As part of our ongoing series of Ask Jama webinars, covering customer questions and best practices, our most recent webinar was all about answering your most pressing questions about Jama Connect.
In this webinar, our customer support and professional services team started the session with an overview of Jama Software’s Support and Community resources and then spent the rest of the webinar answering questions from our current and future customers.
This webinar was well received by our customers, and we wanted to make sure nobody missed out on this great content. Below, you’ll find a recording of the webinar and an abbreviated transcript.
Ask Jama: Ask us anything – that’s right – anything about Jama Connect!
Question: How do I improve my team’s quality of requirements authoring? And how do I distinguish system level and sub system level requirements?
Answer: For those that aren’t familiar with Jama Connect, on the right-hand side you’ll see a little relationship diagram, and these boxes are item types. They’re different than documents. They’re really more like data driven, granular specific requirements. So you could have multiple levels of requirements that trace to each other. So that’s essentially how I would differentiate if you had a system requirement, you need to decompose that into multiple sub system requirements. You could utilize this traceability capability.
So, for example, if I’m looking at this manual scheduling system requirement, there’s probably a lot of manual scheduling I could do, I could change the temperature, I could change the schedule of when I’m home or when I’m not home, so I could make that be the sub system requirements that are part of the software, and it’s really just when you have your relationship role set up, you can add sub system requirements that would then be traced to the system requirement. So I think using the multiple item types and the relationship role is a great way to differentiate.
Question: How do I know that a requirement is well written?
Answer: But kind of getting back to the quality, how do I know a requirement is written of a high quality, there’s a lot of different ways that you can tackle that. I have this little text item here called guidance and I find that a lot of our customers do a really good job of putting directly in Jama Connect a link to their work instructions, which has maybe it’s like a process guide, or maybe it’s an actual tactical screen shot by screenshot set of instructions that you, in terms of how you want people to use Jama Connect, and it’s also a great place to put in some requirements offering suggestions.
Systems Engineering Requirements Templates
So, for example, I have here a couple different requirement templates. I have one that’s based on system engineering, so you want to have a trigger, pre-condition, actor, action, object. That’s a very good template to start from and then I’ve got a little example here, like an airbag, when a collision is detected, precondition is and the passenger airbag switches on, the actor is the system, action is it shall detonate and the object is the passenger airbag. Now you don’t necessarily have to write it in a table format but having this little template here in the example can be really nice when you’re authoring, and you can actually work with your Jama Connect admins to add these templates directly in Jama Connect.
Question: What’s the difference between requirements and design?
Answer: The way I like to differentiate it is requirements are really meant to describe the need for something, whereas design is like the response of the how, how we’re actually going to implement that requirement.
So, this is a very simple distinguish differentiation between the two, but obviously if you have a complex system, you might have something more complicated where, like in my example I have stakeholder needs that decompose down to system requirements that decompose into subsystem hardware or software requirements. But it is important that you’re differentiating requirements versus design, because you don’t want to over constrain your development team by putting too much design decisions into the requirements themselves. Of course, that’s always a real challenge and I’m guilty of doing that myself too.
Question: How do baselines relate to document versions?
Answer: For folks that are new to Jama Connect, or haven’t used Jama Connect before, when you have a document, let’s say a word document, I might version it, or I might have it in a SharePoint or a OneDrive system that’s kind of automatically versioning it. When you’re doing that though, especially with requirements specifications, it’s single document version is going to have a lot of unstructured data or unstructured text inside of it, so you might have requirement one, requirement two, requirement three. They’re all contained within document version 3.0, or three different versions of that document. The concept of versioning in Jama Connect is we have different tiers. So when we use the term version we’re actually referring to an individual requirement level.
So I might have requirement one which is on version three, it’s liked to a test A which is on version two, and then I might also have a requirement 2 which is on version five. Each of these items you can actually see if I click on an individual item here. On the right hand side is what we call widgets, and you can see this particular manual scheduling requirement, it’s on version eight. I can click on this version eight and I can see how things have changed. So I made a short little change right before the webinar started here and I want to compare from version seven to version eight, and I can hit the compare button, but that’s going to show me the tracked side by side change, so I can see in red the word monthly was taken away and I replaced it in green with the word weekly. So each of these, that’s the big difference between a document and more of a data driven tool like Jama Connect is that it’s going to be tracking the version at a much more granular level.
Question: Where do baselines come into play?
Answer: Baselines is a term and a concept that we use in Jama Connect, it’s kind of more equivalent to what you might previously thought of as the document version. So baseline will take a group of items and you all as the users can scope what items you want to include in the baseline, and it will take a point in time snapshot of all of those items. So the real differences of document versions is really like the version is relevant to the whole document and there’s a lot of unstructured text. A baseline in Jama Connect is meant to have structured requirements, test cases, whatever it is you’re tracking.
Question: How do I create custom exports?
Answer: it took me a while to learn the difference at least with how we use our terms within Jama Connect between templates and reports. So templates in general are structured formats limited to data stored in the UI, just to give a little bit of a definition and understanding to it. So when we are saving information as a template, we are creating another view for the data. A template can be exported either as is, or used in a report. Our reports are used to avoid the UI to structure and export information, whereas templates are more reflective of the information shown in the UI. Our advanced reports are an export with information either being pulled from the database or API culled. Both of which aren’t capable through the UI.
So, you can create an export or office templates if you don’t mind the limitations of how your information is reorganized and presented outside of Jama Connect. I also do want to note that there is a difference between our office templates and our editor templates. Our office templates are going to be what you use to export. Our reports though are a little bit different. If you are a self-hosted customer, or if you have a self-hosted instance, you can create your own reports.
You can also contact your account manager as well and they can help you in creating a custom report built by one of our report specialists.
Watch the full webinar to see the answers to many of the most commonly asked Jama Connect questions. You can also take a moment to go back and watch a few other our other webinars, like this one on release management options in Jama Connect, or this one on moving from a document-based design control and risk management in medical device development.