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Why Your Company Might Need Requirements Management Tools and How to Choose Them?

Why Your Company Might Need Requirements Management Tools and How to Choose Them?
Bitrix24 Team
January 26, 2022
Last updated: January 26, 2022

Many businesses need to deal with requirements and specializations in their workflows. To systematize these operations and boost the efficiency of their teams, organizations might want to integrate requirements management tools. From this article, you'll get to know about the essential features of such solutions and the reasons for installing them. Plus, you'll find a list of top-notch apps that should come in handy for companies of different sizes and industries.


Why Do Businesses Need Requirements Management Tools?

Organizations need requirements management tools for the following reasons:

  • Business analysts might lack domain and technical expertise

  • Stakeholders don't know the project's every specification and assumption

  • Customers fail to formulate their expectations clearly enough

  • Requirements documents might be difficult to read

When the requirements are poorly formulated, there might be miscommunication between the parties involved in the project and business relationships might get tarnished. It might become more difficult to execute the project. The team might fail to meet the deadlines and their productivity might deteriorate.

Requirements management always takes a lot of time and effort. Dedicated tools can help you to track, test, analyze and visualize the requirements. They facilitate your communication with your team members, customers and shareholders. If you use such instruments, you can be sure that you operate with requirements that are:

  • Clear

  • Realistic

  • Agreed-upon

Requirements management tools enable you to get rid of ambiguity. Instead of interpretations and assumptions, you work with facts and numbers. At any stage of the development process, you can test your project or product to make sure it meets the requirements.


How Exactly Do Requirements Management Tools Function?

You should choose requirements management tools according to the goals and methodology of your project. Google Sheets or Excel can be regarded as the most basic management tools that enable you to add, edit and systematize information. The main shortcomings of such solutions consist in the following:

  • You need to make sure that you collaborate with other team members on the most recent version of the document

  • Your staff members should update the documents manually

  • It might be tricky to manage feedback because it comes from various sources and you need to add it to your database

Dedicated requirements management tools are more complex. Some of them are available for free, others might be rather costly.

When choosing management tools, you should make sure that they can serve as:

  • Points of reference to document your project's requirements and implementation

  • Blueprints to enable stakeholders to understand the essence and perspectives of the project

Top-notch requirements management tools should enable you to carry out the following tasks:

  • Visualize requirements. Your software should feature storyboards, dashboards, interactive flows and simulations, graphical tools and reports. You should be able to benefit from visual modeling. The more clearly you visualize the data, the easier it should be for you to communicate with your stakeholders and other parties involved.

  • Focus on traceability and real-time impact analysis. One of the main reasons you might want to get a project management solution is the opportunity of establishing automatic relationships across requirements. You would hardly be able to do it when using a spreadsheet. Consequently, you can run test cases and minimize risks that will inevitably appear as your project evolves and its requirements change.

  • Collaborate. Both your team members and external users should be able to access the files you work with. The software you use should allow you to edit files and discuss them collaboratively. Top apps enable you to adjust access rights for each user. Depending on their access level, users might be able to add electronic signatures to their documents, voice approvals, gather input, review the information and receive notifications about other users' activities.

  • Integrate the app with third-party solutions. You should be able to import data from various sources. Your software should allow you to export your documents to Word and Excel to send them to shareholders who don't use requirements management tools. Your app should be compatible with spreadsheet tools, software development tools and any other solutions that you might use for your workflows.

Below, we'll list the most popular and powerful requirements management tools that you might want to consider, with their respective pros and cons.


