Top 10 Requirement Management Tools Problems
The right stack of requirement management tools simplifies requirements management, helping project managers and workers to easily track, measure, evaluate, and communicate to stakeholders.
Conversely, complicated requirement management tools do the opposite –making requirements management harder and may even render a project impossible to deliver.
This post addresses current requirements management tools pitfalls and how to choose the right tools.
Requirements Management Tools Pitfalls
Typically, requirements are presented in more forms than simple lists and include complex structures, references, and dependencies.
The best requirement management tools have to consider these facts to successfully simplify the requirements management process. However, there are tons of requirement management tools with different features.
Some capitalize on features that a particular project doesn’t need or lack a feature that makes a complicated document easier to update. These differences are often what create the pitfalls. Here are the most common:
1. Hard to Learn and Use Tools
The digital landscape gets more complicated each day causing the user experience (UX) and usability of any digital product to be more important than any other feature.
When vendors promise cutting-edge features but negate the importance of making the tool easy-to-use and easy to learn, the tool either ends up taking up more money and time on training or becomes useless.
2. Tools that Cannot Be Customized
Different teams have different needs –especially when an organization is large and the teams are spread out in different departments.
If a management requirement tool calls for consulting packages to customize it or makes no room to change how it functions, it becomes too rigid for the complex needs of a requirement management process.
3. Do Not Get Carried Away By Sales Demos
Sometimes, the sales demo and what you get don’t align. In this case, both the vendor and the purchasing company are to blame. Ideally, a team may have vague objectives for the tool or may have their understanding of what’s more important about the features backward.
For instance, getting lost in the aesthetics such as screen measurements and colors without focusing on a tool’s problem-solving abilities sets an organization up for failure.
For the vendor, they may put up an impressive pre-purchase demo, putting less emphasis on what the customer wants, leaving them with a ‘great on paper’ tool but one that just doesn’t work.
A spreadsheet works just fine for filling out requirements management documents for smaller businesses. But for larger organizations or complex projects, excel spreadsheets and word documents make the work lengthy and tedious.
More than that, it’s easy to have different versions of the same document when a project is being handled by different teams.
Complex projects require finer details, and unless you can find a tool that gives you granular information and makes the data accessible from a central place, it’s easy to create bits and pieces that contribute to project failure.
5. Missing On-Premise Version
An on-premise software version allows the installation of the software on an organization’s servers and on its IT network. Also, it has a lower total cost of ownership because you only pay once for your licenses. The other notable advantage is giving you complete control over your data, hardware, and platforms.
Beyond a missing on-premise version, a tool that doesn’t allow approval and reviews hampers the requirements management process –sometimes forcing teams to rely on emails to collect approvals.
Instead, a good requirements management tool will not only allow for approvals but enable teams to run analyses of the project’s documentation to create a plausible stack of requirements.
6. Excessively Expensive
Many requirements management tools on the market are expensive, which is cost-prohibitive even for many large organizations. This affects many organizations’ ability to collaborate on large projects. These promises may also come with hidden costs that make it hard to maintain the tools.
Complicated requirements management tools also demand training –adding on to the costs through paying for the training and the time spent on the training.
A worthwhile requirements management tool should have advantages that outweigh the cost of lost time and training expenses. This also extends into downtime. Any downtime should be more than made up for through how much work it’s able to get done afterward.
7. Browser Support
Scalability and usability issues plague many browser-based requirements management technologies. For example, rearranging the hierarchy on some browsers can result in a system error, and refreshing a page may result in the loss of work.
In addition to these inconveniences, a tool that only works with some browsers excludes users with other browsers or forces them to adopt a particular browser to accommodate it.
8. Tools that Offer a Good Start but Prove Inefficient As the Process Becomes More Detailed
Unfortunately, most readily available tools work well at the beginning, but as the project expands, they cannot deliver on important aspects and introduce these hitches:
- It becomes difficult to manage structured data in a standardized format.
- It’s impossible to establish relationships and dependencies between requirements data
- It’s hard to trace data and processes creating confusion in the requirements
- Real-time collaboration with stakeholders becomes hard
- Hampered versioning creates clashing or out of date requirements
- Change takes too much time, creating a breeding ground for conflict among team members
9. Floating Vs Node-Locked (Fixed) Licenses
Many requirements management tools on the market only come with node-locked licenses, making it tough to manage licenses and work using multiple devices. These issues do not exist with floating licenses.
10. Adapting to your Process
Many requirements management tools dictate a process. A smart requirement management tool adapts to your current process without any customization cost.
What to Look for in a Requirements Management Tool
With a plethora of options out there and no expert guide for choosing the right tool, you may end up settling for third-party apps that interfere with collaboration, creating a host of long-term problems for your project.
Here are the right criteria for settling on a requirements management tool for your business:
- Need. Determine what you need most out of the software.
- Compare different tools. A clear definition of your needs will help you compare and contrast different tools and settle on the most efficient.
- Accessibility. Assess the accessibility to ensure stakeholders can track, analyze, and alter the requirements according to need.
- Compatibility with other tools. With integration barriers slowing down 84% of company planning, you need to ensure that the software integrates with your suite of tools to streamline processes and secure data.
- Ease of use. This is important to ensure the tool enhances productivity instead of dwindling it
Tools are always created to make work easier. If a tool complicates the job instead, it’s time to replace it with a tool that’s truly built to do the hard work so you can focus on your relevant project activities.
Goda Software is all about making lifecycle management easy with a tool called Doc Sheets. It’s highly scalable, collaborative, offers traceability, and comes with an easy-to-use and appealing interface. Stop stalling your projects with poor requirement management tools and use Doc Sheets instead. Learn more.