How to Deploy a Requirements Management Tool

  • Worried you need to deploy a requirements management tool?
  • Disappointed with the visual modeling capabilities in typical backlog tools?
  • Frustrated because you own tool licenses but they are sitting on a shelf unused?
  • Desperate to get traceability so you can pass compliance gates?
  • Concerned you need to do a better job cutting scope and managing project dependencies?

A lot of people tell us that tool deployment is a big part of successfully transforming their organization; particularly requirements management or agile management tools. They lament the fact that product managers and analysts have to gather, analyze, and maintain so many types of information throughout project lifecycles, and that in reality, it would be impossible to do without software programs designed to help manage this. Teams who use Word, Excel and Visio ultimately succumb to common problems like: overwriting versions, miscommunication or misunderstandings of project statuses, rework due to errors, or gaping holes in project requirements.

Many people have reached out to us for help identifying the best tools for their team based on their current methodologies, development and test team tools, and challenges. We follow our standard vendor selection process for this.

Some people have told us that even if you have already selected a tool, you are probably only 15% of the way there – the real work lies in getting your teams to adopt the new requirements management tools. Out of the box, people find that most tool vendor training doesn’t teach teams how to use the tool correctly in conjunction with your requirements methodology. Our clients need to start each deployment figuring out how they will measure success for tool deployment for their organization, so that they align the rollout to deliver that success. People ask us to work with their teams to configure the tool for their organization, create how-to guides for the team to reference when they get stuck with the tool, create import/export templates and pilot it on projects showing them how to perform activities in the tool.

We have helped launch and promote adoption of many different requirements tools, such as:

  • One F500 customer had licenses for Jama Software, but engaged us to help define an agile requirements methodology that could be used company-wide. We developed the methodology, then worked with the tool vendor to configure it to best fit in their global organization. Once we had a few teams using the tool, we built Jama-specific examples into the training curriculum, so they learn the requirements techniques and how to execute them in Jama at the same time.
  • Another customer deployed edev’s SmartOffice tool after we showed them how well it would work with their current processes. We engaged primarily as coaches for agile product ownership and Scrum Master techniques, but introduced employees to the ease-of-use of this tool. Their team was already using Word, Excel and Visio for requirements, so it was a natural fit for them to adopt SmartOffice.
  • One customer had no budget for a requirements management tool, but for compliance reasons, had to show full end-to-end traceability: from business objectives to functional requirements and into to development and testing. Without this detailed level of traceability, compliance investigators would likely shut them down. They did have licenses to ServiceNow, which is really an issue-tracking tool. However, we were able to define their requirements methodology and configure fields in the issue-tracking tool in a way that made the required process feasible. It wasn’t as visual of a program as a full-scale requirements tool; however it served their purposes, and allowed us to use a reliable system for cutting scope like any other project.