Top Requirements Management Tools


Bitrix24

This product occupies the top position in our rating of requirements management tools. It's a large and versatile system used by over 10 million businesses from all over the world. To manage your requirements, you might want to rely on the project management capabilities of Bitrix24. Here are just a few examples of what you can do in this app:

  • Create as many tasks as you need

  • Differentiate between group and private tasks

  • Save templates for repetitive tasks to automate them

  • Add subtasks and task dependencies

  • Use checklists to track the step-by-step progress of each task

  • Allocate a certain number of hours for each task or project

  • Track the progress of each task or project and receive notifications if some task or project is about to fall off course

  • Switch to Kanban view for better visualization

  • Draw Gantt charts to reveal the progress of every project in detail

  • Monitor your staffers' workload

  • Generate reports to check how long it takes your team to complete each particular task and evaluate their performance

  • Secure your external collaborations with extranet

  • Collaborate with team members, contractors, freelancers and other parties involved right through the Bitrix24 interface


task1.jpeg


The basic functionality of Bitrix24 is available free of charge and doesn't have limitations on the number of users. You don't need to pay to access the following functionality of the app:

  • Workgroup, project and company knowledge bases

  • Visual schemes, including custom and individual ones

  • Mind maps (you can either create them from scratch or use templates)

  • Wiki

  • Polls and discussions

  • 5 GB of online storage

  • Online document and file sharing

  • Access permissions

  • Navigation search


mindmap1.jpeg


You'll be able to benefit from time management capabilities, such as an online and mobile calendar, daily planner, task time tracking, leave and vacation management, customizable workday settings, clock-in and clock-out.

Social knowledge sharing is essential for managing requirements. To spread information within your company, you can resort to the following capabilities of Bitrix24:

  • Company information with weekends, holidays, working time parameters and general rules

  • Company news

  • Company-wide announcements

  • Contact information (phone, e-mail, social profiles)

  • Customizable employee profiles

  • Employee directory

  • Searchable private and public chats

  • Photo and video sharing

  • Audio and video calls, videoconferencing

  • Online video recording

Bitrix24 features a free CRM with customizable fields that can store an unlimited number of records. You can use this CRM to bill customers, accept online payments and keep a well-structured database with the personal details of all your clients. You can get in touch with your customers right through the CRM and it will automatically save the record of each of your interactions.


crm1.jpeg


Besides, Bitrix24 has a free website builder that allows you to create a site even if you completely lack coding skills. You can use the app's email marketing opportunities, HR tools and many other useful features.

Because of the extensive functionality of Bitrix24, you might want to organize training for all your team after you integrate this solution. Here are the primary sources of information about the product:

All the tutorials are very detailed. Whenever you need a consultation, the support team of the product will be glad to attend to you.

Businesses of any size and from any industry can benefit from Bitrix24. If you realize over time that the functionality of the free basic plan is not enough for you, you can easily upgrade to one of the three paid plans: Basic (5 users), Standard (50 users) or Professional (unlimited users). The prices might fluctuate because Bitrix24 offers frequent discounts. This product is available in on-premise and cloud versions as well as a mobile app for iOS and Android. You can smoothly integrate it with third-party solutions.


Jama Software

This enterprise-grade software is optimal for managing requirements and risks as well as carrying out tests. It should enable you to achieve the following goals:

  • Improve cycle times

  • Enhance quality

  • Minimize rework

  • Reduce effort proving compliance

The intuitive and comprehensive interface of this product resembles your usual Internet browser. You'll appreciate how easy it is to perform end-to-end live traceability of processes, data and people. The app allows you to collaborate with your staffers in real-time and conduct impact analysis.

Jama integrates with other solutions through API and integration hubs. It supports various development methodologies and engineering disciplines.


Modern Requirements

This one is built into Microsoft's Azure DevOps. Right from your Azure DevOps project, you can create requirements, manage, analyze, report and automate them. If a particular user doesn't need selected features, they can toggle them off. When getting started, you should appreciate the free guided bootcamp of this product that helps you to get acquainted with its functionality. Apart from the bootcamp, you'll be able to resort to professional support and training.

