Rally vs. Scrumworks

My first impression is that these are two applications that have come from very different backgrounds. ScrumWorks started off as a java based desktop application. Rally is based on an ASP model where the application and data are all hosted at a remote site. Both applications have grown their feature sets over the last two years with what appears to be 2 different objectives in mind. Rally has taken the approach of adapting to a wide range of customer needs, both Agile and traditional. Their goal seems to be to reach the high end customer and integrate with existing high end systems on the market. Their feature set is very broad and has been adapted to fit in a variety of different scenarios. In addition, Rally has also significantly beefed up their integration support in the last two years. There is no doubt in my mind that when it comes to integration and customization, Rally is the clear winner.

ScrumWorks, on the other hand, has kept focused on a goal of serving just the Scrum and XP community. As a result, they have a much narrower feature set that is easier for the typical Agile team to understand. This is just speculation on my part, but I think it doesn’t require as much training to use ScrumWorks. I would describe the ScrumWorks product as more fit for a specific use – in this case for Scrum and XP projects.

In general, when it comes to ease of use, ScrumWorks benefits from the fact that it has a thick client that can take advantage of OS features that web based applications can’t do quite as easily (Drag and Drop, etc.). So in terms of usability, ScrumWorks is currently the clear winner. However, Rally is not resting on their laurels, and they are implementing new usability enhancements that will quickly come to rival those of ScrumWorks in short order.

When we look at reporting functionality, ScrumWorks comes out ahead. ScrumWorks has a custom report generator utility that allows you to create your own customized reports. All of Rally’s reports are fixed and can’t be changed or added to. Once again, Rally is acutely aware of this issue and not likely to let it rest for long.

Cross Team & Program Management – Both products claim to have some cross team and program management features. Neither product really possesses a strong feature set in this domain. Rally defines a program as a combination of a specified product and a specified release – a very loose definition. ScrumWorks uses a separate mechanism that is completely orthogonal to the Stories and releases – instead you can create arbitrary groupings of features which can represent programs. This is a more flexible approach, but it still doesn’t provide the financial tracking features that I would expect from a full fledged portfolio management tool.

Detailed Feature Comparison

Feature

Rally

ScrumWorks Pro

Desktop (Fat) Client

No

Yes

Web (Thin) Client

Yes

Yes – Not all desktop features are available on the web client

Local Database

No – hosted by a 3rd party

Yes – Built into the default installation

Impediments Log

No

Yes – Tracks dates, resolution, and responsibility

Records blocking issues

Yes

Yes

Burn Down Charts

Yes – Sprint Burndown/Cumulative flow, Release burndown/cumulative flow, Bug & Test Tracking

Yes – Mike Cohn style ‘enhanced burndown’, Sprint & Release burndown

Customized Reports

No

Yes – Customizable report builder GUI

ROI and EVA

No

Yes

Time Tracking

Yes – optional

Yes – optional, but supported with custom reports

Supported Object Types

Release, Sprint, Story, Task, Test, Program, Defect, Defect Suite

Release, Sprint, Story, Task, Theme, Program

Supported Methodologies

RUP, Scrum, XP

Scrum, XP

Drag n’ Drop UI

Limited to certain screens

Used almost universally

Hierarchical Relationships

Yes

No – Uses themes instead

Built in collaboration features

Yes – Wiki & IM integration

No

Test management

Yes

No

Defect management

Yes

No

Program Management Features

Release Status – not really configurable

Release Status + configurable feature sets, Good cross product functionality

Sprint Task Tracking

Yes

Yes – nice web based task board UI

Assign Business Value

No

Yes

Product and Role based permissions

Yes

Yes

LDAP Integration

No

Yes

Import/Export

Yes – Excel, XML

Yes – Excel

Supports Use Cases/Non-functional requirements

Yes

No

Notifications

Yes – RSS, email

No

Detailed Change History

Yes

No – very superficial

Product Integration

Eclipse, Mercury, Salesforce, Bugzilla

Bugzilla, JIRA

Pricing

$65/person/month

$249/person/year ($21/month)

Admin functions

User accounts, Roles, Custom features, Workspace management

User accounts, Roles

Hardware Requirements

None – externally hosted

Server must be allocated for clients & web app to connect with

Frequency of Updates

Quarterly

Quarterly

Built-in Support for pairing time management

No

Yes – There are “Team hours” and “individual hours”

Usability for teams

OK, some complain of delays and there are complaints about charts

Good, The thick client offers more natural DnD style of interface – good web interface for task board – natural for teams to adopt

Multiple Teams/Common Backlog

Possible, but awkward

Pretty well thought out

Support

Online, Forums, Coaching, Training

Online, Forums

Integration Technical Options

REST, SOAP, Others

SOAP

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16 Responses to Rally vs. Scrumworks

  1. Hello Tom!

    Thanks for this evaluation.

