At Innovate 2012 in Orlando, June 3-7 there
will be two requirements management (RM) tracks – one focused on RM for IT
application development, and product-wise primarily on RequisitePro and
Rational Requirements Composer; and another focused on RM for systems
engineering (SE), and product-wise on DOORS. This blog post is focused on the
RM for SE track but look out for another on the IT focused track.
I think you’ll find that the
RM for SE track has some really strong content this year. Out of 16 sessions,
10 will feature customer speakers, including:
- How IBM Rational DOORS Helps Jet Propulsion
Laboratory Get to Mars and Beyond: Best Practices in Metrics,
Verification, and Traceability
- Using IBM Rational DOORS to Support Systems
Engineering and Release Management across Multiple Programs at Trane, a
heating, ventilation & air conditioning systems manufacturer
- A CareFusion Case Study of Integrating IBM
Rational DOORS and HP Quality Center for Use in an FDA Environment
- Integrating IBM Rational DOORS with IBM Rational
Team Concert: Lessons Learned at
You’ll also be able to meet
product management and senior development staff and ask them questions in our ‘Ask
The Experts (for DOORS version 7.x, 8.x and 9.x users)’, and you’ll hear about
IBM’s strategy and roadmap in ‘What's Now and Next in Requirements Management
for Systems Engineering’, including the latest release and plans for the DOORS
If you’ve been following our
RM developments recently you’ll be aware of the DOORS Next Generation project
on Jazz.net and you’ll hear about that during the Now and Next session, and
if you want to dive deeper into what’s planned be sure to go to the session
‘Deep Dive Investigation and Feedback about IBM Rational DOORS Next-Generation
Beta’ and visit the DOORS Next Generation demo pedestal in the Innovation Lab
area of the Solution Center.
And if you’ve ever attended
before, you’ll know that a popular feature is the DOORS DXL Script Exchange
competition, where you can demonstrate your prowess in DXL and win a small
prize. For more details about this year’s competition (with a twist!) please
Scripts are due on or before May 25th.
On top of all this fantastic
content (and this is just for one track – there are over 400 sessions across
the whole conference!), Innovate is a great opportunity to network with other
systems engineers and software developers, share war stories, tips and tricks
and maybe a drink or two.
To find out more about
Innovate 2012 and to register go to ibm.com/innovate.
We hope to see you there!
I'm writing from Innovate 2012 in Orlando, Florida where thousands are attending sessions and sharing thoughts about software development and systems engineering. One topic that keeps coming up is that of traceability. On Sunday at VoiCE (Voice of the Customer Event), we had some great discussions with clients in the industrial sector building complex and embedded systems such as planes, cars and medical devices about traceability scenarios they have. There was a lively discussion around how much traceability is enough. One client, who is working in aerospace, needs to comply with DO-178B, and requires traceability all the way from a high level customer requirement through to individual lines of code. Others asked 'do you really need that fine grained traceability?' and 'won't that be very difficult to manage?' Another described that they have 26 teams and 16 applications to manage, and in the past had many (I think I heard 50!) locations where requirements were stored, usually in spreadsheets, making traceability very difficult. Now with the 'right schema' in place and using IBM Rational Requirements Composer, they have a solution that makes traceability much easier, and an environment that is manageable for the long term as it scales. Having the right schema - the information model of artifacts and what relationships they have was stressed as a vital ingredient in any recipe for successful traceability.
In a breakout session yesterday, data was shared that on a deep space exploration mission project, there are over 80,000 items in the requirements database (IBM Rational DOORS) and over 40,000 links - mind blowing complexity of data and relationships, and that's on one of many projects they have running today.
The right culture, process and tools for your application/system/product/service, organization and industry are necessary to prevent traceability across not only requirements, but into designs, work items, tests and so on, spiraling into an uncontrollable, unusable spaghetti of artifacts and links.
So for you and your projects, how much traceability is enough, how are you managing it and what would you like to see in the future to make the creation, maintenance and most importantly utilization of traceability easier to do and more effective?
