Buyer's Guide
Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Suites
December 2022
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PM Systems Analyst at a insurance company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Simple and intuitive, useful for agile management, and helpful for planning based on our capacity and meeting our deadlines
Pros and Cons
  • "Every feature is valuable. LeanKit is a Kanban-based tool where you have a visual interface that you can use to create various cards and to create boards to house those cards. You can create a board for managing project work. You can create a board to do PI planning. It is pretty close to the agile way of doing business."
  • "Within the current features, if they can give some ability to show more icons on the card, it would be helpful. It would help us in showing more data on the cards."

What is our primary use case?

Predominantly, we are using LeanKit for our agile management. Basically, we are a PMO. We belong to the PMO organization within our company, and we deploy products that are used by our project management team. Typically, we use LeanKit for that purpose.

LeanKit is a SaaS application. They update the version, and everybody gets the same version, as far as I understand. I don't think we are going to be in a prior release and then jump into the new release. 

How has it helped my organization?

We have a monthly release cycle. Before using the LeanKit board, we used to use many other tools, and we always would see the crunch on the day we needed to release. Sometimes, our work would extend into overtime. We have also seen some of the features slip through the cracks in the sense that we would miss releasing them. It was, in a way, a bit chaotic. Once we started using LeanKit, we haven't missed a single feature from deployment. We are also able to better manage the capacity so that we're not over-booking ourselves for work where there is no capacity, and that has really helped. For over a year now, we have not missed any deadline.

It helps us not to over-promise. Basically, the motto we all have is "Under-promise, over-deliver." That's what it helps us do. So, we know what we plan to deliver, and we don't crush ourselves by promising beyond our capacity.

We use LeanKit's board and card hierarchies. We have an initiative board, which is basically a high-level board where any new projects that are coming into the pipeline, or basically into the backlog, will move from one lane into the other. This helps the scrum master in looking at how the projects are moving. We also have trial boards, where the stories, the features, and the tasks are managed. For example, if there are a couple of projects that are impacting a particular feature, then we can link those two projects to this feature so that we know which updates are impacting which projects or initiatives. This way, whoever is managing the projects will know the progress of work as well as the impact on those individual projects. So, it removes the risk of doing something that will impact some other project. These boards help us this way, and it is one of the many examples.

It provides a visual ability to look at the deadlines. When we use a card, we always have a scheduled finish date. As the date is approaching, the color of the date icon changes, so it has a visual way to say that we are nearing the finish date, which makes us take a look at it and check whether we can meet the deadline or not. So, as we are near a deadline, the date icon's color changes to yellow, and once we pass that date, it changes to red. When it is in yellow state, we do a deeper review of the card and see whether we are still okay or not, and most of the time, we are okay with those dates. If not, it helps us to replan and see where we go from there. This is absolutely helpful in project delivery. 

The main thing is that we know what's in the current sprint and what we have planned to deliver. We know what those dates are. All the deliverables are in front of our eyes in the form of cards, like a schedule. There are lines, dates, etc. We know who is working on what. We typically have a daily standup meeting in the morning in which we review the cards in the Develop lane. We have multiple processes, and in general, if somebody is working on a feature, we already know what is happening. We do a one-minute review of each card and look at it and say, "Hey. Are we still on target? Is there any issue that is stopping us from working on that feature or functionality?" That's basically what it is. So, we know whether we will make it or not. It basically gives us the flexibility to look at any risk to delivery beforehand, and that way, make adjustments so that we won't miss a delivery.

We use the Card Health feature, and we also use other reporting features on the card. Generally, we do a review on a daily basis where we are with things. We are a small team, and we know what's happening with each card and whether we are going to make it or not. So, we already know what's happening on each card, and typically, only when we are doing our sprint introspection, we go and take a look at the predictability aspects. We sometimes look at the predictability that a particular report is giving during the standup meetings, but usually, we review the Card Health information retrospectively to see whether we can make any improvements in the future so that it is much smoother.

The Card Health feature activity stream affects our project management and delivery, but we have always looked at this after the fact. We usually don't use that on a daily basis. However, we do look at every card every day so we know where it's going. We will get to know if there is any risk in delivering a certain feature. It takes our attention to those cards to say that there is something going on with it, and we need to look at it. It needs a different analysis.

The board analytics helps with the speed and looking at how we are doing. It helps us to see if we can accommodate additional features within the sprint. In case, we have everything on target, we can pull additional cards to work on them, and board analytics helps with this. It also tells us how we are doing and how we are estimating.

LeanKit has reduced our cycle times because as we finish the planned work, we now know if there is more room to do additional work. So, we have the ability to know how we are doing. In this sense, it has easily reduced 50% of cycle time.

What is most valuable?

Every feature is valuable. LeanKit is a Kanban-based tool where you have a visual interface that you can use to create various cards and to create boards to house those cards. You can create a board for managing project work. You can create a board to do PI planning. It is pretty close to the agile way of doing business.

