RFE introduction

The CICS requirements process changed to use the IBM RFE Community in November 2011. RFE stands for Request for Enhancement. The IBM RFE Community is an open community hosted on IBM developerWorks. By default all CICS RFEs are public meaning that other CICS customers can view, comment on and vote on an RFE.

For the four releases, CICS TS 5.1 through to CICS TS 5.4, over 400 RFEs have been satisfied.

The CICS RFE Community home page can be found here CICS RFE Community. To access the RFE community requires an IBM id. In the top right hand corner of the Community page you can login using your IBM id or register to obtain an IBM id.

Raising an RFE

To raise an RFE go to this page: Submit a request. Click Continue. On the next screen there are multiples boxes to fill in. In the Product Box type CICS Transaction Server.

The three main sections are:

  • Description
  • Use Case
  • Business Justification

The description and use case sections are visible to everyone, the business justification section is visible only to the raiser and IBM, so any business sensitive information needs to go in the Business justification section.

Likewise comments added to an RFE after it has been raised are public unless you choose the private comments option which is visible only to the comment raiser and IBM. Unless its business sensitive, we recommend comments are public as the whole idea is to generate discussion within the CICS community.

Once all the sections are filled in, click Submit to initiate the submit process. There is a 24hr grace period during which time you can alter the RFE. After 24hrs the RFE is submitted to IBM.

IBM processing of RFEs

Once the RFE is submitted to IBM, the RFE bridge process processes the RFE and creates a copy of the RFE on the CICS Development organisation’s Rational Team Concert (RTC) system in Hursley. The CICS development team will process the RFE in RTC. Comments from RTC can be published back to developerWorks so they are visible to the raiser and the wider RFE Community. In addition comments in RTC can be private, meaning private to the CICS Development organisation whilst it is being evaluated.

An RFE goes through a number of states. IBM will change the state of an RFE in RTC and the RFE bridge will mirror the state change back to developerWorks.

RFE Open states

  • Submitted: IBM has not yet evaluated this RFE but will evaluate it to provide a response.
  • Under consideration: The IBM team is evaluating this RFE. A decision or request for more information will be provided usually within 90 days
  • Need More Information: IBM is requesting more information from the submitter before the request can be evaluated. This request will remain open in this status for 30 days, but if the submitter doesn’t respond, the request will be closed to status Information Not Provided (see below).
  • Information Provided: The submitter has provided additional information to assist IBM in evaluating the request.
  • Uncommitted Candidate: This request is a candidate for a future release. At this point it is not committed to a future release, but the request is aligned with our multi-year strategy. IBM will update this request in the future.
  • Planned for Future Release: This request is currently planned for delivery in the next generally available (GA) release. Plans may change. IBM will update this request at product announce time and again at GA.

RFE Close states

  • Delivered: This request has been delivered into a previously released version of the product, or imminently in the next available release.
  • Declined: IBM has considered the request, and it will not be delivered in the future. If this request receives continued customer interest, it may be resubmitted for consideration after 12 months from the submit date.
  • Information not Provided: IBM had previously requested more clarifying information. Because the additional information was not provided within 30 days, the request has been closed.
  • Is a Defect: IBM has identified this as a defect requiring a code change to resolve. The RFE has been closed and will be tracked via APAR management. The APAR number will be provided on the RFE.

CICS Development’s policy regarding its RFEs backlog

The aim of the move to processing requirements via the RFE Community is to provide much more transparency. The CICS Development organisation does not want to have a backlog of hundreds of open, uncommitted candidate status RFEs because this provides no indication to the raiser about when or if a requirement may be satisfied. Hence if an RFE is not likely to be satisfied within 12-24 months it will be declined. The raiser has the opportunity to reopen the RFE after 12 months for consideration again. The CICS department regularly looks at the backlog of RFEs and may decline RFEs that were previously uncommitted candidates and also may reopen RFEs if circumstances change.

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