List of RM Tools Updated: September 2014 Version

Today we published an updated version of our list of requirements management (RM) tools. The previous version dated back from February. Many vendors have since released new extended versions of their tools. We have also removed several tools from the list that were obviously not maintained any more. Three new tools and a few vendors’ portfolio updates could also be added to the list.

What has happened on the RM tools market since last February? During the past days, we have issued a series of blog articles that summarize the main news on those tools we find most important. Here’s the list of these blog posts. They have appeared in roughly chronological order following the dates of the reported tool updates and events:

The extensions and updates in this new September 2014 version 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tools have been added, some tool entries have been changed (e.g., name changes, new product bundles), several obviously outdated ones have been deleted
  • 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)

In summary, notable changes to the set of RM tools have been:

  • IBM Rational Requirements Composer has been removed from the list, because IBM Rational has merged it with its other product IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation
  • Aha!, innoslate, and ReqView have been added to the list; Aha! is a promising new tool targeted at product managers; innoslate is a relatively new tool that was introduced in October 2012, and that came on our radar only after our last update in February; ReqView is a new tool still in beta release, but the beta is free of charge, and the tool might be interesting especially for light-weight entry-level requirements management
  • Borland renamed Caliber RM into just Caliber
  • microTOOL renamed in-Step into in-STEP BLUE and objectiF Requirements Modeller into objectiF RM
  • Serena dropped its bundle Serena Requirements Manager, that we had listed; instead, we now list the core product Serena Dimensions RM
  • The following tools were removed from the list, because it appears they are not actively maintained any more (i.e., their websites have not received any obvious updates since the last three years): GMARC, Reqline, RTIME, ScopeTracker, TraceCloud, and workspace; RQS has been removed, because we regard it a plug-in product and not a full-fledged RM solution

In the coming few weeks, we will explore on some of these updates in more detail. We are also expecting new tool versions and even the first release of a newcomer RM tool. You will learn about these news through follow-up blog posts.

Survey of Latest RM Tool Updates

As the last part of our series on updates on the requirements-management (RM) tool market, this article summarizes some additional news on tools we have included into our list of RM tools. The news covers the following vendors and tools:

  • Sparx System Enterprise Architect
  • Micro Focus / Borland
  • Serena Requirements Manager and Dimensions RM

Other RM tool updates were published as separate blog posts:

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect: New Specification Manager

In late April 2014, Sparx Systems released version 11 of its Enterprise Architect (EA) product. In the meantime, release 11.1 has been published.

EA 11 has brought some interesting new features concerning requirements management (RM). Still primarily a graphical modelling tool for notations such as UML, SysML and BPMN, Enterprise Architect gradually strengthens its RM-related functionality. Many features of full-fledged RM tools are missing. But organizations and teams that work heavily with formal analysis and design models can use Enterprise Architect to make first steps towards systematic RM. In addition, enhanced RM functionality in EA generally means improved capabilities for tight integration with specialized RM tools.

The new Enterprise Architect requirements management features come in a functionality category Sparx Systems calls “Software. Business. Systems”. An important part of it is the new Specification Manager: Every model element in a package can now be displayed in a document view. A new editing UI allows for editing element information similar to working in a word processor. Enhanced documentation templates are available that facilitate report generation. In addition, new charts and dashboard creation features can also be relevant for supporting requirements management tasks.

Sparx Systems’s website offers videos that illustrate the new features, for instance the Specification Manager demo video.

Micro Focus: Acquisition Proposal

On September 15, 2014, London-based Micro Focus International plc ( announced a merger proposal with Houston-based The Attachmate Group, Inc. ( You might check out the press release for details. Micro Focus is the mother-company of the Borland brand that markets the long-established RM tool Caliber. Other Micro Focus product areas mainly belong to the enterprise application segment: Visual COBOL, Mainframe Solutions, and CORBA Solutions. Attachment Group is the owner of, Attachmate, NetIQ, Novell, and SUSE.

Although we aren’t aware of any indications whether the proposed merger will affect the Borland brand, it is clear that an event of such a scale deserves special attention from Borland users and potential future customers.

Serena: Change in Product Portfolio

Serena used to offer a bundled product called “Requirements Manager”, which combined a set of RM-related products. We included it into past releases of our RM tools list, because it was the most comprehensive RM offering of Serena. Recently, Serena stopped marketing its Requirements Manager product. Instead, interested customers should check out Serena’s core RM product: Serena Dimensions RM.