    Hope all is well!

    Best regards,
    Laszlo

  2. Dan Greening says:

    I think I agree generally with this evaluation (we have been using Scrumworks for a sprint and a half), but the “customization” in reports in Scrumworks is quite limited, to the point of not being very useful as far as I can tell.

    I’ve been trying to figure out if I can get what I want from Scrumworks, which is a detailed Product Burndown Graph, showing daily engineer progress against the product backlog, something that Rally just added, see: http://www.rallydev.com/Support_Video/release_training_2007_7/burndown.html.

    I asked Scrumworks for this feature, not knowing Rally was going to release it.

    I think it’s illustrative to talk about Scrumworks’ reaction to my request, which is that they understand why I want it, but because it is not in the formal Scrum process, they won’t consider it. For rigid purists, that might be a good thing if they think it enforces a policy. For others, of course, it’s not so good. In my mind, it’s really just a different (and useful) way to look at the information that Scrumworks has collected.

    In any event, your mileage may vary. I was turned off by my interaction with the Scrumworks folks, but whether that is enough to push me away from using the product, I’m not sure yet.

  3. [...] Tools: XPlanner, Rally, Scrumworks Pro, Thoughtworks Mingle, and Card Meeting. The instructor said non of the tools handles hierarchical backlogs. See also Rally vs Scrumworks. [...]

  4. Tom Perry says:

    Rally handles hierarchical backlogs – if I understand what is meant by a hierarchical backlog correctly ;-)

  5. agila says:

    Hello everybody,

    please have a look at Agilo for Scrum as well. http://www.agile42.com/cms/pages/download/
    Its open source and was created based on real customer needs ;-)

    Have fun
    agile

  6. Tuan says:

    Thanks Tom!

    There have many information and very useful.

    Regards,

  7. Agilist says:

    Nice comparison-what about a comparison with VersionOne-another Agile project management tool? http://www.versionone.com I have heard good things about it, so would be nice to see a comparison as well.

  8. Jeff says:

    I’d LOVE to see you compare Rally to TargetProcess.

    I’ve been evaluating Rally vs. ScrumWorks vs. TargetProcess, and having a hard time deciding.

    VersionOne would probably work, but I was turned off by its UI (too many pointless popups – clicking entities gives ‘property’ popups that are too generic and not ‘use oriented’). It also has a lack of customizable reports, and erratic performance.

    Rally loses points for not allowing us to host our own server unless we by a minimim of 50 user licenses. We’re not that big, but are paranoid about security.

    ScrumWorks’ strict adherence to Scrum is both good and bad. It is almost too simple – in fact, for us, it’s ‘the simplest thing that could work’. I am finding the ‘customizable’ reports pretty limiting – I want to make my own modules to plug into the report system! The ability to display those reports via the web, and link directly to images within from other web pages (or wikis, etc) is pretty awesome though. We use that feature to mashup multiple burndown charts onto information radiators in the hallway. If you ask them to do add REAL customizable reports, they tell you ‘everything in the system is already reportable with our modules – use the SOAP interface if you need more’. They don’t seem interested in widening their product feature set much (but they do seem interested in making sure what features set they DO have is usable and performant).

  9. Laszlo says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for the comments about ScrumWorks – it’s really exciting for us to help build a product that the community can use. We are working hard on expanding the Enterprise capabilities of ScrumWorks, as noted in our recent press coverage: http://tinyurl.com/m8uwb6

    PS – feel free to give us a call and we’ll work with you.

  10. I’ve tried ScrumWorks but it’s a bit heavy and not very eye-candy. Not tried Rally though.
    But the Agile tool I would recommend is Express:
    http://agileexpress.sourceforge.net

    It’s lightweight and very intuitive to use

  11. Aniket says:

    Has anybody heard about Accept360 solution ?
    http://www.acceptsoftware.com/
    Its quite an interesting tool with end to end integrity and provide lots of features.
    Also recently it has released Product Management Capabilities too.. seems very promising.

  12. troyail says:

    Hello Everyone
    Has anyone try Yodiz http://www.yodiz.com
    Its a simple and easy to use tool, with neat and attractive UI

  13. Joyce says:

    I prefer Yodiz than Any of other agile tools, it’s easy to use and has awesome features.

  14. Kelly says:

    Guys! The best ever ALM tool I found is Yodiz. No comparison with other tools, seriously it’s so superior. It gives you all Scrum/XP managment tool, Issue Tracker, Team chat, lots of integrations, exporting, reporting and so much more in a incredible price. After using Yodiz we dispel all the discussion of selecting Agile management tool in our company FOREVER! and their Customer service is second to none..Yehh seems like they don’t too much money on marketing though.

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