The Board Layout Editor is excellent in terms of flexibility. They have been improving its usability. Their development is very much agile, so for any feedback that we give them, they let us know if and when they would act on our request for enhancements or change, and then they make those changes. They are responsive.

What needs improvement?

Within the current features, if they can give some ability to show more icons on the card, it would be helpful. It would help us in showing more data on the cards.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for close to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the last three years, I have only seen it once that LeanKit was not available. They had a technical glitch for about 10 to 15 minutes. That was the only time, and it was only for a brief duration. Otherwise, it has been pretty stable. I've not seen any issues with performance either.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very much scalable. We started with one board, and over time, we have transformed our work into multiple boards. We have links within each board. So, it is very flexible.

Currently, mostly the project management team uses it. We have about 20 users who are using LeanKit. We have analysts who do the development work, and we also have project managers and program managers who use it. We do plan to increase its usage in the coming years.

How are customer service and support?

I have not used their technical support for an issue. I have only used them when we needed to renew our secure certificate.

We've been using LeanKit for almost three years. In the beginning, we weren't much aware of it, but now, we are very much aware of it. The reason for not using their help is because we know how the application works. New people in our organization have to go through the videos that Planview has provided for LeanKit. We also give peer-to-peer training. So, in general, we all know this application because we've been using it for a while now.

LeanKit conducts a webinar every month. We attend those webinars so we know what the new features are. That webinar also shows how we all can use it. In a way, we are getting trained by attending those webinars.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before LeanKit, we were using Planview's Enterprise One application, but that application was more for the traditional way of project management, but of late, I feel it is gearing more towards agile. So, we've used that, but mostly, it used to be spreadsheets. We replaced spreadsheets with LeanKit, and the plan is that we're going to integrate Planview LeanKit and Jira. That's the future vision.

How was the initial setup?

It was very straightforward. LeanKit is a SaaS application, so implementation is mostly configuration. There is no on-prem option for LeanKit.

You buy the licenses, and Planview implements the space for you. They provide template boards that you can use to have a quick start, and then, you can modify them to fit your process, which makes it very simple. They have templates for various methodologies. They have a template for sales; they have a template for DevOps. There are quite a lot of templates. We picked their templates for PI planning, and it was very quick.

One of the main processes for its implementation is that you need to get all the security clearances and establish a single sign-on. Once the paperwork was complete, it took a week. We did have a strategy, and we went through that. So, basically, most of it was securing IT security clearances. Because this is a SaaS application, we needed to ensure that we comply with all the security requirements before we use the application. We had to ensure that we have non-disclosure agreements and business associate agreements with any company we do business with, so we had to get an agreement in place. After that, we bought the licenses that we wanted.

Once that was done, we had meetings with the Planview LeanKit team to set up a single sign-on. We didn't want to use a specific user ID password, so we discussed implementing that and the requirements associated with it. They worked with our IT infrastructure team to get the setup for single sign-on, and they had to do certain integrations with our other internal systems so that we had the ability to add users and manage users. We worked with Planview to get the single sign-on in place and set up all the certificates for a secure connection, and we got access.

We had already done prep work on how we planned to implement the boards and how we planned to do our work, so we started with it. Then over time, we have reformed our boards and the methodologies on implementing as we learn more and more to make our work efficient.

It doesn't require any maintenance. They update the version regularly. Sometimes, we can request to be added to some of the features that they have implemented so that we can do testing or something like that. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

As far as I understand, it is not an expensive application.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We already had Jira in our organization, so we looked at Jira. We decided to go with LeanKit because we were looking for a simple Kanban-based application. Because we had already used Planview's Enterprise One application, we thought we could try LeanKit and see how it works, and we have been with it for three years.

What other advice do I have?

I would highly recommend this solution to others. I would definitely ask others to take a look at the application and evaluate it. We have really benefited from it from the delivery perspective as well as from the perspective of planning the work. It is very simple and intuitive. It doesn't need too much training. Any new person who comes in can pick up the features and start using it very easily.

The LeanKit team has been adding new features, which is another good aspect. They have very recently introduced KPIs, which is where the industry is going. We hear a lot about it. Even our organization is talking about KPIs. LeanKit is very responsive to any feature requests that we provide.

We have Jira in our organization but not in our team. We have only been using LeanKit. We don't use its integration with Jira at all, but we do have plans for that.