Atlassian’s Requirements-Related Product Updates

In this issue of our updates series on the requirements-management (RM) tool market, we take a look on Atlassian‘s product portfolio, involving JIRA, JIRA Agile, Confluence, and others. Although we wouldn’t recommend these products for building, an advanced RM solution, they provide a fair level of support for various requirements management scenarios. For this reason, we have included Atlassian products into our list of RM tools.

In May, Atlassian has introduced a new product bundle: JIRA Agile Ready. It combines JIRA, JIRA Agile, Confluence and Confluence Team Calendars and shall cover essential agile work processes. From a requirements management standpoint, JIRA Agile Ready is interesting, because Atlassian provides features for transforming text statements written in the Confluence wiki (e.g., representing parts of specifications documents, individual requirements statements, customer requests etc.) into JIRA issues (aka item types). Since organizations can customize JIRA and JIRA Agile and define arbitrary item types, a text statement from Confluence can become an enhancement request (a typical JIRA issue type), an agile epic or user story (typical JIRA Agile issue types), or even a business or system requirement (provided, an organization first defines such customized item types).

This linkage between Confluence and JIRA (including JIRA Agile) can support the first steps towards systematic tool-based requirements management. Still, to our opinion, JIRA is lacking important functionality that we expect in a modern RM tool. In addition, the organization that runs JIRA must carry the relatively large burden of defining the entire requirements workflow, to a degree that significantly exceeds what would be required in specialized modern RM tools. For individual teams or smaller organizations, and particularly when conducting agile development, Atlassian’s offerings can provide a good starting point for tool-based RM. Since nearly every RM tool has quite viable connectors to JIRA, an organization can later attach a specialized requirements solution and relatively seamlessly extend its established JIRA-based workflows. So, if you want so, you might regard JIRA Agile Ready as kind of a starter drug for your lifelong addiction to effective requirements management.

The following blog posts and documentation pages outline how JIRA Agile and Confluence can be used for RM:

Freshly introduced in September 2014, just a few days ago, and announced in a blog post from yesterday is JIRA Portfolio. It shall facilitate the management of multiple projects and their relations from a central control environment. You might want to check out the provided product page and blog post for more details and for illustrations on how JIRA Portfolio works. From an RM perspective, we find JIRA Portfolio a useful building block when moving towards larger-scale requirements processes. Especially agile environments might value this support when implementing concepts from the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) or other large-scale agile RM process and method frameworks.

Polarion Requirements Updates

In this fourth article in our series on relevant recent updates in the requirements management (RM) tool market, let’s take a look on Polarion. Polarion is one of the major RM tools that we list in the “Selected” section of our RM tools list.

Polarion ALM 2014 was released in March 2014 (overview of main new features), with a first service release Polarion ALM 2014 SR1 in June, and a second one, Polarion ALM 2014 SR2, in September. The new requirements-related features that are marketed in the product variant Polarion Requirements are mainly in the following areas: Working with document views of requirements and specifications, release planning, requirements interchange, and tool operations (administrative features).

Several improvements relate to document views and document-related work practices. The main improvements are that administrators can centrally define custom document types as well as document workflows (for details see the SR1 blog post). The document permissions scheme has been made more fine-grained (see SR2 blog post). In addition, LiveDoc documents can be supplied with custom metadata fields that can be defined on a per-document basis.

For release planning, a new top-level item Plan has been introduced. It allows for defining arbitrary release hierarchies, attaching work objects to plans, and exposes release data to reports and dashboards such as agile burn down/burn up charts.

For requirements interchange, Polarion’s release notes list now that native support for ReqIF round-trip without additional plugins or integrations were possible. For instance, Polarion LiveDoc documents can be exported as ReqIF or RIF documents.

A general administrative improvement offers new support for running Polarion ALM instances in clusters. Different kinds of topologies are possible, for instance running clustered instances all using the same central repository, or running multiple instances with individual repositories each, or combinations of these. The improvements are relevant to the definition of failover scenarios and for flexible performance scaling.

Details on requirements interchange, release planning, and on clustering are illustrated in the ALM 2014 blog post. For a complete list of 2014 and 2014 SR1 features, you might also look up the release notes.

Another news from March 2014 is that Polarion launched a new extensions portal: At users can access various kinds of plug-ins, connectors, templates etc.

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, we are 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 considerable efforts and time might still be required until a smooth transition path to the “next generation” will be created.