What is Requirements Management: Definition, Benefits, Best Tools
In order to develop software successfully, it is important to have a clear understanding of the requirements from the outset. Requirements management (RM) is the process of documenting, tracking, and managing requirements throughout the software development life cycle. This can be a challenge, especially if requirements are not well-defined or change frequently. RM tools can help make this process easier by automating some tasks and providing more visibility into the status of requirements. In this article, we will define what requirements management is, discuss the benefits of using RM tools, and list some of the best options currently available.
So, what exactly is requirements management?
Requirements can be defined as the characteristics that a software system must possess to fulfill its intended purpose. Requirements management is the process of handling these requirements throughout the software development life cycle, from initial planning through to final delivery and maintenance. This includes activities such as gathering requirements, documenting them, tracking changes, and managing communication between stakeholders.
Basically, requirement management is a way of judicially collecting, analyzing, refining, and prioritizing all the products or requirements, if you will, of the development phase.
The major purpose of requirement management is to ensure clear, concise, and error-free requirement fulfillment for the engineering team so that they can make sure to detect errors in the system and potentially reduce the project cost as well as risk.
Requirements Management Goals:
The main goal of requirement management is to embrace the change and not avoid it. Impromptu requirement management usually does no good. But during critical application development projects, it can be disastrous if the management of requirements is performed without adequate tools and mature processes. Implementation of requirement management is not an easy task in such situations.
Well, the most important thing here is creating a perfect blend of processes and tools. Utilizing tools that essentially support requirement analysis and change management and performing processes that ensure accuracy and efficiency together make that perfect blend.
What do we achieve by implementing requirements management?
There are various reasons why people prefer implementing requirement management in their projects. The major ones are as follows:
- Faster delivery with as few as possible defects
- Traceability and reusability
- Low-cost development with minimized risks
- Ensuring proper access for the stakeholders to the requirements
- Creating a sharable requirement repository that is more comprehensive and updated (timely)
- Managing requirement elements
- Precise and accurate tracking, monitoring, and reporting of the requirements
- Easier management of changes across the development lifecycle
And supporting requirement-based testing as well as test coverage analysis.
What is Requirements Management Tools?
Now, we know what requirement management can result in. This is where the requirement management tools come into the picture. Traditionally, the requirements were captured manually with the help of spreadsheets. But nowadays, many tools in the market will do the work for you.
The major benefits of implementing these tools include:
- Greater effectiveness in project management and adding accuracy to the project controlling.
- Increasing and maintaining traceability on all levels
- Increased efficient re-use and product-line management
- Higher ability to create baselines
- Improved knowledge of project scope to the stakeholders
Now the question arises, who precisely is responsible for requirements management?
The answer is the product manager. He/She is responsible for collecting and further defining all the requirements. These requirements can be issued by anyone. Stakeholders, customers, salespeople, partners, engineers, product team members, or anyone else. Furthermore, there is an important need to maintain transparency among the engineers so as to keep them updated about the frequent changes.
Okay, so what are the requirements management tools we could use?
Practically, there is an abundance of great tools that helps requirements management in the market it is now difficult to choose which one is the best. Some of them are listed below:
- Visure Requirements ALM Platform – is a highly trusted requirement ALM partner for organizations of all sizes and niches. The features Visure offers include:
- Visure supports many development processes like Agile, V-model, etc.
- It offers round-trip integration with Microsoft Word and/or Excel as well as other ALM tools like Jira
- Enables full traceability between all system requirements and tests
- Ensures risk and test management, and bug tracking
- It enables managing configurations, baselines, and versioning of artifacts
- Provides environment supporting various tools like JIRA, HP ALM, Word, Excel, LDRA, etc.
- IBM Engineering Requirements Management DOORS Next – is one of the highest-rated requirements management tools. This tool is highly prescribed for collaborating, optimizing, and verifying requirements across the organization. The major features of DOORS Next include:
- This provides traceability by linking all the requirements, test plans, test cases, etc.
- The requirements management is performed through a centralized location that is accessible to all. This improves team coordination.
- IBM provides more scalability to address the changes in requirements management
- There is a special test tracking toolkit provided for manual test environments in order to link requirements to test cases.
- Modern Requirements – famous for its renowned product, Modern Requirements4DevOps, is highly recognized as the best requirements management tool across the globe. The characteristics it provides include:
- Artificial Intelligence enabled BA assistance – Alice
- Provides very helpful visualization types: Diagrams, Mock-ups, and Use Cases
- Supports test case automation and user story generation
- Provides online reviews and approvals
- Provides online documentation about pre-defined templates as well.
- Spira Team – Inflectra introduced the Spira Team which is an integrated requirement and quality management solution. This platform is highly suggested for regulated industries where audit trials and end-to-end traceability are very important. The various features it provides include:
- It helps to manage your project requirements and test cases
- It also helps in planning and managing the agile software development
- It is quite good at tracking bugs, issues, and tasks
- It manages your source code and IDE integration for Devs
- It is capable of working well with about 60 tools like JIRA, IBM DOORS, etc.
- Siemens Polarion – Siemens Polarion is a well-known requirements management tool. It is majorly used for gathering, approving, validating, and managing requirements of complex systems during a project’s lifecycle. Top features by Polarion include:
- It helps in building test cases parallelly with the requirements
- It also supports offline collaboration amongst the team members
- It also helps manage the tasks inside the organization.
The only thing that should be kept in mind is that no matter what methodology you opt for, an effective requirements management implementation is an imperative part of an industry. The main target to achieve is to minimize the cost and risk as much as possible and prepare a clear, concise, and error-free requirement report. Choosing the perfect tool is a hard task, so I strongly suggest you read the features carefully and then find the best that suits your organization.