I would want to rate it a 10 out of 10, but I won't because there is always room for improvement. So, overall, when compared to all Kanban-based tools, I would rate LeanKit a nine out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Assurance Manager at a energy/utilities company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Robust functionality, good integration, continually enhanced, and easy to scale
Pros and Cons
  • "They have been lately adding features to the services on a regular basis. Every two weeks, they are adding functionality to Azure DevOps Services to match it with what Azure DevOps Server or on-prem would offer. So, we continue to get more robust functionality. My favorite right now is that they are starting to open up the API availability within Azure DevOps Services. Another thing that I like about Azure DevOps is that you can use it with any of the products that are on the market. You can integrate it with Jenkins and other open-source products to complete that fully functional CI, CD, CT, CM, and CS pipeline. It continues to enhance."
  • "We are currently in the process of moving all of our on-prem to the cloud platform. We are trying to make that move and host the majority of our DevOps services in the cloud because the cloud is where most of the things are going nowadays. However, the process of this transfer is not straightforward, and it could be a lot easier. Microsoft hasn't provided the maturity for migration tools. It could be a lot easier in that respect. I want to see them continue to advance the API capabilities. They could add some more robust functionality to the administrative layer within ADO services. There are a lot of configuration elements that you need to take care of at the organization level and the project configuration level from an administrative capacity. When you're dealing with process templates and things of that nature, you have to do them all manually. Being able to automate some of that using scripts or API functionality would be really nice."

What is our primary use case?

We're doing a full continuous integration (CI), continuous delivery (CD), continuous testing (CT), security, delivery, and monitoring.

We're currently using TFS 2013, TFS 2017, Azure DevOps Server 2019 update one, and Azure DevOps services, which is the SaaS cloud platform. I manage all of these.

It is deployed on Azure DevOps Server and Azure Services' private cloud.

What is most valuable?

They have been lately adding features to the services on a regular basis. Every two weeks, they are adding functionality to Azure DevOps Services to match it with what Azure DevOps Server or on-prem would offer. So, we continue to get more robust functionality.

My favorite right now is that they are starting to open up the API availability within Azure DevOps Services. 

Another thing that I like about Azure DevOps is that you can use it with any of the products that are on the market. You can integrate it with Jenkins and other open-source products to complete that fully functional CI, CD, CT, CM, and CS pipeline. It continues to enhance. 

What needs improvement?

We are currently in the process of moving all of our on-prem to the cloud platform. We are trying to make that move and host the majority of our DevOps services in the cloud because the cloud is where most of the things are going nowadays. However, the process of this transfer is not straightforward, and it could be a lot easier. Microsoft hasn't provided the maturity for migration tools. It could be a lot easier in that respect.

I want to see them continue to advance the API capabilities. They could add some more robust functionality to the administrative layer within ADO services. There are a lot of configuration elements that you need to take care of at the organization level and the project configuration level from an administrative capacity. When you're dealing with process templates and things of that nature, you have to do them all manually. Being able to automate some of that using scripts or API functionality would be really nice.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for about nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has actually been pretty stable. Some of the early gen ones were not so stable. Before Microsoft started communicating with the end-users, they would make changes in the middle of the workday, which was a bit frustrating because things would change, which would impact the end customers because they weren't expecting that change. Microsoft wouldn't communicate with tenant administrators and tenant owners, but now, Microsoft has gotten a lot better about articulating their roadmap and communicating when those kinds of changes are coming down the pipeline. We are now able to communicate that out to our tenants and the end-users working within our projects. There is a lot better communication in that respect, which makes it easier for us to make customers aware of what might be coming, what is going to cause changes for them, what are the timeframes in which those things are going to hit their views, and what to expect from those things and additional functionalities.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For the cloud, it has been really good. For on-prem too, it is easy enough to scale out. TFS also has always been pretty easy to scale out.

In terms of the number of users, currently, we're in a transition because we were just acquired by another company. So, we're leaving our parent company, and we're going to a new company. The numbers that I have are in flux. Our current numbers are at about 600 for just our existing or old company. I've been asked to stop onboarding my users and projects until we move our current organization into our new operational tenant in the new company, but I'm projecting that we'll have between 2,000 to 4,000 people.

How are customer service and technical support?

I use it all the time. They're very good when you get to the right queue. So, when it is working, it is great. I would rate them a nine and a half out of ten because I always think people have room for improvement, but they've been very good and supportive.

It works great for us especially now because we've kind of been divested from our old company to our new company. When we were with our old company, it was a little bit mired because of the way our enterprise architecture was. My requests didn't go to a North American team. It went to an EU team, and then I had to work within EU hours to get support, whereas I am in North America. That was a little tricky. Our old parent company was parented in the UK, Ireland, and Scotland.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I've used other solutions in tandem, and I have been an administrator for them. For example, I've used Jira and Confluence products, which is Atlassian. I've also used Remedy, but I'm not sure if they're still in the project management. I have also managed HP Performance Center and Tricentis. I've actually been administrating these for the last two years for this company.

I also use UCD, which is another very similar product. It does a lot of the same things and is also agnostic, just like Azure DevOps. You can use both of these with any of the products that are on the market.  

How was the initial setup?

It is pretty straightforward on the administrative side, but I've been working with this technology for a long time. It really falls in line with the majority of Microsoft products. If you're familiar with the Microsoft stack, it follows their pretty standard setup. You go through a similar process. It is just about knowing the nuances that Microsoft has when you're doing a farm configuration or a farm setup and the recommended prerequisites before you get started.

