Enhancing the clarity of your requirements can dramatically improve the outcome of your software projects. It can prevent project failure, uncover latent errors early enough and reduce miscommunication. Creating and managing clear and expressive requirements in today’s agile enterprises is often a tedious and daunting task. Luckily, modern requirements definition and management (RDM) systems were created specifically to help with this process. This post lists 5 different benefits you can expect to get out of a modern requirements definition and management system.
#1 – Automatically generate documents
A requirements workbench will enable you generate requirements documents automatically from the information in the requirements model. This means that more time can be spent on analyzing and improving requirements instead of on the mechanical tasks of producing and maintaining a requirements document. You get the document without the effort.
#2 – Easily create simulations
A modern requirements platform enables you transform a requirements model into an animated and live simulation. Simulations make reviews far more effective and sometimes even enjoyable. Simulations should leverage all content in the model including textual requirements, use cases, visualizations and data, integrating them into a single “vision” of the future application.
Traceability is a critical part of the review process. When reviewing requirements, you must be able to relate them to the original business need. Requirements software exposes this traceability not only during requirements authoring tasks, but also during the simulations used for analysis and review.
In addition, simulations can generate comments, feedback, and discussions that need to be recorded and managed so that they’re not missed and are made readily accessible. A modern requirements workbench will record this informal input during the simulation and make it accessible throughout the system so that everyone is aware of the discussions and the authors can use them to effect change.
#3 - Automatically generate tests
A requirements workbench will automatically generate tests from the requirements defined in the model. This functionality is extremely valuable to QA professionals on software projects. These tests cover many usage scenarios throughout the model and display, for each step, the relevant screens, data and externally referenced materials. Each test generated should also be traceable to the requirement(s) it helps to prove.
#4 - Integrate with development & test tools
Developers and testers “consume” and ultimately base their work on requirements. It’s therefore very important that requirements be readily available to them as well. Today’s requirements software integrates with popular UML design and QA testing toolsets to automatically provide high-quality and expressive requirements content where it is needed most.
#5 – Easily manage changing requirements
With more expressive requirements, most change will occur at the beginning of the project when alterations are relatively inexpensive. The modern requirements workbench provides several capabilities to help manage change. Some of these include:
- Traceability: As mentioned earlier, a good requirements management software supports the traceability of all requirement artifacts; provides quick and easy mechanisms to create relationships; and makes traceability information available as you work. It also provides sophisticated views into traceability for deeper analysis. Traceability is very important for analyzing the impact on the project as requirements change.
- Versioning: All changes to requirements are tracked so that you can review their revision history.
- Auditing: Comprehensive historical data detailing who changed what and when the change was made is recorded.
- Difference: The differences between any two versions of requirement artifacts can be seen instantly side by side regardless of the form of expression.
Historically, a key problem of software requirements has been a lack of clarity and expressiveness, leading to miscommunication and misunderstanding among project team members. Multiple forms of expression can mitigate this problem. The integration of these forms into a single unified model makes this approach both manageable and scalable. Modern requirements software make creating clear and expressive requirements possible and practical.