Requirements management: What’s next for the first, crucial step in successful product development?
What's next for the first, crucial step in successful product development
We’ve written many times here about the changing nature of the products and systems that we use in our personal and business lives. The increase in software is the invisible thread that is guiding product innovation and connecting a planet of "intelligent" things. We’ve also talked about the increasing complexity of such products and the challenges that multidisciplinary engineering teams (software, electronic, mechanical) are facing in attempting to tackle that complexity. In this post, I focus on the crucial, fundamental practice of requirements management. Let's look at how it can be improved and the potential payback, along with an exciting new product announcement in this area from IBM.
Priorities and payoffs in complex systems design
In the October 2012 report by the Aberdeen Group, "Managing Systems Design Complexity: 3 Tips to Save Time," two of the three tips are directly related to requirements management, with recommendations to use visual formats to define requirements and to improve traceability. They describe the third recommendation, to enhance the change management process across engineering disciplines, as needing to start with a focus on requirements management and traceability to facilitate impact analysis of changes in requirements. So you can see that, after studying the challenges faced by systems development organizations and their practices, these industry analysts concluded that requirements management-related practices are vital to addressing product complexity.
But what’s the payoff of investing in improving requirements management practices? Among the organizations that have implemented more effective requirements definition, management, traceability, and impact analysis capabilities, the Aberdeen Group found three significant results: significantly improved rates of hitting product launch date targets, meeting quality and revenue goals, yet reducing development cycles.
New requirements management tools for systems development
IBM has recognized the importance and value of requirements management to our clients for many years, and we are proud to be the market share leader, according to industry analysts Gartner and IDC in their reports of 2011 market share. IBM® Rational® DOORS® is a very popular tool for requirements management in complex and embedded systems development (examples include space missions, defense systems, aircraft, cars, medical devices, power stations, tele
At the same time, technologies have evolved and user expectations have changed, particularly with more applications accessed by Web browsers and the need for tools used for different parts of development to be able to easily and seamlessly share information. The Rational Jazz™ platform provides common services for a modern user experience and better sharing of capabilities and data across tools. Rational® Requirements Composer, now in its fourth major version, adds a requirements definition and management application on top of that common platform.
And now we are proud to announce a new requirements management offering from IBM that takes the Jazz platform-based requirements management capabilities and extends them with DOORS-like concepts and capabilities for working with requirements for complex and embedded systems development. IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation has a rich set of capabilities in its first version, including these subsets:
The best of the DOORS paradigms improved:
The advantages of the Jazz platform:
DOORS Next Generation (DOORS NG) is not a replacement for DOORS Version 9 series for the foreseeable future. We will continue to develop and release DOORS 9 and DOORS NG versions in parallel.
In the first release of DOORS NG, we provide capabilities for interoperation of DOORS 9 and DOORS NG, through import and export of data and cross-tool linking. DOORS NG is included with a new release of DOORS, Version 9.5. If you’re an existing DOORS customer with active support and a subscription, you’re entitled to use both DOORS NG and DOORS 9 releases. So you do not need to buy DOORS NG to get access to it, because you can simply use some of your existing license entitlement. This enables to you to evaluate and deploy DOORS NG at your own pace.
If you’re an existing DOORS customer, we recommend that you take time to check out DOORS NG and look for an opportunity to deploy it on a new, small project.
If you don’t have a requirements management tool yet, and you’re involved in the development of complex or embedded systems, now is a good time to invest in improving a vital practice in product development.
About the author
Richard Watson is the Global Product Manager for IBM Rational DOORS. He is a key contributor to the strategy of IBM's requirements definition and management products and focuses on keeping the balance between customer satisfaction and ensuring strong year-to-year growth for the DOORS products. Richard has been working in the systems and software industry for more than 20 years and has been directly involved with all aspects of development, from testing the Boeing 777 flight systems to development of database and software design tools.