You've bought the plot of land for your dream home. You have your list of requirements - 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, spacious kitchen, 2 living rooms, 2 garages, landscaped gardens, etc. Would you be happy to simply hand that list to the builders and let them start work? Unlikely, I think. Typically, you call in an architect, who can take your quantitative requirements and qualitative desires and produce a blueprint, the architectural design that incorporates your wishes where feasible and adds creative flourish based on the architect's knowledge of house design. The blueprint enables you and the builders to have a much clearer picture of the desired end result than that original list of requirements. And it affords you the opportunity to influence the architecture, and for the builders to question and look at feasibility & cost options, before the foundations are dug and the first bricks are laid.
The same applies in product development. Systems engineers who are responsible for the holistic product specification and design don't just use textual requirements lists to capture the problem domain and describe the proposed solution. They analyze the requirements, identifying integrated scenarios, and often depict those using modeling languages such as UML or SysML. These modeled scenarios are easier to discuss and review with all stakeholders, and as the systems engineer evolves the proposed architecture (also in the same modeling language) they can run the scenarios against the architecture in model simulations to find inconsistencies or gaps in the requirements and flaws in the design, long before any software is coded, circuit boards are soldered or metal is welded.
So what value are our textual requirements lists - should we throw them away in favor of models? Well, not everything can be expressed in the model and not everyone involved in a development effort maybe using models. Going back to the house building analogy, there are contracts, numerous standards and regulations to be adhered to, and simply details that would make the blueprints unreadable. The various contractors (and I know from recent experience that sub-contracting is the name of the game in house building these days!) involved in the building process need to ensure that they can meet the contractual and regulatory demands while delivering against the architecture. Again this is the same in product development, except in many cases, particularly safety-critical systems, traceability and demonstration of conformance to requirements and compliance to standards & regulations are demanded. This requires the ability to integrate requirements and modeling workflows, easily link requirements and design elements, and to report on that linked information.
The need and solutions for this capability are nothing new. Integrations between requirements management and modeling tools have existed for many years (I think I started using such an integration in the early 90's and I'm sure they preceded that time). But I know from first hand experience of using and indeed writing such integrations that they've not always been optimal in the way integration is performed and in the workflow that is supported. Typically it's meant synchronizing (i.e. copying) data between tools in order to create the traceability links in one of the tools. This brings up all sorts of issues like 'which tool is the master?', 'am I looking at the latest data?', 'what happens when information is deleted?', etc.
With Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC
) we now have a much better way to link data across product development and operations tools, even when the tools maybe from different vendors, open source or in-house. OSLC has learnt from the principles of the World Wide Web and enables
tool data to be shared and linked where it resides (called a ‘Linked
Data’ approach). OSLC provides a common vocabulary for ‘resources’ in
particular domains, i.e. what a requirement, test case, design element,
change request, work item, etc. looks like, so that regardless of tool,
technology or vendor, tools implementing OSLC specifications can share and link data.
With Rational DOORS 9.4 and Rational Rhapsody 8.0 with Design Manager 4.0, IBM is utilizing OSLC to provide a simplified workflow for linking requirements analysis and design. On September 20, Paul Urban (if you've been wondering about this blog post title, now you know the Paul I'm speaking of), Market Manager for IBM Rational Rhapsody, presented this simplified workflow and its benefits on a IEEE Spectrum webcast sponsored by IBM. You can watch and listen to the replay at your own leisure here
. I hope you it enjoy it - please let Paul and I know what you think by leaving feedback on this blog post.
Last week I was really fortunate to spend a couple of days in London presenting to and talking to clients, business partners and industry analysts. It's always so good to hear what's really going on out there and to get many different perspectives on what's important today and for the future. The first day was at IBM's Innovate UK 2012 event where I was fortunate to be asked to present on all the really exciting new stuff we've done in the past year to help organizations building today's and the next generation of smarter products and systems, with particular focus on providing solutions for systems engineers and embedded software developers. You can catch the absolute latest news on our recent launch webpages
. That session included a whistle-stop tour of the developments in requirements management for complex systems with Rational DOORS 9.4 and our plans for DOORS Next Generation. Whistle-stop because we also had so much news to get through in architecture & design, planning, change & configuration management and quality management, as well as industry specific solutions for A&D, automotive, medical devices and electronic design. And because on the following day at IBM's Southbank facility we had a whole day dedicated to topics related to DOORS.
