DOORS XT Debuts in Year of Requirements Management

Will 2005 be the year requirements management (RM) comes of age, goes mainstream, and stops being an underutilized and unloved niche function of the software development process? Telelogic, maker of the venerable DOORS RM product line, thinks so.

"We're definitely at a major turning point in the evolution of RM," says Paul Raymond, VP of product management for RM tools at the Malmo, Sweden-based company. "Interest is growing, in part because of concerns about regulatory compliance, but also simply because people have started to realize what requirements are. Our customers come to us and say, We're not doing much requirements management, but we do have all of this needs management, or we have all these rules to define. Well, those are all requirements. Customers are starting to see that, and they're starting to turn to RM to solve problems."

That's a big change from where the market stood a decade ago, says Raymond, who has been in the RM biz almost from its inception. "If you go back about 10 years, you don't find requirements managers, per se," he says. "There were some people doing part of the job, but not many. And there were hardly any tools available. That's totally different now. People actually hire requirements managers or requirements analysts. And there are many more tools on the market, and things are much more competitive than it used to be."

Telelogic has been competing in this market for some time, and DOORS is one of the leading RM tools (both Gartner and The Standish Group have pegged DOORS as the market leader). The company describes DOORS as "a multi-platform, enterprise-wide system designed to capture, link, trace, analyze and manage changes to information to ensure a project's compliance to specified requirements and standards." The company currently claims more than 100,000 users at more than a thousand companies around the world.

"If you think about it," Raymond says, "RM drives everything you do in the [software development] lifecycle. After all, everything you build has to be in accordance with the requirements. So RM should be your strongest tool. It affects everyone."

Telelogic is set to unveil the latest version of DOORS. DOORS XT is designed to take on the increasingly knotty challenge of providing RM for globally distributed development teams. "It's no longer sufficient to send requirements around to different parts of the world via e-mail, trying to synchronize databases and so on," Raymond says. "People need to be able to work on the same systems at the same time. DOORS XT provides distributed collaboration between virtual work groups that simply can't afford to make requirements mistakes."

DOORS XT is designed to support visual requirements analysis with graphical expressions of requirements in the DOORS/Analyst product; so-called requirements-driven development, by providing visibility and traceability to requirements from systems and software models within the Telelogic TAU product; several testing and traceability features; and RM change management capabilities through Telelogic's SYNERGY.

The product fits well into the company's overall strategy of pushing RM capabilities to the developer. "We strongly believe that pushing the requirements out proactively is key," Raymond says. "It's about providing the data in the environment the users are working in, not forcing them to go somewhere else."

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].