Guidelines for choosing the right requirements management tool

Guidelines for choosing the Best requirements management tools

Getting the requirements ‘RIGHT’ is essential for guaranteeing a successful project. But do you think that is enough? Wouldn’t you require to manage it well during the project execution so that you achieve the expected outcomes? That is why requirements management is crucial to justify the project scope.  

It includes the elicitation, assessment, and management of requirements collected from stakeholders. Selecting the right tool to perform these processes is vital to lead to your project success. Utilizing the tool to its maximum ability for your work is equally vital to your project.  

But, before starting with the process of researching tools, you must list your objectives. These objectives will give you a clear idea of what you are looking for in a tool. Also, while testing the tool, you must check for its real-world usage to avoid wastage of time, money, and effort.  

In this article, we will help you understand the importance of best requirements management tools. We shall look into the key factors that define a good requirements management tool. Thus, this article will support you in the process of managing your project requirements to get the desired results.  

Importance of requirements management tools 

The best requirements management tools help you handle everything related to requirements. Thus, you can focus on making the requirements better and as per the project. A right requirements management tool: 

  • Helps you concentrate on collecting, analyzing, and validating requirements 
  • Eliminates the need for exchanging various edits between team members that creates confusion 
  • Maintains one single database of requirements for everyone to collaborate on for review, feedback, and improvement 
  • Creates linkages and dependencies between requirements and with business goals to facilitate identification of missing requirements or scope creep 
  • Keeps all the requirements and their historical versions intact to ensure a review or monitoring later on after the project completion 
  • Gives you a better representation or model of all requirements for better understanding that aids in decision making 
  • Provides a 360-degree view of the requirement along with related data, visualization, model, use cases, rules, and dependencies 
  • Automates the updating of the status of each requirement so that the team is aware of the project success 
Need help with managing your requirements?
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Features of the Best requirements management tools

There is no perfect requirements management tool. But, yes, there is the right tool for your business needs. A tool becomes the right tool for you based on your requirements, desired system, and the process of developing that system.

You need to do thorough research of the market to find the right tool for your project. If you skip this process, you might end up using a tool not suitable for your business. That might lead to longer times, higher costs, or complicated processes. These situations will harm the project, thereby leaving no scope for achieving the expected outcomes.

Some of the key factors to look out for in any requirements management tool are:

Easy to use tool

The tool must be easy to use for every technical and non-technical person involved in the project team. Ease of use means the process of entering requirements and editing them must not be complicated. You must be able to categorize requirements into different types, have a visual representation, and sort and filter options must be available.

All of these features and attributes make it a convenient tool. Thus, a non-technology person will be able to use it without anyone else’s help or training needs.

Ability to use it offline

The tool for requirements management works best when online. But you must be able to work on it offline as well. When you get online access to the database of requirements, you must be able to merge the work done while being offline.

Ability to elaborate requirements to a granular level

The tool must have the functionality to explain one requirement in different ways down to multiple levels. This may include categorizing them into smaller levels and representing them in visuals for better understanding. For example, creating stories, test cases, acceptance criteria, and many more using the tool’s web interface.

This helps in converting requirements to tasks for the project team. Also, adding something like acceptance criteria allows the team to test each requirement. After testing, you can report the results to accelerate the development process.

Availability of history of changes and versions

Requirements keep on changing until the product is finally developed. The requirement management tool must be such that all the past changes made in the requirements must be available on the tool. This helps you to avoid duplication of changes and refer them whenever needed.

Feature of sharing, feedback, and approval

Gathering and finalizing requirements is not a one-man exercise. Although only one person may be involved in discussing with stakeholders and knowing their inputs. But, you need to keep every project team member in the loop to have an alignment. Such real-time collaboration over the tool makes the validation of requirements faster and smoother.

That is why the requirements management tool must have the feature to share requirements with others. The manager must be able to give accessibility to a few people to look at the requirements and add or edit them. The tool must lock in the feedback available for each along with a history of all versions. Also, the tool must have the approval and sign-off functionality to give the final go-ahead to the project.

Customized dashboards

The tool must have the feature of creating customized dashboards as per the project needs. You must be able to group requirements into different categories or types. And, then the option of creating personalized dashboards for different categories improves users’ comprehension of requirements. This, along with a customizable reporting feature, aids in the development process.

