Best Practices

Finding Gaps in your Requirements Process (The Easy Way)

 

Jama Software recently hosted a webinar, KPIs for Product and Systems Development Success, that talked about the importance of getting visibility into your development data to improve performance, reveal roadblocks and establish predictability. The webinar walked through a balanced scorecard framework that outlines KPIs you can start tracking to measure the speed, quality and accuracy of your product process.

One big question posed by many of the webinar participants: “How can we easily discover gaps in requirements for our various projects or programs?” We thought it would be helpful to provide a more detailed answer, with a focus on the analysis you can pull from Jama Connect and Jira Software.

Just as clearly defining requirements up front is a critical component of success, so too is having the ability to identify roadblocks that can introduce costly late-stage changes that could impact your delivery date and quality.

With the new enhancements recently released in Jama Analyze, product teams can now pull detailed requirements data from Jama Connect filters into Jama Analyze* to better understand how items (e.g., requirements, sub-requirements, defects) are changing over time and identify gaps in the process.

Let’s dig into some examples of how you can start identifying and bridging requirement gaps today.

Requirements by status

Understanding how requirements are defined and how they move through the approval and development process is important to know if you’re going to hit your release target and, if not, to identify where requirements are getting stuck. Here we can see many requirements that have been sitting in the review cycle, with few moving to completion.

 

 

Requirements collaboration

If you have a large number of requirements in the collaboration process for a long period of time, you can dig in to see if there is a lack of activity in the collaboration process or if there is too much activity that is slowing the process down. The chart below compares the trend for requirements that have no comments alongside requirements that have more collaboration activity (more than 10 comments). You can then drill into Jama Connect to see the specific requirements and engage key stakeholders.

 

 

Percent of requirements to completion or requirements burn up

You can also trend the percentage of requirements that are completed and compare the results across projects to see where you have progress and where things are being held up.

 

 

For even more insight, you can trend this across the percentage of features or stories completed to better understand the status of more specific downstream items that feed into your requirements.

Backlog health (Jama + Jira)

Monitoring your backlog health — or the speed at which your teams are consuming your backlog — helps you diagnose the wellness of your product backlog. Here, we’ve set a target of 3 sprints’ worth of stories ready for work but you can see we’re falling below our target. If there are too few prepared stories, teams may start to struggle with poorly defined requirements as they scramble. A healthy backlog is key to understanding your requirements process and to stay ahead of idle teams, invalid stories and unhappy developers and product owners.

 

 

Quality coverage 

Looking at quality coverage helps you identify where requirements are lacking downstream coverage. As you progress through your sprint or project, coverage should continue to increase. At any time, you can dig into Jama Connect to see the specific requirements, stories or features that are lacking coverage.

 

 

Production defects rate

Understanding the trend of in-progress or open defects is another important area to explore to see if defects are being discovered and resolved or are remaining stagnant.

 

 

These are just a few examples of how you can start to define and understand trends in your process and know where to dig in if you identify roadblocks. As your data builds over time, you’ll be able to know what a good iteration or development process looks like and use that data to inform future development efforts. The key to getting this insight is to start as quickly as possible!

 

*Jama Analyze is a SaaS solution and is currently available to Jama Connect Cloud customers. It is also used by organizations who are trending data from other cloud-based solutions like Jira Software, GitHub and more.