Pivotal Tracker vs. Rally

Helping teams deliver just enough, just in time


Pivotal Tracker is a proven project management tool, created to help modern software development teams fully focus on the solution they’re building, rather than maintaining extensive project plans. CA Agile Central from CA Technologies (formerly Rally) is a complex platform for managing agile software projects, designed to support several different agile methodologies. These different methodologies are supported by a variety of pages in the tool, and teams will need to identify the pages that best suit their needs, disregarding the rest.

This support for differing agile processes comes at the cost of complexity when setting up projects, maintaining project status over time, and reporting. This complexity can lead to the following risks:

  • Users typically require training in CA Agile Central in order to be productive.

  • Customizations to the interface cannot be shared across team members, which can lead to inconsistencies and confusion.

  • Teams will need to manually plan their work and update their iteration plan before starting each iteration.

  • Teams will then need to manually deal with any incomplete work at the end of the iteration, by either splitting or moving stories.

  • Teams can customize their iteration, release, and milestone timeboxes, which then negatively impacts reporting across teams and makes collaboration more difficult.

Manual vs. automatic planning

Twenty-five years’ of experience as a software consultancy working on thousands of projects has given us a deep appreciation for one of lean’s key principles: “just enough, just in time.” It turns out Goldilocks was onto something when she searched for the “just right” solution. We need to give our development teams just the right amount of planning (instead of analysis-paralysis) and just the right amount of tooling to help them be more efficient in getting their work completed (rather than more project documentation to maintain).

Tracker gives teams the ability to view and prioritize their work and automatically predict when work will be completed by using the best predictor there is: past results. Tracker calculates running velocity based on the average number of story points completed in the past one to four iterations. Using this running or average velocity, Tracker predicts the number of iterations a given backlog of stories will take to complete. This gives team the visibility into what work they have, along with when that work will be completed, all with minimal effort required of the team.

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What people love about Tracker

  • Ease of use: Master the core functionality in under 5 minutes and onboard new team members with ease.

  • Automatic planning: When you let Tracker do the planning, you can say goodbye to managing your own timelines and meeting unrealistic expectations, and keep your team in a steady rhythm.

  • Velocity: Know how fast your team’s progressing and how consistent (i.e., volatile) your rate is. Predict your project end date based on your current velocity.

  • Search: Powerful search syntax supports nested Boolean expressions. Save common searches for later, or share them with the team.

  • Agile process: Support for agile methodologies, lean workflows, and paired programming (i.e., multiple owners on stories).

  • Easy import/export: Tracker supports importing/exporting data via CSV files, which can be sent to external stakeholders and updates can be imported back into Tracker to incorporate changes back into your project.

  • Mobile apps: Tracker has native iOS and Android apps to keep on-the-go members informed.

  • Project transparency: With a shared, clear view of your entire team’s work, everyone has a real-time, single source of truth. A quick scan explains where your team is, who’s accountable, and what’s coming next in a single, concise view.

  • Viewers: Create as many project viewers as needed to give your stakeholders a read-only view of project data. Viewers can also follow and receive notifications for any story.

  • Rest API: If you can’t find an integration or extension in our Integrations Directory, you can always build your own!

“Pivotal Tracker is a real slick force multiplier that gets out of the way just enough to give our distributed team a powerful platform to plan, execute, monitor, and discuss all aspects of our development, large and small.”

—Dan, CEO


Moving to Tracker from CA Agile Central is easier than you might think

The difference between Pivotal Tracker and tools like CA Agile Central is fundamentally a philosophical one. But if your team is ready to work more efficiently with a workflow that ensures predictability, there are several ways you can move from Agile Central to Tracker. It’s possible to migrate your data over and move all your information, lock, stock, and barrel—or you may decide to have Tracker and Agile Central work hand-in-hand for now.

Migrate your data following these instructions, or use an integration tool like Kovair, which supports integrating Tracker with Agile Central.

Let us help

Tell us where CA Agile Central serves you well, and we’ll help you get the same benefit. Tracker manages releases, coordinates multiple projects, and handles high-level reporting differently than Agile Central, so we can decrease your ramp-up time with some tips and pointers. We pride ourselves on helping you make the most of Tracker. Get in touch via email or follow us on Twitter for information about updates and webinars.