Modern Requirements4DevOps enables you to carry out the following tasks:

  • Create living requirements documents, diagrams and mockups

  • Build case models

  • Benefit from automatic updates after requirements have been modified

  • Eliminate duplicate work

  • Ensure requirements reusability

  • Connect your assets with the requirements

  • Use e-signatures for approvals

  • Rely on up-to-date trace matrices

Throughout the project lifecycle, your staffers will be able to connect requirements to both development tasks and quality assurance testing. Such an approach should grant maximum traceability. Modern Requirements smoothly integrate with various third-party products.


Visure Requirements

This solution can help you with the following aspects of your workflow:

  • Product requirements

  • Traceability

  • Defects

  • Verification

Visure is one of the most popular requirements management tools among systems engineering projects. It can deal with requirements of any level of complexity and it offers great collaboration opportunities to distributed stakeholders.

This software enables you to carry out the following tasks:

  • Apply the natural language processing technology

  • Create reusable components, requirements and test cases to use across teams and projects

  • Represent your workflows graphically to ensure maximum traceability

  • Conduct impact analysis and test management in one click

  • Complete AI-driven quality analysis to make sure your requirements meet your quality standards

You can trace the requirements for your product from the moment its concept was created till the product's deployment. You can easily integrate Visure with various third-party products, including Word and Excel. It comes in equally handy for teams that stick to the V model, waterfall or agile methodology.


Doc Sheets

The target audience of this solution is organizations of all sizes. Its primary advantages are:

  • Ease of setup

  • High performance

  • Scalability

It's indispensable for change, project and test case management.

Doc Sheets is available in on-premise and cloud versions. Even if you lack coding skills, you can easily customize this app. You'll be able to create requirements, trace them for verification and validation of systems and use gap analysis reports.

This app offers the following functionality:

  • Classification of requirements in a robust repository

  • Auto-generation of specification documents

  • Filtering and grouping requirements for reports

  • Auto-management of versions and product releases

  • Saving product info templates so that you can come back to them later in a couple of clicks

  • Real-time collaboration

  • Adjustable control and security settings

As your tasks increase, products improve and business evolves, Doc Sheets can provide you with impact-of-change reports.

Unlike some other requirements management tools, Doc Sheets can adapt to any workflow methodology, be it waterfall, agile or scrum. This solution enables you to import data from various sources and export it into Excel and Word formats. It integrates with JIRA.



Systematize business operations and boost team efficiency with Bitrix24 requirements management tool.

Requirements management always takes a lot of time and effort. Bitrix24 can help you to track, test, analyze and visualize the requirements.

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Xebrio

It's an ecosystem that enables you to control the development of the product from the moment when you formulate the requirements for it till the release. All your stakeholders will be able to voice their opinions while gathering the requirements for the product. To ensure collective consensus, Xebrio offers an approval mechanism.

Using this tool, you can easily map requirements to the following elements:

  • Bugs

  • Milestones

  • Tasks

  • Test cases

Then, you can trace these requirements to releases.

Xebrio allows real-time communication and collaboration. It has time-tracking and reporting capabilities. Compared to other requirements management tools, it is remarkably simple and flexible. Plus, it provides great visibility.


ReqSuite

ReqSuite is optimal for typical product development or procurement projects. Its primary advantages are:

  • Shallow learning curve, ease of use and setup

  • Intuitive interface

  • Simplicity combined with full customizability

  • Opportunity to create detailed requirements with version control, links, priorities and so on

  • Smooth integrations with various third-party products

ReqSuite supports automatic quality control of requirements and features a robust toolkit of definable templates. It should be easy for you to define your workflows, manage reusable requirements and collaborate on tasks.


Orcanos

This app lacks pre-built integrations — but its numerous advantages outweigh this drawback. You might want to opt for Orcanos for the following reasons:

  • Great visualization and reporting capabilities

  • Custom templates and embedded reports

  • Real-time dashboards with intuitive navigation

  • DocGen feature for Word files export and import

The app also offers test management features plus basic collaboration features. It can alert you when certain actions take place and your team members can conveniently exchange messages within the app.


