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Process Tools That Evolve With a Business

Fresh off its pledge to donate software development expertise to the Java open source tools group Eclipse Foundation, IBM announced the launch of IBM Rational Method Composer (RMC).

The release follows Big Blue's move last week to donate 300,000 lines of code and 15 percent of the content found in its Rational Unified Process (RUP) product to Eclipse as the foundation for an open source project.

RMC is the next generation of RUP. It takes that product's base functionality and adds some process customization tools, a new process framework to deliver best practices, and integration with the IBM Rational Portfolio Manager.

The new tool will also replace the IBM Rational Process Workbench used to customize development processes.

Per Kroll, IBM Rational manager of methods, said the software provides a more complete solution for business-driven software development.

"If you look at the RUP product today, it's focused on the needs of individual projects," he said. "What we're doing with the method composer is to expand that focus to enterprise- and business-driven development."

The new tool builds on the capture and automation of development processes in a software project and expands it to automate the the flow of information on data projects so that both IT staffers and business analysts can use the information.

The information garnered from RMC can then be turned into templates and best practices so project planners can figure out what resources are needed to finish a project or identify project goals.

Processes can also be customized using the new tool. IBM said is would cut down the time needed to tailor best practices from weeks and days to hours and minutes. Process guidance wizards help project teams tailor the processes used in individual projects.

That information, in turn, can then be plugged into IBM's Rational Portfolio Manager so projects can be more efficiently tasked and scheduled or saved to use on other software projects.

The best practiced used in RMC comes from the library found in IBM Rational SUMMIT Ascendant, a Web-based software suite used in project planning and estimating.

Officials plan to release RMC in December for $395 a user. Current RUP users can move their license to the new software free of charge when it becomes available and upgrade through migration tools.