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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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)
Polls and discussions
5 GB of online storage
Online document and file sharing
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
Contact information (phone, e-mail, social profiles)
Customizable employee profiles
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.
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:
The official Bitrix24 webinars
The Bitrix24 On Premise edition page
The Helpdesk of the Bitrix24 website
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.
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
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.
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.
This solution can help you with the following aspects of your workflow:
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.
The target audience of this solution is organizations of all sizes. Its primary advantages are:
Ease of setup
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
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.
Requirements management always takes a lot of time and effort. Bitrix24 can help you to track, test, analyze and visualize the requirements.
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:
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 is optimal for typical product development or procurement projects. Its primary advantages are:
Shallow learning curve, ease of use and setup
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Accompa, ReqSuite Pearls, ReQtest
Caliber, Modern Requirements4DevOps
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.
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.