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Countdown to CLM 2Q11: Part 4 – Next generation of requirements definition and management

(This is part of a series of blog posts where we describe enhancements and changes planned for the upcoming release of our Collaborative Lifecycle Management solution, comprising: Rational Team Concert, Rational Quality Manager, and Rational Requirements Composer.*)

The new Rational Requirements Composer (RRC) is coming soon, and we are excited about the direction we have taken to provide a single requirements definition and management environment on the Jazz Team Server. In earlier versions of RRC we focused on supporting fast-paced development teams (using iterative, waterfall, and agile-at-scale) with only a collaborative requirements definition tool, but this release moves beyond that to deliver a complete requirements solution. You will find it much easier now to define, trace, manage, analyze, and report across multiple Jazz products that span requirements, development, and test management.

Moving to the Web

If you followed our beta progress for RRC over the past year, you will have seen significant changes and improvements in many areas like traceability, history, and reporting. We have now transitioned from a rich client to a Web only client to better align with other Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) tools, Rational Team Concert (RTC) and Rational Quality Manager (RQM). You will find it much easier now to automate deployment, reduce your total cost of ownership, and enable occasional development participants. When working with artifacts, tests, and work items across the development lifecycle, it delivers a more seamless experience for team members in all development disciplines.

Figure 1 Rational Requirements Composer for Text and Visual Requirements

From Requirements Definition to Requirements Management

We’ve changed support for some of the previous Requirements Composer integrations, like Rational RequisitePro. Soon you will be able to transition from RequisitePro to RRC, a next generation requirements tool. Next generation means that RRC will provide the future innovation for requirements practices and support CLM. The RequisitePro data migration utility was available in earlier beta milestones (Beta 2a) but it will not be immediately available in this general release. We expect to provide it shortly in the second half of the year. Look for it on, and go ahead and get started with RRC now; there is plenty you can do to plan and prepare before the utility is ready.

Value of Requirements Definition and Management in Lifecycle Development

Requirements Composer now includes all the essential capabilities that business analysts need to assess business needs from their inception through to product delivery. Requirements in RRC can be used to support work items in RTC and verified through RQM test plans in a lifecycle development project. You can organize and configure all your requirements (supported with types and templates) so that the whole team knows where key and critical information is when making project decisions. Starting up a project has never been easier if you use the out-of-the-box project templates (or sample project).

If you have existing requirement information you can now import and convert Microsoft Word and spreadsheet (CSV) files directly into your project. If you have specific trace dependencies, RRC now gives you the flexibility to define link types that will be essential when analyzing trace gaps or changes across the project.

The dashboard is improved to provide more project information to the user. The dashboard can help you quickly identify what is being worked on, see what is under review, understand traceability impact, and navigate to the project area to get involved.

Requirements Capture and Definition

The new Web-based editors (for visual and text requirements) give you complete control for requirement capture and edit. All of the process diagram, use case, storyboard, and rich text editors for RRC are Web enabled. While these were available in previous versions of RRC it is important to note that they are still core to the RRC package. If you want to use terms in your project, RRC still provides glossaries using a new link enabled method for project definitions.

Figure 2. Working through a Process Diagram

Review and Enhance the Quality of Your Requirements

RRC has provided the ability in past to review and discuss requirements. The Web experience now allows a reviewer to see a comment and make corrections or other edits immediately to reduce errors and rework later in the development phase.

Figure 3. Checking the Review Status

Manage and Analyze the Projects Position and Status

RRC is flexible for organizing requirements using collections (as containers), filters, tags, or project folder hierarchy. You can easily view requirements using the table/grid layout to display the attributes that assist in analysis or explore the requirement artifact in a document view. Collections are still used for snapshots and baselines.

RRC now also supports an automated change history to help you know what has changed from version to version in markup format.

Figure 4. Reviewing History Changes

Understand Project Gaps and Changes Using Traceability

While some traceability was possible in previous versions of RRC, RTC, and RQM it has been enhanced to support any relationship model. Links can be defined by type to support all different relationships from artifact to artifact, to elements and external sources.

Two of the most powerful new features are the trace tree and table style visualizations to see traceability relationships including lifecycle artifacts directly in RRC. Filtering, exploring, exporting, and attribute query can also be used in conjunction to help you reduce the risk of missed requirements and know how a change will impact parts of the project to keep other stakeholders in-the-know and up-to-date.

Figure 5. Visualizing End to End Traceability Through RRC

Requirements Reuse and Project Reporting

RRC continues to expand support for requirement reuse by now providing embedded requirements. Requirements can be directly inserted into other artifacts across the project or in other projects. As one of the reused requirements is modified, the change is immediately reflected in other locations.

RRC now provides high quality reporting from your data warehouse or document generation in Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, or XML using Rational Publishing Engine. Using OOTB or custom templates, high quality documents and reports can be generated based on requirements change, traceability, or trends to name a few.

Figure 6. Reporting on Requirements Coverage

Connectivity to Extended Development (CLM)

The Jazz platform with RRC, RTC, and RQM now takes integrations to a whole new level supporting cross discipline roles and all supported from a single server. It is now seamlessly integrated (through Web clients) with CLM products using Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC).

The next release of Rational Requirements Composer is almost here and takes a large step forward providing a single environment for requirements definition and management. Download RRC today and try it for yourself using the sample project. Let us know your thoughts and continue to take part in RRC’s future on the RRC forum or the CLM forum.

Jared Pulham
Senior Product Manager, Requirements Management Tools

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