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: