Stringent regulations and growing competition motivated the company to seek better requirements management processes
This Fortune 500 company’s products and services are powered by internally developed technologies that are designed to provide security, convenience, and a sense of confidence to its customers. With development teams, customers, and partners scattered across 100 countries, the customer’s software development process needs to run as smoothly as possible. An integral part of the company’s application development process is the elicitation, specification, and analysis of high-level business requirements submitted by its business partners. Requirements definition and management needs to be textual, visual, and collaboratively defined in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding branding, loyalty programs, service options, and more.
The company had been using a variety of off the-shelf technologies, including Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, to manage all of its requirements. One Excel-based document was extremely critical to the company’s development process: It was the common vehicle for capturing all key requirements, and it also fed the company’s downstream testing tools to verify compliance to requirements.
Although the company’s development teams had been managing requirements with Word, Excel, and other standalone tools for the past 20 years, the company realized that more stringent government regulations and the company’s own internal growth objectives made this approach unsustainable. Increased competition, new online rivals, and the threat of commoditization were also pushing the need to deliver new products to market much more quickly.
The way the company managed requirements presented a number of challenges:
- Lack of collaboration: It was difficult for multiple development teams and clients to collaborate over requirements since only one person could work on a document at a time.
- Ineffective change management: Because requirements were managed in Word and Excel, it was very time-consuming and difficult to identify and assess the impact of change.
- Limited reuse: Storing “final” requirements in siloed Lotus Notes databases and SharePoint-based repositories made it difficult for teams to reuse requirements from other projects.