Evaluating Requirements Management Tool
August 31, 2012 2 Comments
Being in the Software Industry for a long period and encountering innumerable software tools, makes me wonder, how about using a Requirements Management Tool to automate tedious tasks and manage requirements more efficiently. There are many Requirements Management Tools available, but did not know which one is the best. Googling ‘Requirements Management Tools’ lists tons of tools, each one boasting about its unique and unmatched features. For the next couple of weeks I would be trying to evaluate some of the tools, but first things first, what are my criteria for selecting a tool that suits me and my company’s budget. Pondering more on the criteria, I realized, I need a tool which can automate/ enhance requirements usability, reduce chances of error and save time. So, here I have a list of features/ functions that I would like to have in a tool:
1. Managing Requirements
The tool should allow creating/ updating/ deleting requirements. This includes – handling enriched formatting, Support Images, Categorize Requirements, Glossary, Index, Version Control, Text Search, Import/ Export Requirements, Assignment/ Access Control and handling Requirements Prioritization/ Accountability/ Criticality. Additionally, it would be great if the tool can identify requirements from a Business Document/ Problem Statement.
2. Cohesion of Requirements with Architectural components
Very often we need to verify whether the requirements are correctly addressed/ cohesion-ed in the proposed architectural components. This helps us to derive requirements from requirements or from architectural components. For example, identifying Performance Requirements, if the architecture talks about a WebService interface or identifying Website Tempering Prevention Requirements, if the architecture talks about an e-commerce application.
3. Traceability Analysis
One of the critical responsibility of a Business Consultant is verification of requirements by way of linking requirements with system components and test scenario-cases. Identifying inconsistencies or unlinked requirements, graphical/ pictorial representation of traceability to allow tracking each link, automatic updating links with changes in documents and verifying each requirement implementation is a great plus.
4. Requirements Approval Cycle
The tool should have a built-in workflow management, that supports capturing comments, corrections, multi-level approvals and email notification support. Typically there would be more than one team members accessing and updating the documents. The tool should support concurrent users.
5. Requirements Validity & Progress
I do want the tool to support spell-check and proof-Reading, requirement’s progress/ status and quality reporting. Additionally it would be great if the tool could help identify ambiguous requirements upfront based on pre-defined ambiguous terms and words (suggested by Prasad Kamath).
The tool should create outputs of requirements, architectural components, test scenario-cases, test cycle and test results. It should support both standard and customized outputs to include page, headers & footers, user defined tables and indexes, graphs and charts.
An ability to interact/ support with other tools like project planning tools to assess project status, support SQL queries to allow programmable access to data stored in the tool, support import/ export in various Data Exchange Formats (like EDS, XML), sync data/ information from different installations and copy & paste from popular word and list processing applications is wished.
8. Environment and User Experience
A need a robust requirements management tool that supports multiple platforms/ operating systems, mobile phone support, easy installation, an efficient internal database, low on user training/ learning curve, high on user experience, prompt/ fast processing time, support macros to automate tedious tasks, online help, support and maintenance and software updates.
Needless to say, the tool should be economical to buy :)
Please feel free to add/ debate evaluation criteria in the comments section.