If we're talking about new end-users who are going from an older version of TFS to Azure DevOps Server or Azure DevOps Services, there is going to be a bit of a delta because the technology is different. There is a slight learning curve. Of course, it has got fancier bells and whistles and a jazzier user interface. It has softer edges and things have moved from left to right. Things that you found on the left side have again moved back over to the right side for administrative or usability functions. Your security elements and the things that you used to see on the left side have again switched back to the right side. These are the kinds of nuances about which you would need to educate your end-users. You need to get them used to the boards and how to use those. If your company is transitioning from a CMI model to an Agile model, it is going to be very important for the folks who are administrating your projects and your project managers to know how to configure the projects themselves, how to use Teams, and how to use permissions. Security becomes even more important because a lot of that really influences how you see the information within your project, and how you manage your boards, your sprints, and the work items that you allocate to your scrums or sprint users.

As you're going through different stages of your project, you have your pipelines and repos where your more development-centric users are going to be. I try to allocate out two different kinds of users that we're going to have and target them when I'm educating my folks. You have a kind of power user, and you have your regular contributor user. It is important to make this distinction because there are folks who are going to be doing basic or just regular contributor work. They will just contribute to the work items that are on a board or within a sprint. You're also going to have users who need to be slightly elevated, which is going to be that basic plus test plan. You need to understand how those affect your subscription and billing towards that subscription and how to manage that when they're not actively using it. You need to monitor this and enroll them back to a stakeholder so that you're not constantly incurring costs against your pay-as-you-go subscription costs. Everything is pay-as-you-go once you get into the cloud.

What other advice do I have?

I would ask those who are looking into implementing Microsoft Azure DevOps if they are already on the Microsoft stack of products. If they are, I would highly recommend them to use Azure DevOps Services or Azure DevOps, because they're already paying for that as part of their E-agreement. So, they should take full advantage of that because it is part of their licensing agreements. They should exploit what they're paying for because they are already paying a lot of money for Microsoft products.

Both UCD and ADO are the best products in the current DevOps space right now. They're both agnostic, and you can plug and play and integrate them with the majority of the tools in the market. You can integrate them with Jenkins and other open-source products, and open-source is where everything is going when you move to the cloud. Having that flexibility and viability within your company and business, no matter whether you're a small or large company, is a huge benefit. That will allow you to be flexible and deliver to on-prem or container.

Microsoft is extremely flexible, and they are listening to feedback and hearing what customers are saying. I've worked with Microsoft for almost 20 years now, but I took kind of a two-year sabbatical. Most of that time, I was developing out their SharePoint Online O365 platform. I stepped away for two years and then I transitioned over to DevOps because they really weren't taking feedback that was being provided by customers, and they were ignoring the customer experience, but their new CEO has kind of refocused Microsoft's outlook on the customer experience and is putting the priority back where it needs to be. They're doing a much better job in terms of incorporating feedback. They're continuing to advance and advent their product, and they are keeping ahead of and staying in touch with what technology is doing from a CI/CD pipeline perspective. This is why I am looking forward to continuing to use them.

I would rate Microsoft Azure DevOps a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
IT Project Manager at Orange España
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
A collaborative and customizable solution for managing your projects and day-to-day work
Pros and Cons
  • "It simplifies the management of our day-to-day work and brings all our processes into a single place where we can plan our activities, monitor them, and take any actions accordingly."
  • "An area of improvement is customer support and services. Sometimes, the issue reported is not resolved within a specific timeframe, and the technical consultants who are approached for the requirement finalization can be better in terms of understanding the requirements. Sometimes, there is a gap in understanding the requirements. Other than that, the solution is fine."

What is our primary use case?

It is a perfect solution for our day-to-day work and process management. 

It is on the cloud. It is in Amazon AWS, but we are currently in the pipeline to get it migrated to Azure. In terms of the version, it is a managed solution, and the last upgrade was probably in the year 2019.

How has it helped my organization?

It simplifies the management of our day-to-day work and brings all our processes into a single place where we can plan our activities, monitor them, and take any actions accordingly.

It is helpful for detailed implementation plans for our projects. It helps us to schedule our tasks, work, and processes in a single platform, and we can collaborate with our teams spread across the globe. We all can directly use this platform for the tasks assigned. It is very comfortable to use for all the teams.

Previously, we didn't have any similar method in our organization to monitor and track our workflows and activities. Planview Projectplace helps us to monitor our processes and track them in a very efficient way. Our organization has benefited from this solution because everything is unified. When a senior stakeholder or senior management asks about the progress or status of any project, we can easily give that information.

It is helpful for tracking our work details and completion milestones. After requirement analysis and defining a project, we can track that project. We can see the overall status and whether it is in LB or NLB state. It helps us with the agile methodology where at any time, we can track the progress that we have made. We can see the flag areas and flag any issues related to a project to the senior management, such as any pending finance or technical approvals. It is very easy to track everything from a single location. By using the dashboard, we can easily track and highlight things to senior management. We can also collaborate with the team about the status of a particular work item.

