download and install IBM Rational Robot Versi... http://ow.ly/1dosGA
No, really, thank you! Your response to our survey request has been outstanding! We've been getting some -great- feedback via our Social Business survey; we're learning a lot, and we want to learn more!
Oh, but you say you haven't actually filled out our little 3 question survey? Well, you're in luck: you still have time to give us YOUR feedback too! It's just two quick questions to identify how you're connected to us and what value you see in our different channels, then an optional third question to provide free-text feedback if you so desire. (I'll tell you, we LOVE getting actionable comments from you!)
As Kelly noted in her post last week, it doesn't matter what WE think ... YOUR opinion is the only one that really counts!
This infocenter is under-development and includes the in-progress Help documentation for Rational Quality Manager, Rational Team Concert, and Rational Requirements Composer. You can review and add comments to each topic.You can provide feedback on help content easily using the commenting pane at the bottom of each help page.
Your effort helps improve overall documentation quality. This system is closely monitored by the writers responsible for the content, so don't be surprised if you see a follow-up reply from other members of the Rational documentation team or other people on something you've posted.
We'd love your feedback via our survey found here. Read on for a bit of background and explanation.
We launched our Twitter presence in April of last year, Facebook in November, and YouTube in December, with no other agenda than to share knowledge with you; to help you be successful with IBM Rational products.
We're sharing new and popular technotes, IBM Education Assistant modules, information regarding our electronic support tools and programs, pertinent developerWorks and jazz.net articles, how-to videos, webcast/open-mic schedules, and interviews with some of the many interesting people that make up our Rational Client Support teams.
We've been doing this all for a bit now, and would love to hear your feedback about how we're doing, as well as what improvements you may like! To that end, we have built out a short nine question survey to help you provide some quick, anonymous feedback. This survey shouldn't take you any more than 5-10 minutes of time, depending on how thorough you wish to be if you answer the two open text questions. Of course, you can always leave comments in our blog posts here as well!
This is a chance for you to help drive the future of Rational Support's social media initiatives; to have a voice about what changes we could make to help YOU see even more benefit from our social media channels!
Post upgrade of your CLM application you may come across the below error while trying to access any Project Areas in Rational Quality Manager.
The error occurs when QM is not deployed correctly which could be the result of an incomplete / improper upgrade process and when WebSphere cache was not cleaned prior to deploying 5.0.2 war file.
Checking the logs reveals the below error:
2015-07-14 11:16:53,549 [ WebContainer : 2] WARN ComponentVersionMismatch - CRJAZ1041I The component is installed in the database but is not present in the server: com.ibm.rqm.reporting
2015-07-14 11:16:55,077 [ WebContainer : 2] ERROR ompatibility.internal.JtsConfigurationStateService - CRJAZ2679E The JTS version could not be determined because the JTS rootservices document at "https://<FQDN>/jts/rootservices" could not be fetched or does not have an about services URI.
You may follow the below steps to redeploy QM:
1. Undeploy QM.war
2. Clean the WebSphere Cache by following these steps:
a) Stop the WebSphere service
b) Delete the files from the below locations:
4. Redo the group mapping in WebSphere by following the below steps:
Map security roles to a user or repository group:
a) Go to Applications > Application Types > WebSphere enterprise applications.
b) Click the jts_war application, and open it for editing.
c) In the Detail properties section, click Security role to user/group mapping.
d) Select a specific repository group, such as JazzAdmins or JazzUsers, and click Map groups. These repository groups are associated with every Jazz implementation and must be mapped to a particular group that contains the authorized users. If you are using LDAP, these groups must be set up on the LDAP server prior to completing this mapping. If you are mapping these repository groups to individual users, select the repository group and click Map Users.
e) Enter a search string to return your group names from the LDAP server. Click Search to run the query.
f) From the list of available groups that is returned, select the particular group and move it to the Selected column.
g) Click OK to map the LDAP groups to the Jazz repository groups.
h) Map the appropriate LDAP group for all Jazz repository groups:
For those of us in the Electronic Support arena, getting good actionable feedback in order to steer
or improve our offerings is more rare than I would like.
So we were thrilled to death to get the following piece of feedback from
a client on one of our IBM Education Assistant Modules (our UCM/ClearQuest IEA module) recently:
"In general, an AWESOME resource! This presentation,
had I known about it, could have accelerated my learning nine months
Hooray! EXACTLY what we hope to accomplish with these education modules.
We get two pieces of very important information from this feedback: 1) the content is relevant and good for our clients, and 2) there is an opportunity here to see what we can do to reduce the time to discovery.
We have numerous ways you can help us do a better job providing you the information you need to be sucessful with your products.
When you search for and find relevant content on our support pages, take a moment to Rate This Page. Did it give you the information you were looking for? Why or why not? Did it help you solve your issue? These are all important points we consider in determining the effectiveness of our support content.
Continue to leave comments on the IEA modules you view and let us know if they were helpful and/or how we could improve.
We ARE listening for your feedback.
(And of course, feel free to engage with us here, or on twitter (@rationalsupport))
The Rational Licensing Support Communityis a great place to find more information on all things related to Rational product licensing. From forums, to wikis, to blog posts, if you are a Rational Software client and you aren't part of this community, you are likely missing out on all the great information you need to be successful using your licenses.
Just late last week Jane Balin published a blog post asking for some feedback about how you're doing! Since the licensing community is designed to help you all with every aspect of your licensing needs, we want to make sure you're getting the content to help you succeed....
... Content like Jane's second post pointing to an article on the Jazz Deployment wiki that she wrote which describes in great details the license usage reports that can be created for the CLM products (RQM, RRC, RTC) with the Rational License Key Server Administation and Reporting Tool. Check it outtoday!
In IBM we know you likely have products across our expansive portfolio... and while we may be focused on Rational Support specifically here, we also recognize that you may also benefit from some of our counterparts across IBM support. To help you identify, follow, and engage with support across IBM, here are a few accounts you may not have known about:
So, there you go. More social resources for support in IBM than you can effectively shake a stick at. I'm sure not all will be relevant for everyone, but I do hope you will find added benefit from some of the additional accounts highlighted above. If you have, please don't forget to let us know; we all love feedback and consider your words one of the most valuable resources we have to help you find even more success!
"Report authors can access the Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) data warehouse via a Framework Manager (FM) model or access live data from the applications using reportable REST APIs. The application-based data dictionaries in this section show how elements in the FM model and in the REST API map to artifacts in CLM.
CLM includes a data warehouse, to which each of the CLM applications contribute data. The data dictionary topics in this section detail the relationship between application-specific data (physical data related to artifacts and other elements in CLM applications) and the related queries that need to be incorporated into a report so that the desired application data appears in the report ouput. When authoring reports, you can reference these mappings to determine which queries to use."
Our friends over at IBMJazz just published a new YouTube video on Jazz User Synchronization:
This video demonstrates how to configure user synchronization between Rational Team Concert, Rational Quality Manager, and a centralized Jazz Team Server. By configuring user synchronization in this manner, you can add a user to any of these applications and it will be automatically synchronized to the other applications. Note that this is a new feature that just became available with the Rational Workbench for Collaborative Lifecycle Management beta, available on Jazz.net; it is not available in currently released products.