Product complexity has increased exponentially over the years, and the complexity of product development has increased along with it. Today, multidisciplinary teams develop multifaceted products that must adhere to rigorous safety standards and regulations, as well as growing customer expectations. This is especially true in industries such as aerospace and defense, automotive, and healthcare, where economic pressures meet challenges to maintain quality.
But even though 90% of design and engineering teams agree that products have become more complex, according to a report from Engineering.com, many teams still rely on Word and Excel to manage requirements, missing out on extremely useful real-time collaboration features, deep integration with other software applications, and end-to-end traceability, just to give a few examples.
Jama Software is one of the software companies that would like to change the current situation and help product development groups deliver products at greater speed and quality, with transparency that is required in complex or highly regulated industries.
What Is Jama Software?
Jama Software is a software company founded in 2007 by Eric Winquist, who currently works as Expedition Leader at Global Explorers Club and is a Talkoot and Bigleft Networks board member.
The impulse to found Jama Software came when Winquist witnessed first-hand the common frustrations faced by companies in delivering complex, systems-driven products to market. Wanting to do something about it, he decided to create a collaborative requirements management platform to help companies develop complex products and systems.
Jama software serves hundreds of customers in many different industries, including aerospace and defense, automotive, and healthcare. “Today, Jama has more than 600 customers, including 24 of the Fortune 100 companies on their client list, in addition to 17 or the top 25 government contractors. Customers include Deloitte, SpaceX, Boeing, Comcast, Philips, Time Warner, GE, Merck, and Citrix, to name a few,” said Winquist.
What Does Jama Software Do?
Jama Software aims to transform and modernize product delivery at the world’s most innovative companies by bridging the gap between complex systems architecture and design and meaningful collaboration with its solution, called Jama Connect, which brings teams together in a way where they can structure their data to gain meaningful insights around what they are building and why.
From concept to launch and beyond, Jama Connect helps organizations bring complex products to the market by providing s a structured collaboration environment and involving every person invested in the organization’s success.
Jama Connect has found a strong fit with industries that are either highly regulated, life-, safety-, or economy-critical, such as aerospace and defense, automotive, and healthcare. It also aligns well with the needs of industries that are developing highly complex systems of systems like consumer or industrial technologies.
Jama Software Main Features
Through Jama Connect, Jama Software offers a whole host of innovative features intended to empower teams and give them the freedom to innovate and the tools they need to do their best work.
Jama Connect has a feature called Trace View, which enables live traceability across all requirements, test cases, and items, making it easier to understand the impact of change, navigate upstream and downstream relationships, and filter and export product-specific views. Jama Connect can even automatically mark downstream items from a modified item as suspect so they can be easily evaluated for impact later.
Jama Connect has full manual testing capabilities tied right into the product-development process, which enables teams to evaluate every stage from concept to test. Having tests organized and visible in one location allows for faster time to market and reduced risk. Integrations with other tools like Jenkins further allow users to pull automated test results into Jama, making it possible to evaluate a wide range of testing, coming from both within and outside of the platform.
By capturing feedback from stakeholders and making it possible to share product requirements among multiple teams, Review Center simplifies the review and approval process and makes it easier to iterate on specifications and confirm agreed-upon requirements. Reviewers can either simply mark items “Approved” or “Needs More Work” to complete the review or write a detailed response and make it clear exactly what needs to change and why.
Early and often collaboration is essential when working on complex products. Jama Connect makes real-time collaboration effortless by allowing users to see not only who is directly connected but also who is indirectly connected through related items. A discussion can be started with a simple click, and new users and stakeholders can be seamlessly invited into current conversations.
Jama REST API
Since Jama 8, users can take advantage of the Jama REST API and leverage it to customize Jama to their company and industry needs. For example, the Jama REST API can be used to create integrations that pull attachments from specified requirements managed in Jama for use in engineering tools, extract data from Jama for custom publishing into Word to support industry-specific documentation, or quickly create Jama items via email using a small application developed in Python.
Jama Software Limitations
The solutions provided by Jama Software have many strong points, but they certainly aren’t without limitations.
One of the limitation is the lack of customization using the tool. All Jama’s features are well designed but if you decide to go off the track with advanced filtering option, scripting or advance reporting, you will rapidly face strong limitation.
Another limitation of the tool is related to the performance itself. Jama’s software allow a limited number of requirements in its database (Jama recommends to have less than 25 000 items). While this limit won’t be a major issue for most of the projects, in some other cases it will be.
Even though Jama is great for managing requirements and traceability, it has just several out-of-the-box capabilities, and they are geared primarily toward Microsoft Office users. If you’re looking for robust reporting, Jama might not be best suited for you.
Expensive for small projects:
Jama’s licenses come with a hefty price tag and the addition of the associated consulting/ training services bring the entry cost. While this cost could be justified for projects that have more than 5 to 10 users, Price may be another issue for some customers because there are many Jama Software alternatives with a bigger ROI.
Market addressed => Jama has an high entry price which make them unsuitable for small projects (less than 5 users).
Jama Software Alternatives
Arguably the most compelling Jama software alternative on the market comes from Visure Solutions, Helix ALM, Prolarion or IBM Doors.
Ranked Best Tool by Info-Tech for the second year in a row, Visure Requirements is an easy and comprehensive Requirements Management tool that integrates in the same environment support for other processes such as risk management, issue and defect tracking, change management, and test management.
Visure Requirements has proven itself in many industries, including aerospace and defense, automotive, banking and finance, healthcare, and software development. It effortlessly accommodates different teams and cultures, provides a single web-based integration administration console, and minimizes wasted time on manual synchronization and endless meetings.