It is a perfect collaboration tool. During the pandemic, many team members were working remotely, and it made it very easy for us to work together. We have sprint meetings with the developers and the product engineering teams every morning. We have defined tasks and subtasks in the platform, and we can monitor those tasks. We have defined the credentials for each team member associated with our project so that they can log in to the system and work accordingly.

The overall visibility provided by this solution into project status is good and as expected. All our requirements for project management are completely fulfilled by this solution. Because everything is unified, the visibility is good. The dashboard provides the unique visibility of all the processes and tasks. All the details are available with a single click. Everything is fine. We haven't faced any issues. 

It has inbuilt features to enable us to monitor any team's or team members' task and progress. If any team member is not available, we can easily assign that task to other team members. It is very easy, and its drag-and-drop features make it very unique.

It has the Kanban board and the Gantt chart facility. The Gantt chart facility allows us to define the milestones for our project and divide them on a quarterly, monthly, and weekly basis. We can easily divide our project into subtasks, and subtasks are divided into timelines. We easily track the timelines through the Gantt chart within Planview.

We are able to monitor the progress of our team, and it is not very difficult to monitor the progress of diverse stakeholders. Planview is a complete project management and tracking solution through which we and our stakeholders can monitor the progress at any time.

There is an independent reporting module within the application. All the tasks and project management activities can be pulled into reports. We can even filter them out based on the status, such as pending, completed, on hold, or in progress, and provide the report accordingly. Report customization is excellent in this solution.

It allows us to track project costs. Every project has a cost, such as an infrastructure cost, computing cost, cloud computing cost, and team management and outsourcing cost. We have different tasks and subtasks. We can easily identify the estimated, predicted, or approved cost. It is very clear for us to identify the cost within a project.

Its time-tracking and reporting features are useful for work done by a project’s team members. It has revealed or helped to reduce revenue leakage in a project because all the information related to cost, budget, and timelines is put into the project. It provides all the details.

It is very good for resource allocation and tracking. We have a large team of database developers, application developers, and the engineering team. We can allocate tasks for every resource on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. We can monitor the resource allocation, and if, for example, a resource is not available for the next seven days, we can assign the tasks assigned to that resource to another resource.

It dynamically updates schedules as progress is made. All the schedules are automatically updated by the solution. All the updates and upgrades are taken care of by Planview. No manual process is required.

What is most valuable?

All the features are perfectly fine, but the main feature is that Projectplace has the functionality of Kanban board/Scrum board. So, you can monitor all your progress in a single place. You can monitor the activities given to the agile team, the agile processes that are followed, the activities in the backlog, and the activities that need to be done on priority. You can set the priorities, and, accordingly, you can monitor and track them. It is beneficial for day-to-day work.

Another important feature is that its graphical user interface is fantastic. Its GUI is very good, and it is very easy to learn and work with. It does require some formal training, but after a few initial weeks, you get a hang of the solution.

It is a customizable solution. You can provide your requirements to them, and their technical consultants can help you according to your requirements. Its customization is very easy. Overall, it provides a great return on the investment.

What needs improvement?

Its pricing plan should be improved. Midsize or small companies might be unable to afford it because of its pricing plans. They usually have a limited budget.

Another area of improvement is customer support and services. Sometimes, the issue reported is not resolved within a specific timeframe, and the technical consultants who are approached for the requirement finalization can be better in terms of understanding the requirements. Sometimes, there is a gap in understanding the requirements. Other than that, the solution is fine.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for more than two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability is good because all the time, updates and upgrades are provided. We have not identified any bugs. It is being used by the whole organization across the globe, and it is quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. It is being used by more than 50 people, which includes senior stakeholders at CTO/CEO level, technical people such as developers and engineers, and non-technical people from the marketing department.

We are using it on a day-to-day basis. We are weekly performing milestone and delivery activities.

How are customer service and support?

Customer support is provided by the company according to the licenses. I would rate them an eight out of ten because sometimes, there is a delay in resolving the issue, and there is also a gap in understanding the initial requirements by their staff.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using Microsoft Project on an offline basis. Since the pandemic, there has been a need to work remotely. We observed a requirement to be on the cloud, and therefore, we moved to Planview Projectplace.

Microsoft Project is a very good solution, but because it was available offline, it was not of much use because offline is offline. We have to email every time for the team to collaborate. When things are on the cloud, you can collaborate easily. We just need a credential to log in to that application, and that's it.

Planview and Microsoft Project are different, and you can't compare oranges with apples. Both solutions are excellent in their own way, but I would rate project Planview higher because there are some advancements in the solution, and it allows collaboration with the team. Having the project management solution on the cloud is more beneficial rather than having it offline.

How was the initial setup?

It is straightforward. Because it is cloud-based, we didn't find any complexity. It was completely developed as per our requirements. It took us 15 to 30 days.

