Silver Catalyst

I was reading an article which had a link to one of the resources in BenchMarkQA web site. I downloaded the resource named "Tools for managing agile projects" and in the list I saw a new tool called Silver catalyst. I went to the silver catalyst website and found that it’s been developed by someone from Chennai. My interest got doubled and I downloaded the trail version from the site.

 

What I like?

1.       Simple User interface: One of the advantages I see with this tool is that it has got a very simple user interface

2.       A Decent Help Documentation

3.       Easy to Install: There are lots of APM tools available in the market, but none of them (I did not try mingle) has a straight forward installation. I could install and get started in less than 5 minutes.

4.       Project RSS Feed

 

What could be better?

1.       Adding Team members to the Project: The interface could be better here. I did not like the concept of a user getting created during the time of import

2.       I prefer windows service than a server getting started thru a command prompt. It always reminds me the JAVA server interfaces and I personally do not like keeping a command prompt open ("With the message … Server is up and running"

3.       I would like to see the concept of releases. "Release Plan -> Iterations -> User Stories -> Iteration Tasks"

4.       A different interface for updating the remaining effort. Say for example, if the Iteration length is of 10 days, I would like to update remaining hours (numbers) for Day 1, Day 2 …. Day 10(I know burn chart will give me this, but I will be more comfortable to see the numbers getting updated)

 

Suggestions

1.       Can provide an option to attach Retrospective Notes to Iterations. I have not seen any tool doing this. I do not like maintaining this in a separate file, just because the tool doesn’t support this.

a.       Same way Area of improvement list for iteration and a way to track how much we have progressed

2.       Can provide support for maintaining user stories. With my limited interaction with Silver catalyst I do not see an option for maintaining user stories

3.       Introduce Agile Earned Value Metrics. I do not think any tool is providing this today. I am using excel sheet to do this for me today.

4.       I would like to know where the data is getting stored, so that I can take regular backups. I do not see this information mentioned in the documentation

 

Summary:  My comments are based on my limited usage of this tool. Overall, It looks like a decent tool and it can definitely mature over a period of time. Let me see whether it works for us J

 

URL: http://www.silverstripesoftware.com/

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One thought on “Silver Catalyst

  1. Hi Prakash,Thanks for your review. I’ve sent an email with the upgraded trial key so you can try it out on a real project.A couple of features that are scheduled for version 2.0 (expected year end) are feature hierarchies (User Stories->Tasks in XP or Module->Feature Set->Feature in FDD) and absolute ordering (meaning you can exactly order the tasks instead of using the MoSCoW groups).I agree about the way to add team members. It is not very intuitive at the moment.For maintaining user stories, if you use a wiki for project documentation, there is an option to link each user story with a wiki page where additional information can be stored. There is a video demonstrating this feature. Go to http://www.silverstripesoftware.com/ and scroll down to the "Integrate With Wikis" feature and click the View Video link below it.The database for the tool is located at C:\Program Files\Catalyst\home\var\catalystdata.db so all you need to do is to backup this file. To restore, copy the backup file back to this location. The license key can also be found in this directory.Glad you liked the installation process. A lot of work was put in to make it really simple 🙂

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