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How to pick the best requirements management tool

Moira Alexander | April 8, 2016
Inaccurate requirements management accounts for almost half of project failures. Aimed at helping IT and business leaders improve their odds for success, Seilevel, a business analysis and consulting company, has compiled a report evaluating 22 top requirements management tools.

Seilevel says it invested significant time and resources in its initial evaluation of 185 RM tools and subsequent arrival at a short-list of 22 tools. Based on experience working with many clients, Seilevel offers insights into some key things companies typically pursue RM to address:

  • Traceability when it’s a requirement for compliance purposes.
  • The need for improvements in the areas of scope and dependency management.
  • Frustration over incorrect RM tool selection due to the underutilization of licenses.
  • Inconsistencies with requirements methodologies.
  • Issues with stakeholder requirements alignment.
  • Mitigation of version control issues.

The current findings indicate features such as increased visual modelling support, improved traceability analysis and team collaboration functionality has become significantly more robust since Seilevel conducted its last RM review five years ago. Its thorough criteria assessment and strengths and weakness identification among its top 22 tools assists business analysts and product management communities to greatly narrow their focus when choosing the best RM tool to meet the unique needs of their business.

Seilevel’s approach to RM tool evaluation

Considering adoption rates as vital for achieving value, Seilevel approached this report based on its own perspective as a complex multi-service business, according to Beatty, taking into account such factors as the following:

  • How they would apply each tool within their projects.
  • Nonfunctional aspects (usability, licensing models and functionality).
  • Criteria that supports traceability to objects and visual modelling capabilities.

With these in mind – along with a host of other factors – in the first phase of their assessment and testing, Seilevel initially took a list of 185 tools and narrowed it down to 70 that would be compared against their minimum viable product (MVP) criteria, Beatty says. In other words, only 70 of the 185 tools were capable of performing or supporting seven high-level, very basic core RM functions.

This is not to say the other tools were not useful; however, they did not meet with Seilevel’s strict criteria for the purpose of proceeding to the second phase. Seilevel’s team of evaluators then identified their list of the top 22 RM tools that would move on to a full-scale more rigorous evaluation in the second testing phase.

Evaluation criteria for final prioritization

Over the last 15 years, Seilevel says it has developed (and continues to advance) its own requirements lifecycle that they follow in its methodology. This has facilitated the team in establishing and applying acceptance criteria as their evaluation criteria. Ultimately this resulted in the prioritization of 34 MVP criteria for RM tools that Seilevel as a company says it would actually use. This evaluation criteria identified what was essential in an RM tool.As mentioned above, within the second phase of its assessment and testing, only RM tools that met basic criteria would advance further. Next steps would involve a stringent process of prioritizing the remaining tools against Seilevel’s other 173 criteria. The short-listed tools were then further weighted using a feature support scale as well as full feature scoring scales.

 

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