What about the implementation team?

We worked with the vendor for its implementation. For its deployment and maintenance, not so much staff is required. All the things are provided by the company itself because we pay for that. No efforts are required from our end.

What was our ROI?

It gives clear visibility of your projects and tasks. So, there is always a positive return on investment for any organization. Any solution that provides clear visibility on the projects, timelines, and status, and enables you to do reporting is a good investment.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Its pricing plan should be improved. It could be expensive for midsize or small companies. There are no additional costs, but it would be great if you can negotiate or confirm the price during the requirement analysis phase.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Atlassian Jira for project management, and there were also some offline, open-source tools.

What other advice do I have?

It is a great solution if any organization has the budget to implement it. It is good, and any organization adopting this solution will always benefit from it. I would highly recommend this solution to any prospective buyer or company. 

I would rate it a nine out of ten. Apart from the technical support and the pricing plan, everything is good. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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Stefan Berchtold - PeerSpot reviewer
Release Management and Testing Manager at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Enables us to produce standardized reports, on a project basis, with one click
Pros and Cons
  • "On the user side, what I like a lot is the reporting capabilities. There's no tool, to my knowledge, that gets anywhere close to Octane at the moment when it comes to the reporting capabilities. I can do everything with the reporting. There's nothing missing. I have all the options. I can create graphs, including graphs of several types and looks."
  • "Updating items, sorting, bulk updates—these things could have a bit more flexibility, but it's still possible to do them."

What is our primary use case?

Our use cases are test management, defect management, and release management. We also do quality management and we have started to put our Agile journey on it. That is something we started at the end of last year. We're putting more and more on it. We're doing Agile delivery and Waterfall delivery with it.

How has it helped my organization?

It provides us with a single platform for automated testing. We've integrated our automation testing with Jenkins to the pipeline module—parts of it, at least—and the other part is connected through the API. It makes the test you're executing very visible. It also enables you to centralize. When we report on a project basis, we're able to do it in one click for a given project. The graphs are standard for all the projects. You just click and you always have the same set of reports, tailored to that project. It fetches the data from that project. I don't need to click five times to find my report. I just click to the next project and my report is there with all the needed information in one view. 

That's what my release manager also loves about it. He doesn't have to click 10 links or 10 drop-downs to get a report. It really has it all together in one view. If we have a release we report it on a project basis, and we can also report on an overall release basis. The overall reports are also done with one click.

In addition, we use the solution’s Backlog and Team Backlog capabilities and the team is very much working together there, from the developers to the testers to the product managers. They're all working together in one space or one Backlog to deliver the functionalities or the features. This is a good thing.

Octane has also reduced manual testing time. We integrated a big part of the regression sets into the pipeline. There's room for much more. We've only scratched the surface.

And using it, we have been able to streamline a lot on the business side. We have business testing or acceptance testing, and for them it's less complicated and there is less effort needed to get their stuff done. It has reduced the cycle times which, in the end, reduces cost.

What is most valuable?

On the user side, what I like a lot is the reporting capabilities. There's no tool, to my knowledge, that gets anywhere close to Octane at the moment when it comes to the reporting capabilities. I can do everything with the reporting. There's nothing missing. I have all the options. I can create graphs, including graphs of several types and looks.

Octane provides out-of-the-box integrations to proprietary, third-party, and open source tools. The integrations are of high quality because we were easily able to integrate Jira with an additional tool. That connector tool is out-of-the-box and it's very easy to handle. We also integrated one of our in-house developed applications that has a rollout tool. The person responsible did it in one or two days with API connections. It was very easy for him. In addition, we integrated Confluence with Octane, using a self-developed script that is also based on the APIs. For people who know APIs it's very easy. 

Octane's Agile support at the team level is pretty good because it's very visible. The sorting and filtering are very advanced, which is something I miss on Jira.

What needs improvement?

There aren't major things that need improvement. It's more detailed things, minor tweaks and improvements. For example, updating items, sorting, bulk updates—these things could have a bit more flexibility, but it's still possible to do them. 

Also, for training, the proposed graphs in the dashboards could have some more explanation about what they're doing because not everyone is using the same metrics. This is more a training or knowledge thing, not a lack in the tool, and I already addressed it with my Micro Focus contact.

They improved some of the things I had on my list in the newest version. I haven't dug through the newest version fully yet.

For how long have I used the solution?

We started to evaluate Micro Focus ALM Octane at the end of 2019. We did the kickoff in January of 2020 to plan all the migrations to it. We came from ALM QC.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. We had one issue that was due to a faulty, outdated script that overloaded the system somehow. Apart from that, Octane is as stable as it gets. We haven't had any downtime apart from that outdated script.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good. Depending on the severity of your ticket, the feedback is almost immediate. And we can collaborate with them, show screens and share logs, and they come back with a solution. It has been a positive experience.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our previous solution, ALM QC, was outdated. Our company started our Agile journey and we needed to be able to support that journey and the Waterfall journey as well. Octane offered this hybrid model which was the clear selling point for it.

