Digital transformation is an urgent priority for businesses in 2021. Many organizations accelerated their digital transformation efforts during the pandemic and rapidly adopted a variety of tools; but looking to the future, it’s critical that you take a deep dive into what digital transformation can offer your business — and the best tools to achieve your goals. Digital transformation is not just about adopting more tools, it’s about adopting the right tools.
A critical area of opportunity is product development. Processes in this area are often fragmented across a variety of teams, all working in silos. This puts organizations at risk for product delays, defects, cost overruns, failed verifications and validations, recalls, and more. Two major challenges are:
- Critical information is fragmented. Product development processes are fragmented and siloed within teams.
- Critical data is trapped. The requirements that specify dependencies and outcomes are trapped within static documents.
Many organizations still use document-based requirements management workflows, which creates fragmentation and doesn’t help companies better serve their customers or get products to market faster. Additionally, product development teams don’t have visibility into what they need most, and communication is siloed and disconnected. Adopting end-to-end visibility supports stronger digital transformation and helps you get products to market faster and with greater efficiency.
Why Document-Based Requirements Management Isn’t Designed for the Future
Over half of product launches (55%) don’t happen on time. The root cause is often product development issues, such as missed bugs or “feature creep.” Using document-based requirements complicates challenges because there may be many different versions of the same document floating around an organization. Stakeholders struggle to connect, give feedback and provide timely approvals. Additionally, as a company grows, managing documents in this way is not scalable.
The result is product teams spending a large amount of time on manual tasks, in some cases more time than they would spend developing and managing the actual requirements. Improved collaboration is possible if organizations use solutions that enable real-time interactions, shorter review cycles and a consolidated system of record. This creates a single source of truth that supports more efficient product development and digital transformation.
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How creating a single source of truth supports digital transformation
Fragmentation and confusion occur when project activities are spread out across many different communication channels. Teams face difficulties creating a cohesive workflow and getting everyone on the same page. A few potential challenges of not having a single source of truth are:
- Projects evolve in an “out of sync” environment. Key updates manually circulating in lengthy documents may be lost in inboxes. A disconnected communication process complicates the tracking requirements and can even change them, resulting in different versions of the truth.
- Stakeholders are confused about which document is the latest version. Lack of cohesive communication may leave confusion about which version of a document is the most up to date. Teams may work in silos and make time-consuming errors due to this issue.
- A document-based approach creates extra manual work. A document-based approach, such as one using Word or Excel, isn’t designed for managing requirements, leaving additional manual work. For example, teams may need to create their own processes for adhering to industry standards.
A platform that centralizes everything in a single system of record offers a single source of truth that is often missing from many product development processes.
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Centralizing Your Requirements in a Single Platform
Digital transformation is about delivering value through improved understanding of data, alignment of data and the ability to act on that data. Achieving a single source of truth by centralizing your requirements in one platform enables you to secure a competitive edge in the market.
As product development processes become more complicated, traditional document-based requirements management has revealed its age and limitations. To successfully move from a document-based process, you need a solution that can do the following:
- Supports real-time communication and provides the full context of conversations.
- Provides a single system of record for requirements, risks and tests.
- Supports risk analysis throughout the entire development process.
- Allows for easy exporting of reports to prove compliance and pass audits.
- Offers end-to-end traceability that enables you to view the impact of a change prior to its being made and ensure product quality with complete coverage.
Jama Connect enables real-time collaboration in one convenient location and replaces fragmented workflows spread across multiple documents and communication channels. Collaborators can easily manage requirements and risks in a single system in real time, which results in a single source of truth. This helps you prevent many of the challenges that arise from emailing collaborators with new changes or requirements, or requesting that comments be left in a Word or Excel document.
Moving Into the Future
True digital transformation requires organizations to evaluate how technology can support the right strategy, generate accurate insights and foster informed decision-making. When looking at strategies to integrate digital transformation into your organization, consider leveraging a competitive advantage in the area of product development.
Doing this successfully enables you to simplify complex development cycles, bridge collaboration gaps, build quality products, get to market faster and reduce risk around compliance.