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More moves are in train to bring Requirements Management (RM) out of its fusty corner of esoteric technical argument and into the mainstream of applications development planning.

Indeed, the whole area of Applications Lifecycle Management (ALM) is a hive of activity as new tools start to appear, and the arrival of Mingle, the new tool from ALM consultants, ThoughtWorks, aims to take RM capabilities out of its corner so that non-technical members of development teams can get properly engaged in the process.

Mingle has been specifically designed to help Agile development teams bring new applications to production, providing them with tools to document the development process, track bugs, capture requirements, and link code to requirements.

ThoughtWorks has been using Agile techniques for RM definition work for some time and one of the particular claims the company makes for the need for Mingle is the fact that non-technical, non-developer staff such as business analysts, quality assurance teams, project managers and users of the applications are an important part of any RM team. So it has designed the tool to accommodate their input and foster their involvement and collaboration across the requirements process.

The target, according to the company, is to make the RM process an enjoyable one, because that way teams work better together and produce better quality results.

The company already distributes tools such as RubyWorks and Enterprise CruiseControl, but Mingle is the first tool to come from within the company itself. Development started using Ruby on Rails and JRuby but the development team, centred in Sydney, Australia, finished the job in true ‘eat your own dog-food’ style by using the early development stages of Mingle to develop the rest of the application.

Mingle is available on 30 days trial as a free download, and will remain free to RM project teams of five or less people, as well as for most open source projects. Academic institutions and non-profit-making organisations can also use the tool for no payment. It is available for use on Windows, Macintosh and Unix platforms, and pricing details for RM teams of five or more can be found here. ®

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