The native support for Waterfall and Agile software development was very important in our decision to go with the solution because we knew that Waterfall and Agile will co-exist for quite some time, and the tool had to be able to manage both in parallel. Also, for the future, it will still support what we want. If the shift goes more to Agile and less to Waterfall, the tool still has to support both of the methodologies.

How was the initial setup?

Because we came from ALM QC, and that tool was in use for quite some time, there were a lot of user-defined things and customization. Initially what we had to do was a cleanup on the QC side: what we wanted to take over and what we didn't want to take over. We really cleaned out stuff that wasn't needed anymore. That took one or two months. 

The actual installation of Octane was very quick and straightforward. The customization and configuration of Octane took about two months. That was because we were very new to the application. If I set up a workspace now, it's much faster.

We have 1,100 users and their roles are really across the company. We have project managers, developers, testers, release managers, and test managers. We also have business users and product managers on the Agile side. Any role you could think of is using it, apart from the C-level.

What I like a lot about Octane is that it's very easy to handle from an admin point of view. The maintenance is very low compared with ALM QC where it took several hours or days, even, to set it up and upgrade it. Those processes are very easy with Octane.

What was our ROI?

I compare it, still, with ALM QC, and there's definitely a return on investment on it. I see this leveraging more in the future.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The comparison is always with Jira, so the pricing of Octane is a bit on the higher side. But if you look at what you have to add to Jira, on the plug-in side, to have the same abilities you have with Octane, you're more or less even, or even ahead with Octane.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We only looked at Jira. We had some concerns about its reporting capabilities and its task management capabilities, as well as managing Waterfall and Agile in parallel.

What other advice do I have?

You definitely need to prepare well, if you're going to implement it. Do a proper analysis of where you're coming from and what is still needed and what is not needed, and really kick out stuff that isn't needed anymore. It will make the whole migration to Octane easier when you have less historical data in it.

I see that our users like to add things and try new things because it's built in an open manner. When you add Python scripts and use the API connection, you have a lot of flexibility for doing certain things. I see some developers who like it and who like to experiment with how to work better on their side.

We have started a PoC on integrating the solution with our CI server for continuous integration and delivery. The CI/CD is working and we're fine-tuning it now. I hope it will give us a one-click approach where we can even execute the pipeline from the GUI, which will make it easy to use. My vision is that we have all the pipelines integrated in Octane and that we can trigger them from there to speed things up and have them visible for developers and for testers. This would also be a way they could collaborate more. We're not there yet. 

It has the potential to reduce integration costs by building a streamlined application delivery pipeline that is connected to all IDE, CI, and SCCM tools.

Octane can also provide a single, global ALM platform that supports all our Agile and Waterfall needs. We don't have all our Agile in yet, but it can. That's the vision: that we have them all in one tool. We're not there yet, but I see glimpses of hope. It has the potential to improve the quality and the speed. The potential is there.

It still has upside coming. Things are being developed. We are in the preferred partner program, so we see also the new features that are coming, which will facilitate daily work.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
IT Project Manager at Orange España
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
It has a slick dashboard view, so you can analyze all your progress from a single place
Pros and Cons
  • "It has a nice dashboard view, so you can analyze the progress on a project from a single place. It provides a nice graphical representation of all the project management with visualizations of Gantt chart and customized reports. You can easily track all your progress on project tasks and flag any issues."
  • "PPM Pro requires a great deal of internet bandwidth because it's a cloud-based solution. This can present a problem if a team member is working in a remote area where they can't access high-speed internet or experience outages. They may face challenges logging in or updating tasks. If the internet connection is inadequate, it may not sync with the solution."

What is our primary use case?

We use PPM Pro for project team collaboration, budget management, overall project management, and portfolio analysis. Internally, it has facilitated our security transition because it helps us manage our endpoint protection project management, ensuring the security availability, confidentiality, and privacy of the project we are working on. PPM Pro enables collaboration among team members, which is essential for us because we have large teams based in different locations. 

We are using PPM Pro daily across the entire organization. There are about 150 users with various roles and responsibilities, including developers, consultants, testers, product engineering, consulting, marketing, and sales. We plan to expand usage in the future. 

How has it helped my organization?

We are now able to track all project management activities across teams. Before implementing PPM Pro, we couldn't do so because every team is diverse and spread out across different geographic locations, so collaboration was quite a challenge for us. 

Also, it's much easier to report on and analyze data. Other things like portfolio analysis reporting and budget analysis have proven useful. It's an all-in-one solution for project management.

Previously, we had no project management solution, so everything was done manually in Microsoft Excel and other tools that didn't allow the same level of collaboration among the team members. It was frustrating to send an attachment with the Excel spreadsheet to every team member each day, and then they had to update the spreadsheet and send it back to us. It was a mess. 

