Companies succeed and fail based on their ability to deliver compelling products fast enough and within cost. They look for any advantage that will help drive and optimize efficiency. Modern engineering teams work directly with the business to explore better ways to align communication and reuse intellectual property (IP) across different groups and departments.
Because it’s so critical, companies have always evaluated their tool choices, at least during renewal or between projects. But today, with new technologies, Agile’s maturity, and with the burgeoning Internet of Things, organizations should question whether traditional methodologies and tools meet their needs.
High-performing enterprise companies are looking for solutions that include options such as SaaS, improved user experience, robust features and integrations, and real-time analytics. These companies recognize that the advantages of implementing a modern solution are worth the cost of change.
Since IBM purchased DOORS (originally built in 1983), they’ve made limited improvements to the product. IBM has instead focused on the Jazz platform, specifically DOORS Next Generation (DOORS NG). Today, IBM commits its resources to the cloud; Rational DOORS customers should be concerned.
The “Next Generation” name, too, implies an end-of-life message for Rational DOORS. IBM previously announced an end of life for DOORS 9 a few years ago, but retracted after backlash from frustrated customers due to the difficult migration process and limitations of DOORS NG.
DOORS 9 is often the incumbent, so a comparison between Jama and DOORS 9 is an evaluation of Jama as a viable replacement. It’s no secret that there is widespread dissatisfaction with DOORS 9, and alongside IBM’s inconsistent message around the future of DOORS 9, more companies are evaluating alternatives such as Jama. In the rare case that a company is considering DOORS 9 as a new solution, it is because they have external pressures to use it. Still, companies are eager to find alternatives that address these external pressures (such as support for ReqIF) so that they can avoid using DOORS 9. Consider these four key concepts when comparing DOORS and Jama:
Adoption didn’t matter as much when work was less complex and teams didn’t need to interact as frequently. Over the last decade, with the rise of software and Agile concepts, high-performing teams have embraced the advantages that technology and collaboration offer. This requires processes and tools that bring teams together. As leaders look to avoid mistakes of the past, ease of use has increased in importance in tool selection.
DOORS remains a desktop application with a partial web client and provides a limited scope of capabilities. DOORS features are static, and they still require teams write code in order to achieve simple automations and configurations for basic requirements management. These product limitations restrict companywide adoption.
Jama prioritizes the user experience. We’re always working to streamline required steps and interactions. We partner closely with our customers, constantly looking for that perfect balance between advanced functionality and usability. We conduct regular contextual interviews to understand a customer’s specific technical needs, and to share new perspectives that enable them to unlock hidden productivity, quality and alignment only achievable using Jama as a requirements tool.
The modern recipe for innovation is invention + momentum. Companies need tools that expedite innovation, so they can get new features faster and keep pace with today’s market. As requirements management evolves into the modern world—think collaboration, Agile, speed and innovation—the breadth of features and the associated vision is crucial. Even for large, complex projects, companies need tools that will grow with them. They need to find partnership in a company aligned with their vision.
At Jama, we have developed innovative features including the Review Center, Stream and Enterprise Reuse. We are constantly working to enhance and build on our platform, which is 100% web-based and deployed via the cloud or behind an internal firewall. We see huge opportunities to improve traditional processes that make our customers’ lives easier and help them build better products. Our release process provides customers with new features quickly; in fact, customers are able to see new features on a monthly basis even when participating in beta programs. We also have options for customers unable to adapt as fast due to validation needs or ISO 26262 processes.
The value of purposeful collaboration can’t be overestimated. Collaboration drives company alignment and process improvement. Solutions are no longer simply repositories of data, they are places where teams work toward a common goal. Simple threaded conversations are not enough. Collaboration is more about connecting people, teams, departments and organizations to help them make decisions, gain alignment and move the work forward. Collaboration and communication continue to come up during the evaluation process, as more customers recognize the critical differences between chatter and purposeful, action-oriented collaboration.
Through collaboration, Jama has demonstrated how a simple feature can drive adoption. When Jama implemented the Stream feature, we leveraged the benefits of social platform immediacy, but customized for specific business needs. By blending Jama’s expertise in Agile methodologies and the discipline of Systems Engineering, we built an integrated collaboration flow that reduced noise and unblocked work. We measure this feature set not on the number of conversations but the reduction in time teams take to gain alignment and move on.
When evaluating solutions, make sure you understand the value of product features. This is especially important when changing tools becomes necessary. Companies want the features they’re used to; the paradox is that these same companies also want to change or improve their process.
We’ve included a brief comparison between the core features of Jama and DOORS to highlight the similarities and differences. We have tried our best to be unbiased with this list, but we recognize that this is ultimately a small part of a broader evaluation.
Suffice it to say that Jama believes any feature must contribute to the critical functionality of the tool in a meaningful way. Features should be fundamental; those that don’t improve workflow are optional, not essential.
|Structure configurability||Item types, hierarchy, modules, fields||Item types, hierarchy, projects, components, fields
(Both Jama and DOORS offer similar hierarchical capabilities, which is important for easing migration)
|Document review capabilities||Jama prides itself on Review Center flow for reviewing and collaborating on items. Some companies have copied elements of this feature since introduction.|
|Item level workflow||Must use DXL||Point and click to configurability built-in|
|Customizable views||Views can be configured and saved by admins and users||Jama has some view capabilities specific to the list view.|
|Configurable taxonomy||Requirements taxonomy schema/rules do not exist||Traceability schemas can be defined, enforced, and visualized.|
|Traceability||Offers basic, traditional traceability||Many intuitive features focused on traceability as a core part of the Jama system.|
|Change management||Add-on required||Built-in and configurable|
|Reuse||Performed via Clone and Own mechanism||Point and click UI flow with advanced rules for repeatability. Includes synchronization between branches.|
|Version history||Difficult to track individual versions of requirements||Easy to track and compare versions|
|Test cases||Test items with limited actual testing capabilities, good integrations with testing solutions.||Test Center that includes creating test plans, test cycles, and executing test runs. Good integrations with leading testing solutions.|
|Import/Export (word, excel)||Can parse on keywords||Relies on structure of document|
|ReqIF support||Full support||No current support but prototypes are being built.
Jama is also partnering with Tasktop to evaluate alternatives to ReqIF as there is some debate about ReqIF’s future viability.
|Integrations||DOORS has a lot of integrations simply from being the long-term incumbent.||Jama has many of the core integrations. We’ve also partnered with Tasktop.|
|OLE||Full Support||Only supports attachments. Manual configuration management|
|OSLC||Full Support||No support, currently evaluating need.|