Effective Requirements Management with ReqPro

Despite my experience as a Rational Partner, it remains that many organizations/projects are best served with the superior execution of almost any tool (even a simple, home-grown, database applicatoin) - arguments about tools in the current situation is a waste of time.   Similarly, it seems to me that many organizations/project do not suffer from lack of process (quite the opposite) but struggles with meaningful execution - this will cripple any tool/repository roll-out more than any other factor.

However, here are three key issues I believe enterprises/projects need to address for a good deployment of a requirements management repository using ReqPro (or comparable tools):

Engineer the Requirements Information to Manage - This involves defining the types of requirements, the relationships between these types, the fields (attributes) for the different requirement types, and the permissable values for the requirement attributes.  While this is a technical pre-requisite to using the ReqPro database (or Doors or...), it is actually a management task. This would also require establishing the mechanisms for project-specific customization of the repository (by adding tables, by using special fields or by the values they put into established fields) - again, this is technical pre-requisite that is actually a management issue.  Competing and conflicting efforts in requirements management will in the aggregate introduce an overwhelming level of process and information and unusable ReqPro schema - a simpler scheme, universally and more thoroughly executed will have more positive impacts on the organization/project.
Decide upon the Location and Format of the Repository - This is a decision about the storage of the data upon which the ReqPro application runs.  The basic choices are local files in the Access format (co-mingled with personal Word and Excel documents), on a shared LAN folder in the Access format, or using an enterprise database (Oracle, DB2, etc.).  The primary benefit of an enterprise database is that it would permit exposing the requirements repository in more focused, role-based, views (using web browser, VB apps, reporting tools, etc.) that would be more accessible to people overwhelmed by the complexity of tools like ReqPro.
Decide on which Portions of the Suite to use and how - The Rational Suite includes a variety of products (ReqPro, Rose, ClearCase, ClearQuest, etc.).  The tools have overlapping capabilities and not every enterprise systems engineering solution needs every tool.  Specifically, the overlap in requirements management features between ReqPro, Rose and ClearQuest need to be addressed by the process engineering supporting the management team. A strong focus on ReqPro is the best approach for teams/projects getting started with the Rational Suite - use Rose as needed to design the solution and ClearQuest as appropriate for change management (though much of this can be done in ReqPro).

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