The dashboard must have the attribute of displaying the status of each requirement. This helps the team to know when a requirement has been fulfilled, in the development process, in the testing phase, or not yet touched upon. Ensure that you are not required to buy a separate consulting package for customization.

Display interconnectedness and dependencies

The tool must have the functionality to display the dependencies between requirements. This will enable you to identify what changes will occur in other requirements when a change occurs in one.

A link to the source of each requirement also helps in knowing its origin. This information is essential when you have to make changes to any requirement.

Option to search, sort, and filter requirements

The tool must have the functionality to search any specific requirement based on keywords. It needs to have the option to allow the user to sort the requirements as per some built-in rules. The user must be able to filter the requirements based on some factors defined while entering requirements.

Option to import and export requirements in some defined format

The requirements management tool must have the ability to export requirements in some format to be used offline. Also, importing requirements from Word or Excel or any other format must be available to make the operations smoother.

Facility to collaborate with other tools

The requirements management tool must be easily integrable with other tools and systems. You might be using different systems for other processes of the project. These systems may require information from the tool to manage the project. Thus, the integration feature helps to avoid duplication of work and make processes smoother.

Possibility of managing multiple projects’ requirements

The requirements management tool must not be a one-project tool. It must be able to handle the requirements management for multiple projects. The functionality must be able to handle the data of multiple projects with no confusion or mix-up of data.

Availability of training or learning programs

The tool that you finalize must have a detailed manual on ‘how to use the tool’. The availability of a virtual or in-person training facility can work wonders for your team. So, select a tool from a vendor that makes it easy for you to use the tool.

Cost is a primary consideration

Above is the list of features you must look for while selecting a good requirements management tool. But, we all understand how ‘COST’ is an important criterion for any organization’s decision to buy a tool. The price of such tools depends on the number of users per tool.

So, evaluate your budget for the project before selecting a tool. You also have to consider factors such as the number of users, desktop or web access, and the latest or old version that will affect the pricing. Also, keep in mind whether there are any hidden costs or maintenance costs that you may have to spend in the future.

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Best Requirements Management Tools 

Some of the well-known tools for requirements management that are available in the market include: 

  • Visure 
  • Jama Software 
  • IBM Rational DOORS 
  • ReQtest 
  • IRIS Business Architect 
  • Blueprint 
  • HP ALM 
  • SpiraTeam 
  • Atlassian JIRA 
  • Xebrio 
  • And many more 

Conclusion

Thus, there are a lot of options for best requirements management tools available in the market. You are also aware of the features to look for in a tool. So, get started with your project and have an effective requirements management process.

You can also hire a professional services firm with expertise in requirements management. It can help you with collecting, prioritizing, analyzing, documenting, and managing requirements. You can get the best management of requirements that can help you realize project success.

About Technovisors

Technovisors is an expert IT consultant for companies across the world. We have been handling IT projects for many clients in different geographies. In addition, we also handle the digital marketing and data analytics needs of companies.

We help companies in gathering requirements from relevant stakeholders using various techniques. Our professionals manage the assessment, documentation, and prioritization of requirements as well. We manage everything about requirements until the project goals are achieved.

Start using Technovisors’ requirements management services
To get your requirements right
To make your processes easier
To deliver high-quality products
And, to make your stakeholders happy

FAQs On Best Requirements Management tool

Word and Excel are not good requirements management tools because of the following reasons: 

  • It is difficult to show interrelationships between requirements on these tools 
  • Real-time collaboration between members and stakeholders becomes difficult 
  • With these tools, you have to save a lot of versions to track changes in requirements 
  • You cannot give a defined structure to all your requirements along with their related data 
  • There is frequent give and take of edits between the team members, which results in confusion and delays 

Yes, we support businesses in selecting the best tool suited to your requirements. For this, we study the purpose of the project, expected outcomes, and stakeholders. Based on this, we find out a few tools for your needs. Then, we finalize the tool based on your budget and other requirements.  

About the Author

Pathik Shah

(CISA, FCA, CS, DISA (ICAI), FAFP (ICAI))

Pathik is a multi-disciplinary professional with more than 22 years of experience in compliance, risk management, accounting, system audits, IT consultancy, and digital marketing. He has extensive knowledge of Anti-Money Laundering rules and regulations, and he helps companies comply with legal requirements. Pathik also helps companies generate value from their IT investments.