IBM Rational RM Portfolio Update

In our third article on recent updates on the requirements management (RM) tool market, we will take a look on IBM Rational. As one of the major players and with the past Rational and Telelogic acquisitions, IBM has had a diverse portfolio of requirements-related products. In past editions of our RM tools list, we used to include IBM Rational RequisitePro (not marketed any more), IBM Rational DOORS, IBM Rational Requirements Composer, IBM Notes (not a specialized RM tool, but traditionally a basis of quite many customized in-house RM solutions), IBM Focal Point (for RM-related product management and portfolio management), and IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation.

In June this year (2014), IBM Rational performed another move to consolidate its RM tools portfolio: IBM Rational Requirements Composer has been merged with IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation and will be discontinued some time in the future once the support period will be over. You might want to read IBM Rational’s blog post for details and background information.

Now it is clear that IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation will be the key requirements solution on the Jazz platform. One can also expect that DOORS Next Generation (consider its name …) will at one day become the successor of IBM Rational DOORS. However, I am not aware of any official statement from IBM Rational that this will happen, not to speak of when this will happen. As of now, with DOORS’s huge installed base and the many customizations used in the field, quite some time might pass until IBM Rational publicly touches the phase-out of DOORS. This is even more plausible when taking into account that DOORS Next Generation is being build on an entirely new technological basis, and that its name is the main element it has in common with the traditional DOORS product. So there might still be required considerable efforts and time until a smooth transition path to the “next generation” will be created.

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Jama Version 2014.1 & New Release Strategy

This is the second article in our series of blog posts on notable updates from the requirements management (RM) tool market that happened since February 2014. It features updates concerning Jama, mainly the with its new spring release 2014.1, presented in April 2014.

Jama 2014.1 brings two main features: Advanced support for management of trace relationships, and a new feature to support social interaction and user notification on requirements. In addition, Jama has modified its product release strategy, focusing more on its SaaS version. The SaaS version has recently received updates about once a month, including defect fixes and feature enhancements, while the on-premises version has been updated only with one major release during the past six months.

The remainder of this article dives deeper into these enhancements and changes, in order to provide existing Jama customers with more specific information.

Relationship rules & relationship status indicators: Trace relationships between items (e.g., business requirements, system requirements, user stories, epics, test cases) can be defined using rules. Project administrators can define for each relationship type what are the source and target item types the relationship type connects, and whether the relationships shall be included into coverage calculations. The rule set is also displayed graphically in the relationship administration window. Once a project has such relationship rules assigned, the creation of relationships between items in this project will be guided by the rules. For a given source item, only allowed relationship types will be offered. And only those target items will be available that fit the relationship type. This also avoids defining relationships with the wrong orientation (i.e., direction of the relationship).

Based on the defined relationships rule set, new relationship status indicators show for a given item how many related items it has, and whether its relationships comply with the defined relationship rules. Suspect links are indicated this way, too. The basic status indicator is part of the item view. But a similar new indicator can be added to list view.

Connected users: Connected users is another new concept added to each item. In item view, and again similarly in list view, an icon indicates how many users are associated to an item. This covers the item’s creator, editor, or who has commented, subscribed or been @ mentioned on this item. The connected users feature facilitates social interaction on items. It can also be used to find out about the popularity of requirements or product ideas. Connected users are organized in circles according to their association or involvement with the item. Users from these lists can easily be included into collaboration stream messages when discussing on an item or when sending notifications.

For details on the new features, you may consult the following information sources:

What else is new concerning Jama? One thing is the new naming scheme of versions. Jama has moved away from its seasons-related versioning scheme (e.g., “Spring version”) to indicating the calendar year and just enumerating the individual releases (e.g., “2014.1″)

The other, related but more important news is that Jama’s release strategy now distinguishes between its hosted SaaS version and the version offered for on-premise installation. The SaaS version is being updated in relatively frequent cycles, while feature updates and bug fixes for the on-premise version have been quite rare in the past months. The new 2014.1 features went live in the SaaS version on April 19, and the SaaS version has undergone seven updates until September 13. Some updates have contained many defect fixes, and feature enhancements occurred several times. For the same period, the on-premises release notes list only the release of 2014.1 was published on May 15 and an immediate defect fix on May 16.

Customers might want to evaluate carefully what release strategy fits best to their needs, and whether they want to go for SaaS or on-premise. In addition, the fast-moving SaaS offering provides a good opportunity for exploring and evaluating new features before they become available in the on-premises version.

For more information on releases and feature updates you may look up the following websites:

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HP ALM 12 Requirements Management Updates

In March 2014, soon after we had published the February 2014 update of the Requirements Management (RM) tools list, HP Software released a new version of its HP Quality Center / ALM product: HP ALM 12. (HP Quality Center and HP ALM are two different editions of the same base product.) During summer, also HP ALM 12.01 became available with additional feature enhancements. HP Software has also coined the term HP Apps 12 to denote the entire product family of its release 12 products, such as HP Unified Functional Testing, HP Performance Center, and several others. The “Apps” term shall also indicate the increasing support for mobile apps development.

The HP ALM 12 update is important from a requirements management perspective: HP Software has renovated and re-implemented the HP ALM’s requirements module. First, new features have been added to the traditional Internet Explorer web client. Second, a completely new web-based client has been implemented. It supports a wide range of browsers and can be used from mobile devices, too. The new web client provides an entirely new user experience and also enables new features. Users might know the new look-and-feel already from HP Software’s Agile Manager product. In addition, with HP ALM 12, the defect management module is available with a new web client as well.

The new RM features of HP ALM 12 and 12.01 include:

  • More flexible layout of customized item type presentations
  • New authoring mode in a wordprocessor-like style
  • Extended drag-and-drop functions
  • Enhanced traceability view
  • Integration with HP Agile Manager

Some of these new features are available in only one of the RM module’s two client versions (due to technological reasons), others are available in both versions.

For details check out the following resources of HP Software:


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List of RM Tools: New Version Upcoming

In a few days from now, we will publish the next updated version of our list of requirements management (RM) tools. The current version dates from February 2014. In the meantime, many vendors have released new extended versions of their tools, or they have otherwise changed their product strategy or portfolio. We could also add a few more relevant tools to the list.

The main tool updates and events since February deserve some more information and explanation than just an updated version number in the list. For this purpose, we are starting a small series of blog posts that feature interesting and important news from the tool market since last February. We focus on our “selected” subset of tools that we find particularly relevant. The blog posts will appear in roughly chronological order following the dates of the reported tool updates and events.

The first news today introduces the updates to the requirements module of HP ALM 12 and 12.01.

The second post addresses Jama’s new version 2014.1 and its new release strategy.

Stay tuned. We are looking forward to publishing the updated RM tools list very soon.


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Tools for Product Management

On September 17, I will be speaker at this years product management festival in Zurich.

I will provide an overview about tools that support product managers to do their jobs. More and more tool provider recognize, that product manager and product owner have specific needs and start to address these. Even completely new products show up. I will provide an overview and visualize recent trends in tooling. It will be fun to discuss these with the intended target audience.

Gerald Heller

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