Requirements Management

Requirements management can be achieved using process, methods
and tools. A good example of a process model is VOLERE, from
Suzanne Robertson. A good example of a requirements engineering
method is CORE, which originated with Geoff Mullery at Imperial
College. However, in my opinion, there are few good process models
and methods which are available. In contrast the current market is awash
with requirements management tools. In essence such tools are complex
data bases storing and managing large numbers of requirement
statements. The tools provide a number of functions for managing
requirement statements in these data bases, for example to acquire,
model, validate and manage the requirements. At the most I believe
there are over 30 requirements management tools available on the
market. They include DOORS (from QSS) and Cradle (from 3SL). The
main focus of these tools has been on requirements tracing and storage.
This represents simple, low-risk use of technologies to solve some
immediate requirements management problems.
One point arising from this slide is that it is important to use requirements
management tools in the context of a process, method or standard. This
will impose a structure which will enable people to acquire requirements
in the required format, validate them at the first time, and produce reports
of the necessary structure and content.
I have reviewed a number of commercial requirements management
software tools in the past, and have drawn some simplistic but important
conclusions about most of the current ones. Most requirements
management tools have the same basic architecture shown in the slide.
Central to any requirements management tool is a data base for storing
and managing multiple versions of large numbers of requirements over a
long period of time. Often, commercial data bases are used for this
The five basic elements of a tool are linked to the basic functions of a
requirements management tool: (i) requirements gathering, to enable the
ENTRY of requirements into the requirements management data base;
(ii) requirements description, to structure and format the storage of
requirements in the data base; (iii) requirements verification, to verify the
syntactic structure and contents of requirements in the data base; (iv)
requirements management, to handle the management of requirements
in the data base; (v) networking facilities to handle a distributed
requirements engineering process.
As you can surmise, the functionality of these tools falls way short of
supporting the kinds of requirements engineering processes advocated
in this module. Nowhere is this more obvious than for requirements
acquisition. Most current tools only provide windows for entering
requirements, or macros from ‘stripping’ requirements statements out of
existing documents

Interestingly, even in 2009, there are over 60 identified products that
exist in the broader requirements management tools market. Many of
the tools support basic requirements functions and features reported on
the previous slide. However, as this slide reveals, there is increasing
diversity of requirements tools available to requirements projects. At the
top end are systems engineering tools such as DOORS, which have a
background in military projects supporting many thousands of
requirements for decades. At the other end are desktop requirements
tools such as Requisite Pro, now offered by IBM, and open source
requirements tools such as OSRMT that can be installed and used by
everyone. Other tools support particular aspects of requirements
projects, for example enterprise modelling, simulations, decision
support and risk-orientation.
The requirements tool marketplace is a changing place, hence the best
place to remain on top of all of the tools available is on web-sites such
as the site at the link on the screen. This site is maintained by James
Robertson from the Atlantic Systems Guild, and is a good place to go
for information.

Reference: Neil Maiden (2011) Requirements Engineering Lecture Notes

This entry was posted in Requirement Viewpoints, Negotiation and Management and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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