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

Enterprise Architect 12

This article continues our series of recent updates of selected requirements management (RM) tools that we have included in our list of RM tools. Focus today is on Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.

In spring 2015, Sparx Systems has published release 12 of its Enterprise Architect product. The main enhancements are new wireframing and database engineering support, new support for SML and XSLT definition. The list of new features:

  • Support for wireframing
  • Enhanced database engineering toolset for development of data models
  • Schema composer for developing XSD and other schemas from model elements
  • New support for XML and XSD editing and validation
  • XSLT debugger
  • Support for XMI merge using baseline merge sets
  • Default document handler
  • A new portals window as an additional UI element for navigating and building models
  • A navigator bar to provide more rapid access to current position within a model
  • Extended theme definition of user interface

In addition, the new release includes several other enhancements and additions, for instance to UI, requirements management functionality (new model patterns and extended requirements types), greater BPMN XML conformance, and inclusion of new standards and reference models.

For details check out the complete list of release updates in the following blog article from Sparx Systems: http://www.sparxsystems.com/products/ea/12/index.html

Jama Updates

This is the second article in our series of blog posts on notable updates from the requirements management (RM) tool market that happened since September 2014. It features updates concerning Jama.

Jama Software provides quarterly updates to their hosted SaaS solution and typically twice a year updates to the on-premise versions. Since our last update Jama Software provided the 2014.2 and 2015.1 on-premise versions.

While release 2014.1 focused on expanding the scope towards Jama’s vision of collaborative work the latest releases are clearly dedicated to improve the end-user experience with the tool.

Jama Software rearchitected the rich text editor. From an end-user perspective the new editor is now much more intuitive. The UI has a modern fresh touch. Drag and drop of images is supported as well as resizing them.

Users are now able to customize their login page individually. A couple of widgets with configurable settings can be used to optimize the personal experience.

To support progress tracking of development Jama has a new feature called “Rollup Fields” that lets users add a Progress Bar to an item that will indicate the progress made on related items. For example, if your team is working in Agile, you might have Stories related to Epics. Product Managers looking at the Epics can now see a roll-up of all progress being made on all Stories within a particular Epic.

Efficient and effective reviews of requirements ensure a joint understanding about what is desired for the product. Jama has strong capabilities to support reviews. Now public reviews have been added. This allows to add stakeholders for certain aspects to the requirement related discussions.

Time based filters have been added to restrict the result of filters to a certain range in time. E.g. Users can now easily see what happened during their last two weeks vacation period.

Often, some requirement attributes are used in a way that they depend on other attributes. Jama now supports calculated fields to provide automation capabilities in this context. This new functionality allows integer fields in an attribute to be calculated for sum, multiplication and average based on other attributes. Using this feature you may for example calculate your requirements priority based on other attributes representing estimations and risks.

Advanced Requirements reporting is provided in Jama by utilizing the BIRT infrastructure. Jama now supports BIRT 4.2.2 version. Among others, this improves performance of report generation, provides donut charts, and allows exports to .xlsx and .docx format files.

Details about Jama on-premise releases can be found here: https://community.jamasoftware.com/jama/topics/jama-on-premises-release-notes

VersionOne Updates

VersionOne

This blog is the first in a series of articles that we release prior to our next update of the RM tool list. It focuses on VersionOne, which is one of the RM tools that we list in the “Selected” section of our RM tools list.

VersionOne delivered 3 releases since our September 2014 update of the RM tool list:

Within this blog some features of the above referred to releases will be highlighted. The majority of new functionality focuses on large scale agile support. VersionOne has obviously identified large scale agile support as a key theme for those releases.

CA PPM integration: CA Technologies and VersionOne have partnered to build a native integration to connect CA PPM (formerly CA Clarity™ PPM) with VersionOne. This integration allows CA PPM business users to analyze and approve projects and gives them visibility into Agile project elaboration and execution within VersionOne.

Dependency Capabilities Expanded: “Dependency” is a special type of relationship in VersionOne. Dependencies help to schedule activities on items which depend on each other. VersionOne has built-in checking capabilities that warn users if items depend on each other, but are scheduled in the wrong sequence. VersionOne has now expanded the use of dependencies on any primary workitem: Story, Defect or Test Set.

Naming alignments: VersionOne started to align its portfolio planning capabilities. As a consequence a couple of items previously name “epic” are now using the term “portfolio”, e.g.: portfolio kanban (previously epic board) and portfolio timeline (previously epic time line). With these naming alignments VersionOne tries to eliminate some naming confusions specifically in regards to the SAFe framework.

Epic Dependency Visualization: This new view rolls up dependencies between workitems so that you can see all the interdependencies for your epics.

Strategic Themes allow to guide the top level planning for epics across the portfolio.

Epic Timeline Drilldown provides users the ability to drill-down on epics in the timeline view and see sub-items nicely aligned.

Reporting has been enhanced in several places. New and enhanced reports are now available even in the basic editions.

Scorecards are widely accepted as a central location for key metrics in software delivery. In VersionOne Scorecards are available for Programs, Projects, Portfolio Items and Teams. It’s a kind of a dashboard that is responsive and can be accessed from mobile devices as well.

Agile Communities are supported to establish, evolve and promote Agile best practices across teams and throughout the entire organization with the Communities capabilities in VersionOne.