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Best Practice for Importing customer specs to DOORS NG?

Glyn Costello (13632) | asked Oct 07 '20, 5:37 a.m.


Just wondered what people's experience is like with handling awkward customer requirements documents for importing into DOORS NG?

Typical issues are:

- Usually in PDF
- Usually lots of tabular specifications
- Sometimes scanned PDF (needing OCR)

Also, what's the best way to handle the situation when the customer updates their spec and sends a new revision of the document having already processed and imported the original?

I appreciate that this is always going to be a difficult area, but just wondered what other's experiences are?

Feels like a good potential application of AI

Ralph Schoon commented Oct 07 '20, 9:53 a.m.
We have several customers that share requirement information (even round trip) with other companies. This is typically done using ReqIF. There are a bunch of issues doing this today, but this is at least a supported operation.

I am not DNG Expert at any rate, but I think PDF is not a way to share requirements. ReqIF is a possiblity, csv might be. Everything else asks for a lot of manual work or some advanced AI. An AI needs training if the options are too widespread it is probably expensive.

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Davyd Norris (2.1k217) | answered Oct 09 '20, 9:22 p.m.
I've had to help clients to import specs a lot and there are a few things to bear in mind:

 - you can't import form a PDF directly, but there are some OK converters out there that will turn a PDF into a Word doc.

 - if you're sent a scanned doc, then push back hard. Get them to provide the original document in digital form as well as scanned, then upload the scanned version for reference, and import the digital version.

- prepare the document well before the import. Remove any headers and footers, cover sheets, change log sheets, etc. Basically anything that is part of a generic document template that could be added back when you export or print

- convert all styles to standard ones. Make the formatting as plain as you can, headers using Heading 1 to 6, Lists in standard format, etc.

- if possible remove tables, but if not then be prepared to work on them once they're imported

- separate any blocks of text that need to be separate artefacts with a new line. Join any blocks of text that can be a single artefact by replacing new lines with something - I use //. The you can go back after the import and make then paragraphs again

- importing from documents is a one way trip. The best approach when you get updates is to send them an exported spreadsheet and get them to update that, but if that's not possible then you will have to find some way to generate change bars between the documents. Either get them to send you a document with change bars, or create one yourself. Then you'll need to manually make the updates - take a baseline between each update so you can go back and see what the changes were, and generate a document with change bars yourself

You have two options and I've used both a lot:
 - import the document and convert to a module. Then go in and review and adjust the artefacts after import. I use this when the spec is reasonable and the requirements are well laid out
 - import the document as a single text artefact, then go in and highlight lines and paragraphs and turn them into artefacts. I use this when the document is not well formed - more work but way more control.

You can also use the second technique to extract requirements within tables and turn them into individual artefacts

Ralph Schoon commented Oct 10 '20, 8:50 a.m.

Davyd, this would be worth an article oor blog post.

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