At the DOORS customer day we had attendees from across several industry sectors including transportation, aerospace & defense, banking & mail services. The day kicked off with Morgan Brown presenting the latest on IBM's requirements management and DOORS strategy. Morgan told us how the DOORS 9.x series is and will continue to be developed and enhanced to meet the needs of the large install base, in parallel with the introduction of DOORS Next Generation (DOORS NG). DOORS NG is planned to take the best paradigms for managing structured requirements from DOORS 9.x and marry those with the requirements management and team collaboration capabilities that have been developed on the Jazz collaborative lifecycle management platform over the last 4 or so years (and are in use in the form of Rational Requirements Composer). The development of DOORS NG is out in the open on jazz.net
where milestone builds can be downloaded, discussions held, defects/enhancements raised and plans viewed. DOORS NG has gone through four beta releases and is expected to be released in late November. Morgan explained that in its first release, DOORS NG is not intended to replace the DOORS 9.x product line, but it is expected that existing DOORS customers will try out DOORS NG on pilot and new projects, and will use the interoperability capabilities of the ReqIF data exchange and cross-tool traceability linking to exchange and/or link data between DOORS 9.x and DOORS NG. DOORS NG will also appeal to those looking for a requirements management tool that is on an integrated platform with design, test management and task/change management capabilities. Morgan reminded the audience of an IBM statement released earlier this year that existing DOORS customers with active support & subscription would be entitled to use both DOORS 9 and next generation capabilities when they become available. This was well received by the attendees since it means that they can try out DOORS NG when it ships without the need for an additional purchase.
Of course a day of technology insights never goes past without some piece of tech throwing an unexpected spanner in the works. This time it was the projector and the next presenter's Apple Mac that refused to talk to each other, so instead of a flow into a demo of DOORS NG, next up was Neal Middlemore to tell us about the improved integration of requirements and quality management with DOORS 9.4 and Rational Quality Manager
(RQM) 4.0. This release was a significant enhancement that brings the integration in line with IBM's strategy to support OSLC - Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration
. OSLC is a new approach to tool integration that is open and vendor neutral. What's really different about OSLC is that data no longer needs to be copied or synchronized between tools in order to create cross-tool or cross-discipline visibility or relationships. So now quality professionals working in RQM can see requirements in DOORS and create links between test cases (and now because some organizations require it, test steps) and the requirements they are validating; and requirements professionals in DOORS can see linked test case information including test results, without the need for either to leave the comfort of their familiar tool or for data to be copied between the two tools. Neal demonstrated the value of the integration to requirements & quality professionals and showed how RQM can be used to manage manual testing or hook up with a number of IBM and partner solutions for various forms of test automation. You can also see a demo of the DOORS - RQM integration on YouTube
So, technical issue solved, it was back to Jon Walton to give a demo of DOORS Next Generation using the Beta 4 release. Jon spent most of his time in the web client, highlighting the support for key DOORS paradigms such as hierarchical structured requirements documents, and showed off the plethora of new capabilities provided by the Jazz platform such as database-wide requirement reuse, graphical traceability view, requirements definition techniques (use case diagrams, storyboards), cross-discipline dashboards (containing requirements project info mashed up with info from design, quality and task management) and task management. Jon also showed the desktop client of DOORS NG which is very familiar looking to existing DOORS users with some twists (reuse of requirements across documents for one) - the desktop client will primarily be for users who need to do extensive editing of large requirements documents. If you're currently using DOORS 9.x, this YouTube video gives a quick preview intro
of DOORS NG and how it's both similar to and different to DOORS 9.x. Watch this space for more to come on DOORS NG later this month.