PPM Pro has reduced project delays by about 65 percent because it provides us with all the necessary information to keep projects on track. Avoiding delays is the primary purpose of any project management solution. If you don't have a solution, it creates inefficiency because you have no idea which team resources are unavailable for a given day. 

For every project, we have to establish timelines, set deadlines, and estimate the completion date of a particular task. PPM Pro notifies us if we are approaching the deadlines, and we can customize this to give notice two or three days in advance. It also gives us a better understanding of how long each process takes. For example, if we create five tasks, we will set the timelines for each task and get proper notifications.

What is most valuable?

PPM Pro is based on ITIL methodologies, so it is useful in our day-to-day work for developing timelines for our project management activities. It gives a clear picture of the progress and status reporting for our senior stakeholders at any point in time. 

It has a nice dashboard view, so you can analyze the progress of a project from a single place. It provides a nice graphical representation of all the project management with visualizations of Gantt charts and customized reports. You can easily track all your progress on project tasks and flag any issues. 

PPM Pro comes with various project templates, and you can create your own templates based on your requirements, so you can use them for all your project management activities. If you're using readymade templates, it is quite easy to create new project management activities. But if you have special needs and the template doesn't fit your requirements, you can create your own templates and share them with the team members and stakeholders. It's a straightforward process.

The team collaboration features are perfect. Building a team for a project is also smooth because we have sets of credentials for every team member, so they can easily log into the application and start using it because we have assigned project and sub-project tasks to various team members, like development, engineering, product, data analytics, sales, marketing, and consulting. They can use the solution anywhere at any time and plan their work accordingly. The level of visibility PPM Pro provides comes in handy in our day-to-day work because everything is moving to the cloud. More people are working remotely or doing hybrid work in the office. It gives them the flexibility to use the product from anywhere.

It is used by developers, junior developers, testers, marketing staff, etc., and we have a repository of all the contact details for each resource. We can easily track or easily reach team members when any requirements change. So it is quite efficient and quite easy.

The time-tracking capabilities are also excellent. We haven't experienced a single issue while developing timelines and the Gantt chart for each project. It has a nice notification system that informs us when we are approaching the deadline for a project or task, so we can update the senior stakeholders.

What needs improvement?

PPM Pro requires a great deal of internet bandwidth because it's a cloud-based solution. This can present a problem if a team member is working in a remote area where they can't access high-speed Internet or experience outages. They may face challenges logging in or updating tasks. If the Internet connection is inadequate, it may not sync with the solution. 

If the Internet is not working, the user's work should be saved in a cache within the solution, and it should sync automatically once Internet connectivity has been restored. For example, if you are a remote user updating your details you click the "save" button, and the changes are not synced with that application because of an Internet outage. The changes are submitted, but it is not synced with the application. Once the connectivity returns, the changes that you have submitted should automatically be synced with that application so other users or the project manager can see the updated details.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using PPM Pro for more than two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

PPM Pro's performance is good. We've had no issues. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The biggest advantage of any cloud solution is scalability. 

How are customer service and support?

I rate Planview support a nine out of ten, but response times have room for improvement. When a user has questions, the customer service agents sometimes take 24 to 48 hours to respond.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used Microsoft Project, but it is an offline solution that's packaged with Microsoft Office. We also used Jira, but it is limited to 10 users on the free license, so it doesn't fit our purposes. 

How was the initial setup?

Setting up PPM Pro was straightforward because it's a cloud-based solution. You don't need to install any software. You only need to log into the URL and start working using your credentials. 

Total deployment took one month because it required a series of discussions with Planview's consulting team to finalize the product and determine whether it met our requirements. After deployment, there isn't any maintenance because it is a cloud-based solution that the vendor fully manages. We don't need to worry about patching and updating software.

What about the implementation team?

We did the deployment in-house.

What was our ROI?

We've seen an ROI because we were missing deadlines when we didn't have a solution. We failed to meet our client's expectations because of these delays. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing model is simple. Planview has plans at different levels, so you can pick one according to your budget and user base. They also have customized plans.

However, there are some limitations. Many small or medium-sized organizations can't afford subscription plans. It would be nice if they had a flexible subscription plan tailored to smaller businesses. Larger organizations have a designated budget for such solutions, but SMEs may not have room in their budget for this. It is costly because the subscription is based on the number of users. Planview should create another subscription tier that small businesses can afford. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Jira, Primavera, and some open-source tools. PPM Pro had all the features we needed, and it got lots of positive user reviews. 

What other advice do I have?

I rate Planview PPM Pro a nine out of ten. It is a comprehensive, all-in-one solution for project management that allows you to track, monitor, and plan your strategic decisions effortlessly. Your senior management will be impressed by its capabilities, so I highly recommend it. 

It is a highly secure, reliable, and scalable solution that never lets you down. The licensing model is flexible, and Planview's consulting team and solution architects are impressive. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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Buyer's Guide
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December 2022
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