Do companies actually need requirement management tools? If so, what are the best options on the market, and how can you select the best tool for your particular environment?
Over the past decade, I have been repeatedly asking one question of myself, my managers, and my colleagues each time I start a new project in a new organization: Are requirement management tools essential to successful and streamlined requirement lifecycle management in organizations?
Research shows that the majority of companies depend on Microsoft® Excel® or Microsoft® Word® for managing their requirements. With that in mind, let's start by taking a deeper look at requirement management tools and what they bring to the table.
What is a Requirement Management Tool?
Simply put, requirement management refers to the practice of eliciting, analyzing, modeling, and documenting stakeholder business needs. Requirement management tools, as the name suggests, are the means by which we streamline and facilitate this process.
Key Benefits of Requirement Management Tools
There are many benefits associated with requirement management tools, the most important of which is having a centralized location to store information where all stakeholders have access to the latest information in real-time, eliminating an outburst of documents flying around as email attachments or uploaded into other collaborative platforms.
Additional benefits include:
- Review and feedback mechanisms;
- Approval/rejection workflows;
- Modeling capabilities;
- Change management; and much more!
Who Uses Requirement Management Tools?
In the early phases of projects, business analysts, business stakeholders, product managers, and product owners are among the principal users of requirement management tools. As projects progress, developers, architects, technical leads, and the QA team will also start utilizing these tools.
Top Tools on the Market
Now that we share the same knowledge about requirement management tools, let’s take a peek at a few of the available tools and their best-known features.
After thorough market research, I came across many different options with different strengths; however, there were a few names that presented themselves multiple times: Modern Requirements, Jama, and Visure.
Before proceeding, it's important to note that a complete analysis of these tools and an in-depth study of the functionalities they offer is out of the scope of this post; for the sake of our analysis, we are only focusing on a few of the main features offered by each tool.
Modern Requirement: This requirement lifecycle management tool features a review management process, traceability matrices, and change management and modeling capabilities. Known as one of the most popular options, this tool also has an intuitive interface. Organizations can access a 30-day trial version upon registration.
Jama: One of main focuses of this tool is to streamline and improve the product development lifecycle. It provides real-time collaboration and project frameworks based on industry standards, e.g. Agile, Scaled Agile, etc. This tool also offers a free 30-day trial available upon registration.
Visure: Last but not least, Visure is a cloud-based requirement management tool with traceability, task management, and reporting features, among others. Visure offers a free trial as well.
How to Ensure a Successful Adoption
To conclude, requirement management tools give organizations a platform on which to work smarter as a unified team since they provide a single source of truth complemented by a great user experience. It's important to note, however, that successfully incorporating these tools within the organization is heavily dependent on how well the tool fits within the end-to-end project lifecycle and the organization’s ecosystem.
In other words, the more mature the organization is in terms of well-defined processes and project lifecycle management practices, the higher the chances of success will be. Selecting a strong requirement management tool can play a key role in the success of its implementation, but to optimize results, the tool must be tailored to the processes and governance around it.
Often, the bigger challenge is streamlining disconnected processes and getting buy-in from the various stakeholders and parties involved in the organizational transformation.
What is your take on this topic?
Please feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts and experiences!
Shadi Moradi is a Business Analyst at Avenue Code. She brings an Agile mindset to every challenge and is enthusiastic, tactical, and adaptable. Passionate about curating new products and empowered with business and technical acumen, she has been engaged with business stakeholders and third-party engineering teams co-leading technology and product-based deliveries for over a decade. She is always ready to blaze different trails, take ownership, and execute tasks with maximum commitment and a can-do attitude!