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Rational Requirements Composer Beta 2a: A big step forward

The latest beta of Rational Requirements Composer (RRC) demonstrates significant progress in our plans to deliver requirements definition and management capabilities in a single application on the Jazz Team Server*. Our intent is to help teams to employ relatively light-weight requirements processes as part of their agile, iterative, or waterfall project methodologies –- whether they are placing user stories in a larger business context, quickly evaluating alternatives using UI storyboards, or using RRC as the next-generation RequisitePro** for creating requirement specifications and working from them.

Requirements definition and management together

We have received many enhancement requests to take RRC beyond requirements definition and make it easier to express a richer set of requirement relationships, analyze them, manage and report on these requirements throughout the development lifecycle. To that end, we have taken RRC’s visual editors, glossaries, and its collaborative requirements definition environment, and combined them with new requirements management capabilities, building on what we delivered in the Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) Beta 2. This will enable teams to address the whole information lifecycle of requirements: from meeting notes and other informal, document-oriented information to managed requirements that are used in development, test, project management, and reporting.

RRC tree view

More requirements management capabilities

Beta 2a offers more sophisticated ways to express relationships among requirements, view, and analyze them. It’s now possible to define custom link types, use them when relating requirements, and filter views to display relationships of interest, including multi-level traceability views such as “stakeholder needs are satisfied by features” and “features are satisfied by user stories and supplementary (non-functional) requirements“. Requirements and their relationships can be displayed in tree views (shown above) and in various row and column views. This helps analysts to uncover traceability gaps (coverage analysis) and to analyze the impact of proposed changes.

Traceability in row/column views

Improved filtering and CLM links

With the enhanced filtering, it’s now easier to create, save, and share specific dynamic views that report on key project management concerns.  For example, using Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) links it’s possible to see related development tasks, test plans, and test cases –- and filter on their status –- directly in the requirements management user interface.  Below you see approved features and user stories with associated test cases that have not been attempted.

Advanced filters and CLM links

Looking at this from the RTC perspective: teams that manage their work in backlogs in RTC can see the requirements that guide their implementation tasks.

RTC plan showing requirements to be implemented

Entirely Web-based

The RRC authoring environment has moved to the Web; a rich client is no longer needed or provided — just point your browser at the RRC server. This will greatly simplify deployment, reduce total cost of ownership, and make it easier for occasional participants in the requirements process to be meaningfully involved. Here you see a UI sketch in edit mode. Business process diagrams, use case diagrams and actors are also available in this beta milestone.

UI sketch being edited in web browser

More productive Web UI for creating and editing requirements

You can now create new requirements faster with only a few clicks, and optionally edit them directly in the grid. You can also update the attributes of multiple requirements at the same time.

In-line editing

The rich text editor continues to improve, and it now includes project-wide glossary term look-up.

Rich text editor with glossary term look-up

Getting information in and out

Beta 2a supports importing documents into native RRC rich text format from Microsoft Word, OpenDocument text (odt) and common rich text (rtf) formats. This makes it easier to incorporate existing information from your stakeholders and documents you create on a plane, your customer’s conference room, or other places where you don’t have access to the network. In addition, you can import from and export to spreadsheets using comma-separated text (csv) files — including associated attribute values.

Import Word and CSV files

Data migration from RequisitePro

If you use RequisitePro you can now import a RequisitePro baseline file and evaluate the value of RRC’s new capabilities using your own requirements information — including requirements that originated in Microsoft Word documents. You can find more information on our wiki.

Importing a RequisitePro project

Rational Reporting for Development Intelligence

You can make RRC data available in a data warehouse for improved reporting and trend analysis. A reporting scenario is available on our wiki that includes prerequisites, data warehouse configuration steps, and sample reports. Note that this beta milestone only supports requirements data in these reports (no development or test data).

Requirements graph from the Rational Common Reporting component

Generating documents with the Rational Publishing Engine

It’s now possible to use a stand-alone installation of the Rational Publishing Engine on your workstation to generate documents with RRC Beta 2a as a data source.  Four report templates are included with Beta 2a. Details on how to use them can be found on our wiki.

Updated sample project

The JKE Business Recovery Matters sample project provides a pre-populated example, making it easier for you to assess RRC alone or with Rational Team Concert and Rational Quality Manager.

  • New artifacts, including sketches, process and use case diagrams, actors, and use case specifications
  • Enterprise and project glossaries
  • Richer linking to demonstrate functional decomposition of high-level requirements
  • New link type (“illustrates / illustrated by”) for relating visual artifacts to other artifacts
  • New saved filters demonstrate new views
  • Release planning collection for use in CLM scenarios

Sample project with enterprise glossary

This milestone is called “Beta 2a” because it’s built on CLM Beta 2 (September 2010 code levels of the Jazz Team Server, Rational Team Concert, and Rational Quality Manager). This gives you the opportunity to experiment with the new requirements capabilities in RRC alone or in the context of Collaborative Lifecycle Management. See the RRC Beta 2a release notes and new and noteworthy for more information. There are capabilities in RRC 2.0 that we have yet to enable in the Beta 2a release of RRC, for example: embedded document generation, UI storyboards, UI screen flows, and inheritance of UI sketch parts. For more information on the next CLM beta and release plans see Staging the CLM deliverables.

I invite you to download RRC Beta 2a (M9), create the sample project or import a RequisitePro baseline, and give us your feedback by posting in the RRC forum or the CLM forum or by submitting bugs and requests in our work item system.

Daniel Moul
Rational Offering and Strategy Delivery

* Our lawyers would like me to remind you that these are not finalized plans or commitments … just work in progress, and plans are subject to change without notice. See the Terms of Use.

** By using “next generation RequisitePro” I am implying that RRC is the means by which we will bring innovations in requirements practices and CLM to RequisitePro customers. This will involve migrating your teams and data to RRC sooner or later. Let me be clear: we are not about to sunset RequisitePro or ask RequisitePro customers to rush to adopt RRC. To the contrary, we expect many customers will continue to use RequisitePro for years and will adopt RRC as their project schedules and organizational priorities allow.  We are working to keep RequisitePro vital; for example in 2010 we delivered quarterly maintenance releases, made significant performance improvements in ReqWeb, and added support for Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Word 2010.