IBM Reveals Jazz Product Launch Wave

Team Concert 1.0, the first commercial product derived from IBM's Jazz platform for collaborative development, will be available on June 30, with nearly 20 related offerings from IBM and partners set to ship by the end of 2008, the company announced Monday.

The product is a collaboration portal aimed at keeping distributed-software development teams connected through technologies such as instant messaging. Programmers log into the system and see their own work items, what fellow team members are working on and assorted metrics related to the project's status.

"The big shift is rather than the [progress] reports being just for the managers, the reports are for everybody to look at," said Redmonk analyst Michael Coté.

This enables a team to be "more self-managing than in a process-driven development environment, where they'd be waiting for someone to tell them what to do," he added.

IBM developed Jazz over the past several years, in part using a methodology it dubbed "open commercial." The company enables partners, customers and community members to participate in the project's development through the Jazz.net site, but is retaining all intellectual property rights.

Team Concert went through three betas prior to Monday's release.

It will come in a number of versions, including the free Express-C Edition, which is aimed at teams of 10 to 50 people; a Standard Edition for midsize companies, which has additional features, such as metrics for determining a project's "health" in real-time; and in 2009, an Enterprise Edition that includes greater capabilities for managing work items and source code.

IBM intends to bake Jazz into all of its Rational products over the next several years, rather than try to move customers wholesale to a new platform. It has already begun this process, announcing Monday that Rational Requirements Composer, software for planning a project's design, and a testing-focused product, Rational Quality Manager, are now in beta.

"We realize the days of rip-and-replace are over," said Elizabeth Friday, vice president worldwide customer service at Rational. "This is really an evolution."

In addition, a range of partners are working to integrate their software development-related products with Jazz. They include Mainsoft, Surgient, VMLogix, Source IQ, WebLayers and Ravenflow.

Although IBM has positioned Jazz as an open platform -- and is even prepping a connection to Microsoft's rival Visual Studio development toolkit -- it might be difficult for the company to attract new business, according to Cote. That's both due to development shops' ingrained loyalty to one toolset or another, as well as the sizable task of catering to IBM's current clientele.

"The early large chunk are going to be existing customers," Cote said. "With Rational or any big IBM brand, it's hard to reach out to new people because they've got such a large existing base," he said.

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon