Requirements for JIRA Added to RM Tools List

Are there any requirements management add-ons for Atlassian JIRA? Yes, there are. This article introduces one of them: Requirements for JIRA by ease solutions Pte Ltd. We added Requirements for JIRA together with another JIRA add-on, RMsis from Optimizory Technologies Pvt. Ltd (view brief tool overview), to our list of requirements management (RM) tools during our latest May 2015 update.

Availability and Vendor

Requirements for JIRA is an add-on product to Atlassian JIRA on-premise installations. It extends JIRA concepts and UI elements by specific requirements management features.

Requirements for JIRA is quite fresh on the market with its initial release 2.2.0 from March 2015 and two updates since then. The current version is 2.3.0. Its vendor ease solutions is a Singapore-based IT service provider with a track record as Atlassian partner including JIRA customization and development, and with a history of requirements-related service offerings. Requirements for JIRA has been their first JIRA add-on product made available on Atlassian Marketplace. Recently, they launched a second product there, a JIRA add-on for supporting JIRA administration.

Features and Characteristics

Notable features of Requirements for JIRA are:

  • Rich and flexible requirements structures
  • Various requirements-specific views and diagrams
  • Requirements revisions and baselines
  • Requirements reuse
  • Round-trip export/import of Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files

Information model: Requirements for JIRA plugs into the basic JIRA information model and extends it by additional concepts useful for requirements management. The central concept and basic information structure is a user-defined folder hierarchy (aka “requirements tree”). Any existing JIRA issue can be assigned to a folder and new issues can be created within folders. All issues that belong to this folder structure can use the features of Requirements for JIRA. Other important concepts of the information model are suspect flags on JIRA links, indicating potential impact of a requirements change on other dependent requirements, and baselines on the requirements hierarchy or on parts of it.

User interface: The Requirements for JIRA user interface adds a “Requirements” entry to the main JIRA menu line that provides access to several requirements-specific views. The main requirements view shows the requirements folder hierarchy and a reading view similar to a specification document. Additional views include requirements coverage, trace diagram, baseline comparison, and others.

Tool Assessment

Requirements for JIRA brings a wide spectrum of important and useful requirements management features to Atlassian JIRA and integrates them quite smoothly into the existing JIRA functionality. This is my impression after having studied the documentation and from a brief trial usage.

User documentation appears suitable for making a first acquaintance with the tool. Advanced features are not explained in much detail, which calls for exploring the lean and relatively intuitive user interface during trial usage. However, it is remarkable that such a young tool does include so many advanced features like coverage view, roundtrip export/import, and requirements reuse.

Overall, when looking for specific requirements management support in Atlassian JIRA, Requirements for JIRA can be an interesting candidate. It might be particularly attractive for organizations that want to extend JIRA usage across the development lifecycle starting with solid requirements practices, and that are prepared to act as early adopters.

Information Resources

Product Homepage at Atlassian Marketplace: https://marketplace.atlassian.com/plugins/com.easesolutions.jira.plugins.requirements

Product Homepage at Vendor Site: http://easesolutions.com/jira-requirements-management/

Product Documentation: https://easesolutions.atlassian.net/wiki/pages/viewpage.action;?pageId=5406725

RMsis New on RM Tools List

With the latest May 2015 update of our list of requirements management (RM) tools we newly included two requirements solutions that are add-on products to Atlassian JIRA: RMsis by Optimizory Technologies Pvt. Ltd. and Requirements for JIRA by ease solutions Pte Ltd. This blog article introduces RMsis. Requirements for JIRA will follow in a separate article.

RMsis Availability and Vendor

RMsis is an add-on product to Atlassian JIRA on-premise installations. It plugs into JIRA as a separate sub-product coming with its own user interface, data structures, user roles, and access rights. JIRA issues can be linked from RMsis items (e.g., requirements), and RMsis items can be exported into JIRA issues. Besides RM functionality, RMsis provides support for testing.

The initial release 0.2 of RMsis was made available in October 2010. The current major release 1.8.0 dates from March 2015 with two additional updates since. RMsis vendor Optimizory is located in New Delhi, with consulting partners in Singapore, India, Germany, the Benelux countries, and Turkey.

RMsis Features, Information Model, and User Interface

Important features of RMsis according to the product page at Atlassian Marketplace are:

  • Flexible information model
  • Requirement versions, baselines, and branches
  • Cross project dependencies between requirements
  • Traceability between RMsis artifacts with JIRA artifacts and RMsis test cases

Information model: RMsis’s information model is based on a general type of requirement, which comes with a set of default attributes. Attribute values of these default attributes can be customized, and additional attribute types can be added. Requirements hierarchy can be expressed using parent/child relationships and via assignment of hierarchical tags. Child requirements are the actual items that contain detailed requirements information.

User interface: The main requirements view of the user interface is a tabular presentation similar to a spreadsheet table. There is one view for each of the two predefined requirements categories of unplanned and planned requirements. Within these table views, table columns correspond with requirements attribute types.

Tool Assessment

I could not run a trial-use of RMsis, yet. So the information provided in this article is based on the vendor’s sources available in the public domain, which are relatively rich and detailed.

While the list of RMsis product features is long, I am not always convinced of their implementation: Overall, RMsis makes some strong assumptions on requirements structure and process that cannot be changed. So, interested customers should carefully check whether the tool meets their way of working. One should also be aware that RMsis is a separate system running within JIRA, adding its own configuration needs and usage concepts. On the plus side are that RMsis has quite a long track record and a relatively large user base, and that it includes basic support for testing and test management.

Information Resources

Product homepage at Atlassian Marketplace: https://marketplace.atlassian.com/plugins/com.optimizory.rmsis.plugin.jira-rmsis

Product homepage at vendor site: http://products.optimizory.com/rmsis

Product documentation of latest release: http://docs.optimizory.com/display/rmsis/RMsis+Documentation+-+Latest+Release

agosense.requirements Added to RM list

In the recent May 2015 update of our list of requirements management (RM) tools, we added – among other tools – agonsense.requirements. This article briefly introduces the tool, which comes with some interesting new concepts. Over the next few weeks, we will publish similar articles for other tools that we have added to the RM tools list.

The company agosense is relatively young. It was established in 2009. Their initial product agosense.symphony is a process integration platform for software engineering tools across the application lifecycle. So, agosense have collected a lot of experience in connecting requirements management tools with other application lifecycle tools.

Based on their multi-year integration experience with many existing requirements management tools, they decided to create their own RM solution. In November 2014, they announced the first release of agosense.requirements. I had a chance to get some impressions about the tool in January 2015 where I participated at the company event agosense.CONNECT 2015.

agosense.requirements is a web based requirements management solution which is available on premise. It offers typical requirements management capabilities like requirement types, tracing of items, reporting, and rich text support for requirements to name a few. agosense summarizes the key features under the terms of: usability, processes and infrastructure advantages.

So, what are specific characteristics of agosense.requirements that make it special compared to other RM tools? I will highlight some tool capabilities under the topics of:

  • Change and Version Management
  • Tool Integrations
  • Cost of Ownership
  • Performance and Scalability

Change Management: By servicing many companies in their requirements integration approaches agosense came to the conclusion that an RM tool shall support strong change management capabilities. That’s why they focus on change management from the very beginning. Every requirement must be associated to a previously defined change request or task. Requirements are tracked in so-called sheets. Within those sheets requirements can be associated to change sets. Change sets can be versioned, and even branched. Changes between versions are tracked at the detail level and made available to users via various display options.

Tool Integrations: Tool integrations are a long-standing core competency of agosense. Using agosense.symphony a large collection of tools can be connected to agosense.requirements, too. Specifically for interchanging requirements between tools, agosense supports established interchange formats like OSLC or ReqIF.

Cost of Ownership: According to agosense, several features of agosense.requirements contribute to an overall small footprint. In particular, there is no separate purchase of a database required. The tool is delivered with an embedded NoSQL DB. agosense claims, that there were no extensive DB administration necessary using this technology. In addition, the user interface is purely based on web technology. It does not require client-based installations and can be used through all modern web browsers.

Performance and Scalability: Based on the chosen server technology and data model agosense claims to have the fastest RM solution on the market. The selected NoSQL technology allowed for scaling-up the RM solution with almost no administration effort by simply adding new nodes to the environment.

We find these capabilities impressive for such a young product. However, up to now, we could not yet evaluate how agosense delivers on these claims. We might well follow-up with running a detailed evaluation and trial usage sometime in the next months.
Look forward for more exciting news to come on MakingOfSoftware.com.

agosense.requirements Information Resources on the Web:

Product web page: http://www.agosense.com/agosenserequirements

Video about change management with agosense.requirements:

http://www.agosense.com/english/media-library/webinars/aenderungsbasiertes-rm-mit-jira

List of RM Tools Updated

Today, we have published the new and updated May 2015 version of our list of requirements management (RM) tools. The previous version dated back from September 2014. Several vendors have since released new versions of their tools that we have referenced in the list. We have also removed several tools from the list that were obviously not maintained any more. Nine new tools have been added.

The list now includes 113 tools from which we feature 25 in a list of selected tools based on indicators of market share and market presence.

The extensions and updates to the May 2015 release of our RM tools list include:

  • All tools have been checked for availability and up-to-date web links to tool and vendor pages
  • Some tools have been added, some tool entries have been changed (e.g., name changes, new product bundles), several obviously outdated ones have been deleted
  • Due to the increasing popularity of the Jira platform we decided to include RM specific add-ons for Jira.
  • We decided to remove tools that focus nearly exclusively on diagramming/mock-up functionality. These tools are classified as RM supporting tools and will be handled separately.
  • All tools have been supplied with up-to-date version information (where available) and assigned to the relevant tool categories (e.g., RD, RM, Agile)

Since our previous version of the tool list from September 2014 some important changes happened. We have reported them in a series of blog posts. You might look up the articles for detailed information:

Another blog post gives a summary of additional updates to other tools.

In detail, we have performed the following changes to the set of tools included in the list.

Added:

  • agosense.requirements
  • ReqEdit
  • ReqSuite
  • Requirements for JIRA
  • RMsis
  • Rommana ALM
  • SOX2 RM
  • TREND/Analyst
  • Tuleap Enterprise

Renamed / Rebranded:

  • Blueprint Requirements Center into Blueprint
  • CA Clarity Agile into CA Agile Planning
  • ReqMan into RequirementONE Specification App

Removed:

  • Lucidchart has been removed, because we have reviewed and revised the tool classification; it is a diagramming and mock-up tool with very little RM-specific functionality
  • Reqtify has been removed, because we have reviewed and revised the tool classification; it is a specialized tracing tool lacking most other RM functionality
  • Requirements Management Database has been removed, because the product website is not available any more
  • rmtoo has been removed, because its open source project appears to be no longer active
  • VeroTrace has been removed, because we have reviewed and revised the tool classification; it is a specialized tracing tool lacking most other RM functionality

Included into list of selected tools:

  • Cognition Cockpit
  • in-STEP BLUE
  • Top Team Analyst

Polarion 2015

Polarion 2015 concludes our survey of version updates of selected requirements management (RM) tools. For a list of the other reviews check out the update announcement for our list of RM tools.

Polarion 2015 was released in March 2015. It is the latest major release, which are usually published once a year.

Live Reporting: Polarion has now adopted widget-based reporting that can be configured interactively. Previously, report definition required some coding. One of the widget types is a Gantt chart that provides a new way to visualize project planning data.

Cross Project Planning: Cross project planning adds a concept of hierarchies of projects. This allows for including items from connected projects into the plan of an overall project.

Signed Status Change: Explicit sign-off of review approval has been provided as a prerequisite for status changes of items to be reviewed.

Field-Based Permissions: Visibility and modification of work items can now be controlled on individual field level.

Polarion® Variants™: Polarion 2015 brings a new add-on product for variant management using feature models. The add-on bundles pure::systems‘s product pure::variants and integrates it into Polarion’s UI. Get more a detailed impression of this functionality from Polarion’s separate feature page.

Additional enhancements affect the management of hyperlinks, LiveDoc document components and layout, license management, performance, and implementation of underlying product concepts. If you want to look up details, check out Polarion’s blog article on the version update: http://blog.polarion.com/introducing-polarion-2015-whats-new-and-noteworthy/

A noteworthy new strategy of Polarion was to introduce the version update using an early access campaign. Important upcoming features were introduced during a series of blog posts and could be commented by users: http://www.polarion.com/2015/planning.php

Polarion 2015 was preceded by release 2014.3 in last December. 2014.3 featured enhancements to working with documents and wikis, new API elements as well as performance improvements: http://blog.polarion.com/polarion-2014-sr3-new-and-noteworthy/