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Fast trekkin' to requirements

Who's afraid of requirements management?

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Many people in IT are scared of managing requirements, especially in smaller companies, according to Andy Gurd, director of product marketing at Telelogic (which sells the excellent DOORS requirements management tool).

Some of this is understandable, since requirements management is sometimes associated with "high ceremony" process and the risk that you may spend all your time building requirements models instead of actual software.

Sometimes it is even more understandable since, in some companies, software development is driven by politics and "empire building" rather than by what the business really needs. In such companies, transparency from business requirements through to software delivery might be seriously career-limiting for some corporate fat cats!

However, even if a company wants to address this situation, change must be managed, and simply imposing an expensive software development lifecycle package may not be enough to achieve a more mature development approach. Implementing expensive shelfware is always a possibility.

Telelogic has an impressive market share in mature areas such as telecomms, aerospace and ISVs generally, where defects aren't tolerated and the importance of managing requirements is taken for granted. It now wants to expand into less specialised areas and it needs something "lite" and non-threatening in the way of a tool – but one which still supports migration to DOORS and a full ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) environment as or when the customer sees the benefits being delivered from a more mature process.

So, Telelogic adapted and extended its Focal Point technology. Focal Point is a tool for product assessment based on model-based requirements and pair-wise comparisons of "wish-list" features.

Its new tool is called Telelogic DOORS Fastrak and Gurd claims that it has "just enough" process. It comes with preconfigured requirements management workflows out of the box and implements a role-based approach, with "views" into the repository appropriate to business stakeholders, product/project managers and developers.

It's web-based – but not part of Eclipse (yet), although Synergy, Tau and Rhapsody all have Eclipse plug-ins. And DOORS partner Embedded Plus already markets DoorKeeper for Eclipse, which supports the integration of DOORS and other Eclipse-based products and plug-ins, so I believe Gurd when he says Eclipse support is on the roadmap. Telelogic is also looking at Microsoft VSTS integration - and if any allegedly full lifecycle environment needs third-party Requirements Management tools today, it's VSTS.

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