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Is Requirements Management Obsolete?

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Is Requirements Management Obsolete?

How are you managing your requirements? Does your method provide through-cycle traceability? No? You're not alone. Read on to find out how to fix your situation.

· DevOps Zone
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Requirements management is critical to software development, and yet, a surprisingly large number of developers still use tools not suited for Requirements Management (including Microsoft Office) at the most basic of levels. Considering that the single biggest cause of failure for software development projects is inadequate Requirements documentation, it begs the question: why are not developers upgrading from more basic tools such as Office and standalone Requirements Management tools?

There are many Requirements Management tools available, one might say that the market is saturated. Now we come to the crux of the matter and the answer we seek, it is usually at the point of saturation that such software is in danger of becoming obsolete, integrated into development suites that offer more in every sense of the word, more integrated, more holistic. Therefore we argue that standalone RM software is becoming obsolete, replaced or integrated into a bigger whole.

Standalone vs. Integrated Requirements Management Software

Why use a standalone Requirements Management software when you can have an entire development ecosystem, managing not just requirements management but also many other aspects of development management, and for the same price?

One might counter-argue here that the best-in-class tools are specialist tools and that the focus is solely on making the best RM software available. However, this siloed thinking is at the heart of many problems associated with software development failure. Complete traceability and transparency must be maintained across the entire application lifecycle, which is a key reason why RM software is well on its way to becoming obsolete. For example, all software is tested against the project requirements, so the very concept of having the management of Requirements and Testing separate is, as we would argue, completely ludicrous. Complete transparency must be maintained on any and all decisions related to testing, what to test, and how to test. Even with API integration options supplied by some RM Software providers, they cannot match the benefits of a completely integrated ALM Software or platform.

Using different tools for different tasks increases the risks of failure and data leakage. For every additional tool from yet another vendor, there is yet another point of contact for support and potential failure (not forgetting yet another silo of independent data), as well as more user logins, passwords, and sets of security protocols to manage.

The requirements for collaboration, transparency, and traceability across the entire Application Development Lifecycle is a key reason why RM software is becoming obsolete.

Reasons to Use ALM Software With Integrated Requirements Management

High profile software failures such as those causing mass disruption of airlines and automotive recalls are intensifying calls that action should be taken to improve software quality beyond what the typical RM software can deliver. This issue is far bigger than just requirements management alone, affecting the entire development ecosystem. This can most simply and effectively be addressed by utilizing ALM software that covers all the areas of development.

Improvements in software quality and performance are most aptly made by taking an integrated management approach and utilizing ALM Software for Application Development.

The logical step for governmental oversight in software development is to require Agile ALM Software be used but until regulators catch up to this thinking, there is still much that can be done to reduce the risk of software development projects. The most obvious risk reduction step for any company starting out on a software development project is to require ALM Software be used. If outsourcing the development, contracts should stipulate the use of Agile ALM Software by developers, why not specify the best solution or vendor your industry.

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Topics:
devops ,requirements management software ,software testing ,alm software

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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