IBM Engineering Requirements Management DOORS Next

Being a component of the IBM ecosystem, this one seamlessly integrates with other IBM products:

  • Lifecycle management apps

  • Team collaboration instruments

  • Systems/software engineering tools

It's one of the most easily configurable enterprise-grade requirements management tools. Plus, it's highly customizable, which might seem great at first sight. Yet if you put too much effort into customization, it might become tricky for you to handle the app's huge database.

IBM provides superb support to the product, including multiple step-by-step guides and on-demand webinars. Nevertheless, this solution is not the easiest and the most user-friendly one, compared to other requirements management tools.


Accompa

This app is famous for its ease of use and implementation. However, its set of features might be slightly less powerful, compared to other requirements management tools. If you choose Accompa, you'll be able to do the following:

Record and track product requirements across various projects and products

  • Customize user roles, views and fields

  • Benefit from automatic change and dependency tracking for impact analysis

  • Use discussion boards

  • Set alerts for collaboration

  • Define requirements prioritization rules

Besides, you should appreciate Accompa's excellent set of pre-built integrations.


Caliber

This one differentiates from most requirements management tools thanks to being more intuitive and visually interactive. Users value it for its following capabilities:

  • Superb visual features for modeling requirements

  • Traceable requirements and impact analysis instruments

  • Drag-and-drop reordering of requirements

  • Ease of attaching images and spreadsheets to requirements

  • Opportunity to make storyboards and simulations to test requirements, rules and processes

  • Intuitive user access control and collaboration features

As for the shortcomings, Caliber is a stand-alone solution that lacks pre-built integrations.


How to Select the Optimal Solution For Your Organization?

When comparing requirements management solutions before purchase, you should start with finding answers to these four questions:

  • What do you integrate such an app for?

  • What functionality do you require that spreadsheets or Google Docs lack?

  • Will you be using the app to test software?

  • Do you need an enterprise-grade product that can handle huge amounts of information and distributed teams?

Here is a brief classification of management tools for working with requirements, based on how extensive their functionality is:

Lightweight

Accompa, ReqSuite Pearls, ReQtest

Medium

Caliber, Modern Requirements4DevOps

Robust

Jama Software, Orcanos, Perforce Helix RM, Rational Doors

Then, you should decide whether you need a cloud-based app or an on-premise product. The latter provides greater confidentiality but you should be ready to pay the full price of the license upfront. Besides, it would be great to have an in-house IT team that could manage your on-premise app.

If you prefer a cloud-based app, you'll need to pay a monthly subscription, which is a much more affordable pricing model. You won't need to install software and will be able to use it as soon as you sign up and pay for it. In case you begin with a free basic plan, you won't need to pay to get started. The remote IT team of the cloud solution will take care of debugging, updates and other technical aspects.

After you install an on-premise solution in your office, the developer will need to conduct training for all your staffers. Cloud solutions have a more shallow learning curve: probably, your team members will be able to start using them without any training.

Many management tools for working with requirements and specifications are available both in on-premise and cloud formats — such as Bitrix24. Plus, most of them have mobile apps. However, a few products might offer only the cloud format, so please make sure to double-check this detail before the purchase.

You should check in advance whether the app you're planning to get is compatible with other software that you already use. The more pre-built integrations the product has, the better.

Last but not least, you should choose requirements management tools that provide high-quality customer support. Accompa, Orcanos and Rational Doors are famous for the professionalism of their support teams. Bitrix24 has an amazing support team and a top-notch collection of educational materials that are available both on its site and on request.


Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you found this article informative and now you better understand the specifics and advantages of requirements management tools. This type of software should make it easier for all the parties involved to understand what to expect of each of your projects and products. You can use such apps to communicate with your team members, shareholders and clients. When selecting software to manage the requirements, you should take into account the size and industry of your business, the learning curve of the app and the scope of the functionality that you need.

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