Back to the earlier lifecycle integration theme started by Neal, next to present was Steve Rooks on how to use DOORS with IBM's solution for model-based systems engineering and model-driven embedded software development, Rational Rhapsody, to link requirements and design activities. Rational Rhapsody enables elaboration of requirements and construction of systems and software architectures using SysML and UML. Rhapsody Design Manager
provides an additional level of design collaboration capabilities. Models can be published to and/or stored and managed in a central repository, making them more easily accessible to a wider set of stakeholders so that designs can be better communicated and understood by all those involved in specifying, designing, building and validating a product or system. Rhapsody Design Manager uses OSLC to facilitate linking of design elements to other lifecycle artifacts - requirements, test cases, work items, etc. Like with the DOORS-RQM scenario described above, a systems engineer or software architect working in Rhapsody can see requirements in DOORS and easily create links between requirements and design model elements. Requirements and requirement links can even be included in model diagrams. And of course a DOORS user can see links to design elements without leaving DOORS or to participate in design reviews can navigate into Rhapsody Design Manager. You can read more about linking requirements and design and the DOORS-Rhapsody Design Manager integration in my recent post 'The House That Paul Built'
that talks about a recent webcast
on the topic.
After lunch, an IBM business partner Kovair
was invited to present on how their Kovair Omnibus solution provides bridges, synchronization and workflow support across multiple tools from multiple vendors. It's a common situation to find yourself trying to enact processes and workflows when you have a diverse set of tools. Kovair talked about their support for OSLC to be able to widen the number of tools they can help link together, but also highlighted scenarios where you would still want to copy or transform data between tools - it's not a choice of Link or Sync, it's Link and Sync as appropriate.
The next session was presented by Paul Fechtelkotter, market manager for energy & utilities at IBM Rational. Paul gave a really interesting presentation on the challenges of complex systems development for nuclear power plants and how the nuclear industry is now adopting systems engineering best practices starting with requirements management to enable them to get better change management, traceability, impact analysis and compliance support. You can learn more about how IBM Rational is helping the nuclear industry on our dedicated web page
Unfortunately I had to leave after Paul's session and didn't catch the remainder of the afternoon, but as you can see it was a day packed full of information. I hope you find my summary and links for more information useful. If you have any questions or comments on any of the topics I've covered here or indeed anything on IBM's requirements management strategy, Rational DOORS and the lifecycle integrations, please don't be afraid to ask by using the blog comments facility.
Neal Middlemore has over 14 years of experience in requirements management, this encompasses the associated disciplines of change management of requirements and validation/verification. Neal comes from an avionics systems engineering background and has been working with the DOORS product for over 10 years.
One of the most fundamental benefits that businesses want to get from using requirements management tools is consistent traceability. It doesn’t matter if it is an IT system being developed or an aircraft carrier, the levels of complexity being dealt with determine that traceability across multiple levels of requirements, from stakeholder requests to detailed implementation, is not simple to maintain manually.
Further hurdles are put in our way by the need to comply with legislative requirements, so many different industries these days have requirements placed upon them by government and international standards bodies along with internal corporate standards.
To prove compliance with these legislative rules it is necessary for projects to not only prove that requirements are being managed but also to provide the how and where of their management. What features relate which stakeholder request? What aspects of the solution satisfy safety regulations? Has the realization of the requirement been tested and by whom on what platform?
To answer these questions it is necessary to utilize the traceability capabilities provided by modern tools but it’s not enough to let a tool decide how things relate to each other, it isn’t enough to let individual users decide these relationships. Traceability needs to be considered in the larger context of how you report on it to answer the very questions that led you to consider traceability for in the first place. It’s more than ‘does object A relate to object B?’.
An initiative to define an information architecture of your governance solution will assist in defining your process artifacts and their relationships to one another. Traceability becomes an asset rather than an overhead. A good way to begin such an initiative is having a workshop attended by all project stakeholders i.e. those who have a vested interest in ensuring project success. Most likely these attendees will have a good understanding of the process and what the project needs to deliver. Undoubtedly each will also bring differing perspectives and understanding of what information is required.
The test manager may want to see traceability from individual test artifacts through to the requirements being tested or to determine regulatory compliance has been achieved and whether verification methods have been agreed.
A subject matter expert (SME) may want to see the design in the context of the system level requirements and how it relates to stakeholder requirements.
Everybody wants to see something that is applicable to their job roles, even wishing to see things outside of their typical discipline domains. By asking the questions and documenting the answers you can start to put together an information architecture that makes sense for your project. It’s likely that many information architectures will exist. Not every project is the same and these will have differing sets of required attributes, views and reports of project information and agreed structure of inter artifact relationships.
