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Without Requirements There Is Nothing To Do

Ulf Koester
Solution Director Oracle Digital Transformation Solutions
 

Did you know that nearly half of all projects fail due to missed, inaccurate or incomplete requirements? Companies fail more often because they solve the wrong problem, not developing the wrong solution to the right problem. Many find that homegrown solutions and spreadsheets do not provide an effective solution for requirements management. Ensuring that every initial requirement is ultimately met in the final product is one of the most critical, yet difficult, aspects. With Oracle, you can quickly and thoroughly evaluate requirements against conceptual designs and seamlessly integrate into not only requirements management, but also system architecture and test management. Oracle uniquely integrates the system engineering process with the product development, quality, sourcing, and supply chain product record processes.

It’s Time to Modernize Your Requirements Management Process

FREE DIGIBOOK
It's Time to Modernize Your Requirements Management Process

 

Recent Forrester Consulting research finds that only 28 percent of companies currently employ a dedicated Requirements Management (RM) tool. The rest still rely on a purely documents-based approach, even though using these tools to exclusively design, manage and execute requirements presents an array of problems, including version-control issues, poor communication, inefficient collaboration, and lack of coordination. IAG onsulting found that 40% of a projects budget will be consumed because of poorly developed requirements. And according to a PMI report, 51% of projects fail because of poor requirements management.

With those statistics in mind it is not surprising that many customers find the requirements management landscape overwhelming. Typically what we see when it comes to requirements management is an autonomous document centric based approach. Critical requirements are spread out into Word, Excel, Powerpoint, some are stored in email and some are even jotted down on paper during meetings. These “islands” of critical product information are not connected to each other. Typically companies with this approach see Requirements Management solely as a cost center and they are missing the boat. The best companies recognize that efficient and effective Requirements Management is the key to actually bringing superior products to fruition, and there is modern best practice how to handle requirements definition to optimization.

The most common (however not best) practice is to use Excel. Let´s take that one step further and talk about the “joys” of Excel for Requirements Management:

  1. Many versions of the same document where intentions were good. A SharePoint site was set up where the latest and most current version of the requirements document would be stored. You may have even worked out a naming convention for version numbers.  Unfortunately, you were unable to control the proliferations of documents and now there are multiple versions of each requirement document.
  2. Since we now have multiple versions, they must be reconciled into one master version. A painfully laborious process when each requirement document has several hundred line items. Except that the vendor or customer keeps making changes during this process.
  3. Excel offers no ability to track when a requirement changed and who changed it. Good luck successfully implementing a change log.
  4. Traceability of requirements is now a manual process. Every change requires another laborious process to ensure that the traceability is also kept up to date. 
  5. There is no visibility. No one knows who has the most recent and up to date version of the requirements - despite all the best efforts. 
  6.  This process creates a complicated maze of information that prevents the reuse of requirements as well as the ability to know where they are used.

A critical part of requirements management process is making sure that all requirements are managed, defined and ultimately linked or assigned to the test cases and the specific item that fulfills the requirement so that traceability and change impact can be done as soon as design change, requirements drift, scope creep are made. This is an important element in systems engineering in order to cross the innovation chasm.

It’s Time to Modernize Your Requirements Management Process

FREE DIGIBOOK
It's Time to Modernize Your Requirements Management Process

 

Oracle's approach to requirements management simplifies the process by providing a better way to author and define requirements as part of the Innovation Management process, and then tie them to functional concepts of the new products or services. Users can socially collaborate, provide feedback and finalize requirements in a collaborative environment. Requirement dependencies and impact can be captured, tracked and managed all the way through a product's lifecycle. The interface provides a design workbench to assign requirements to concepts or existing items. Analytics provide complete views of the total scope of requirements from fulfillment, prioritization, or other critical measures. Users can also perform early design trade-off studies to make sure they are moving forward with the right product design meeting the right product requirements.

Oracle PLM Cloud:

  • Ensures definition clarity across all requirements, integrated authoring, published specifications for Collaborative, Cross-team Requirements Definition.
  • Offers requirement types & easily configurable user-defined attributes for flexible attribution and classification.
  • Enables change approval workflow, group/role security, audit trails, and reports for change control & governance.
  • Analysis of the total scope of requirements specification, including determination requirement fulfillment by the design team for determination & management of scope.
  • Links requirements to related test cases
  • Captures dependencies and impact analysis, link concepts, leverages existing Items, produces traceability reports, and graphically navigates relationships for forwards and backwards traceability between artifacts

Oracle´s Requirements Management Solution is part of Oracle Innovation Management and PLM Cloud. It also seamlessly works with Agile PLM and other PLM systems. The best companies we work with see Requirements Management as key to bringing superior products to market. It directly supports and impacts an organization’s top corporate growth objectives including:

  • Increased levels of customer satisfaction by delivering the right products.
  • Reduction in costs & productivity improvements.
  • Quality improvements, faster time to market.
  • Visibility and transparency to respond quickly to your customer/market and best align to deliver differentiated products.

From an individual project perspective the benefits of Requirements Management are impressive:

  • Bidirectional traceability is easily implemented.
  • Requirements attributes can be created, updated, and monitored with ease.
  • Requirements are less likely to fall through the gaps.
  • Makes collaboration easier.
  • Avoids unnecessary development.
  • Ensures that the product that is delivered is what the customer expected.
  • Change control is easily enforced and monitored.
  • Impact analysis is streamlined because most of the data needed is already available in one place.
  • Requirements are easily monitored, tracked and reported on.
  • Version control is automatic.
  • At a glance access to project progress for all stakeholders.
  • Improved communication channels.

Oracle´s approach is to eliminate chaos and transition into a structured process for requirements management, establishing traceability across the artifacts. Because we provide the framework for requirements management this applies to all industries trying to manage requirements.

To learn more, download our DigiBook, It’s Time to Modernize Your Requirements Management Process for further discussion on how to unlock the business value of systems engineering.

 

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