Work Culture is essential when adopting a new Requirements Management tool. Every enterprise already has systems or mechanisms in place to manage documentation, this includes the creation, review, approval, storage and distribution of, and the subsequent modification of documentation. The very idea of updating documentation handling suggests that there should be an improvement and simplification of current systems by doing so, and you would be right. However, just upgrading alone is insufficient. New technology comes with new functionality, and to ensure old practices are discarded and new functionality adopted, a sea change of working practices is recommended, a work culture change requires training.
Physical documentation is tangible, the touch and feel of paper provides the feel of authenticity, whereas virtual storage of documentation is rather the storage of copies, – usually not considered the original. This misconception, that virtual documentation is ‘not the original’ is a key roadblock to successful adoption of Requirements Management Tools and often leads to the duality of storage with both virtual and physical storage. It is extremely important for all project contributors, including stakeholders, to accept that the original documentation resides in the requirements database.
Effective Change Management for Requirements Management Tools.
Aside from training, there are several other things that can be done to aid the transition from an old requirements and document management system to a new one. Firstly and most importantly, set a deadline for a switch-over from physical to virtual storage of original documentation. Secondly, identify enthusiastic early adopters and make them change ambassadors, – facilitators for tool adoption in each department.
Requirement Types – Keep it Simple.
One of the strongest arguments for a Requirements Management tool is the functionality it provides for the traceability of requirements, this is often necessary to be compliant with industry standards set by industry regulators. The increased complexity that full transparency demands comes with a heavy price and that is the burden of administration. In the case of Requirements Management, administration comes in the form of maintenance of the requirements documentation. When setting up requirements types, consider what is needed, requirements types such as those necessary to comply with industry standards are not optional but many others are. Consider how your team will use the tool, and only then consider what your team can realistically handle with regards to responsibility. Every single additional Reqirement Type adds additional traceability links which in turn creates increasing complex and usually, unnecessary reports. Before going down this path, – ask the question “What do we want the data for?”.
Change and Configuration Management
Another useful feature of Requirements Management tools is the ability to set access permissions for individuals and user groups (Change & Configuration Management). These permissions control who can read, write to and modify data in the requirements database. This feature is especially useful for dispersed development teams where sensitive information must be controlled and secured.
Requirements Management is one of the core modules of codeBeamer ALM software. It is also available separately as a standalone tool. It enables software development teams to be compliant with regulations within the Automotive, Aviation and Medical Industries. To find out more about the requirements management features of codeBeamer ALM software, see our Requirements Management Feature List and videos.