Modern tools can often create templates for this kind of information to allow the deployment of additional artifact containers as and when required. These can even enforce traceability to ensure the integrity across the project. Above all, it is vital that the needs of the project is documented and communicated alongside of the information architecture to all project members.
Innovate 2013 – The IBM Technical Summit is here. The 2013 event promises to be even more exciting with top-notch keynotes, over 450 breakout sessions, labs, certifications and our biggest exhibit hall ever. As in previous events, Requirements Management is one of the key areas of interest at Innovate which attracts speakers and attendees from across the globe representing a wide range of industries. In 2012, we had two tracks for Requirements Management with sixteen sessions each with one track focusing on IT and another focusing on Systems Engineering. We had 14 real life case studies, 2 panel discussions and 4 instructor led sessions.
Managing requirements has always been a cornerstone in both software and systems development. The importance of the discipline continues to grow and is expected to take a leading role in the coming years. This is an opportunity to showcase your thoughts on the discipline, and how requirements management tools like DOORS or Requirements Composer can aid in managing effectively the requirements for project successes. Here are some of the topics from last year and an expected list of topics
- Requirements Management in Agile Projects
- Requirements Management for Mobile Development
- Managing requirements in developing Safety Critical Systems
- Developing and managing requirements specifications for contract agreement
- Requirements Driven Development: Understanding requirements and work items
- Requirements engineering and supporting layered requirements and models
- Delivering a specification perfect requirements set (document generation)
- Requirements Reuse: Methods and best practice
- Requirements management for complex systems and teams
- Using traceability to expose gaps/change to other requirements and across the lifecycle
- Requirements engineering for projects with complex systems and software
- Requirements definition and management case studies
- Requirements definition and management across the software lifecycle
- Elicitation techniques for requirements and use cases
- Agile software development and requirements modeling
- Requirements management for outsourced projects
- Defining and managing requirements across geographically distributed teams
- Metrics and analysis used in requirements management
- Integrating requirements with project and portfolio management
- Implications of regulatory compliance on the requirements management process
- Business specification-centric approaches
- Best practices in aligning business goals and IT
- Value-based requirements engineering
- Business modeling in requirements definition
- Requirements prioritization best practices and choosing your methodology
- Incorporating industry standards as reusable requirements
- Effective reporting using requirements and CLM information
- DOORS, Requirements Composer and other Rational products best practices
- Requirements engineering and product lifecycle management
Some session topics from Innovate 2012
- Iterative Requirements Analysis: Implementing Lean and Agile principles for Software Requirements Analysis (Nationwide Case Study)
- Visual definition in the requirements lifecycle: a conceptual framework
- How IBM Rational DOORS Helps JPL Get to Mars and Beyond: Best Practices in Metrics, Verification and Traceability
- Integrating IBM Rational DOORS with IBM Rational Team Concert – Lessons Learned at Raytheon
- Integrating Requirements and Models with IBM Rational DOORS and IBM Rational Rhapsody: Lessons Learned at Lockheed Martin MS2
- Writing Verifiable Requirements Is Not Easy
Share your experience, thoughts and best practices on requirements at an event attended by industry experts and IBM core development teams. Here are the top three reasons on why you should submit your paper for Innovate 2013.Explore
new areas - Free conference pass opening up the doors to 450+ sessions, labs and demo boothsNetwork
with experts and peers - Over 4000 professionals expected to attend the eventSharpen
your technical know-how - Learn from product and domain experts and from IBM core developers
As another year comes to an end, we wish you all a happy and prosperous new year!
2012 was an eventful year with major releases for both Requirements Composer
. We announced the next generation requirements management solution for complex & embedded systems from IBM - Rational DOORS Next Generation
We moved to deverloperWorks platform for our blog. We believe our readers found this blog useful. Please share with us your comments and suggestions for the blog content and also any specific topics in requirements management
that you want us to focus on in 2013....
Last but not least, as we mentioned in the last post, call for speakers in now open for Innovate 2013 - The IBM Technical Summit
. Submit your abstracts before January 14 2013 to stand a chance of presenting in a conference with 4000+ footfalls and a free conference pass!Happy New Year!