Before you start your evaluation consider:
- What do you need the requirements management software for?
- How large are your projects?
- What is your ROI for acquiring a requirements management tool?
Most business or organizations start out with Microsoft Office, but eventually realize they need to move on to requirements management software. Microsoft Office was not designed for such data intensive work. Below are must have requirements for your requirements management software selection.
Automatically tracks changes or baselining
The most important feature in your requirements management software is the ability to automatically track changes. Start with this feature. If the requirements management tool you are considering does not have this available, then move on to your next search. You should be able to track changes back to the origin of the requirement and every change after the origin. The ability to track which team member made the change is also valuable. Make sure that the tool you are evaluating has the ability to trace requirements to external artifacts such as RFPs or documents.
In today’s world there is no reason to not have collaboration with your requirements management tool. With cloud computing technology, requirements management tools with collaboration are a must. You need to make sure your entire team can work on the same project at the same time. In addition to just being able to work on the same project in real time you also want to have easy document sharing and communicate through chat or discussion threads. The collaboration allows the stakeholder to continuously review requirements rather than waiting until the very end. This method creates much more accurate requirements, which reduces your risk. When all the stakeholders are on the same page the time to market decreases and quality increases.
Short Learning Curve
People still use Microsoft Office for their requirements, because it is easy to use and requires minimal training. As discussed earlier Microsoft Office makes a poor substitute for an actual requirements management tool. Choose a tool that provides a short learning curve for your team. If your team is never able to learn how to use all the features, then the tool will just waste your money. Look for opportunities to reduce the learning curve with built-in help, training classes, great support staff, and an easy user interface. When you evaluate the tool use a scenario similar to what you normally would use rather than their sample scenarios.
Many RM tools have hidden costs, such as set up fees, support fees, or mandatory training fees. Avoid these hidden costs by researching the total cost. Make sure to calculate your ROI before you start looking at cost. This approach will give you a good idea at where to set your maximum budget.
Consider the size of your projects. If they are relatively small this requirement will not be a high priority. If they are large, then this may be your top priority. Again with cloud computing your options expand. Requirements management software that uses cloud computing will have a lot more scalability.
You want the tool to provide the ability to take you to the next phase after requirements management and continue through the entire lifecycle. If requirements analysis is your next phase or part of your requirements management process, then you need features that will allow you to do that. These features include quality factors for what makes a good requirement (clarity, completeness, verifiability, etc.) It is even better if they can automatically create models and diagrams from your requirements or requirements from your models and diagrams (architecture).
List of Requirements Management Tools
Remember requirements management takes more than just a good tool, it takes good requirements. The next article is on Requirement Selection: What Makes a High Quality Requirement?” Or check out “7 Rules of Thumb to Help Create Better Operational and System Requirements.”
Topics: Requirements Management