Tag Archive for: modern product development

product development platform

We’ve seen numerous organizations adopt Jama Connect™ to help manage the complexity of modern product development. And from this, we’ve gained incredible insight into what makes organizations successful before – and after – adopting Jama Connect. One thing we’ve learned is that getting executive buy-in for the adoption of a modern product development platform can make the difference between success and failure.

While Jama Connect is a powerful product development platform, organizations who deploy our solution in conjunction with the following processes see the most tangible success.

With the proper implementation, communication, and support networks in place, Jama Connect can help you:

  • Build higher-quality products with fewer defects and less risk and rework
  • Bring your products to market faster and more efficiently
  • Decrease time spent in meetings so that more time can be spent innovating

Gaining Executive Sponsorship and What it Means for Your Product Development Platform Rollout

Transforming your product development process involves much more than just purchasing a platform – it demands involvement and commitment from many parts of an organization. Perhaps most importantly, it requires executive buy-in and support.

Gaining the support of an executive sponsor is critical to the success of Jama Connect within your organization. The sponsor’s primary role is to ensure that the implementation and deployment of Jama Connect aligns with the organization’s strategic goals and business objectives while also communicating Jama Connect’s business value across the organization.

In fact, if you take one lesson from this blog, it’s this:

Having an executive sponsor (or more than one) helps ensure that:

  • Leadership supports the initiative
  • The value of the product development platform is adequately communicated to all parties
  • Proper resources are assigned
  • Adoption is prioritized
  • Any roadblocks that may arise during the rollout are cleared
  • Issues are elevated to the right people in order to continue as planned

Executive sponsors are also accountable for the success of the product development platform within the organization and have the authority to implement recommended process changes that may arise during the project rollout.

Communication Before, During, and After Implementing Your Rollout

A product development platform is an investment. If you want your team and executive leadership to understand the value of it, you must identify your key business objectives, the corresponding challenges, and demonstrate how the solution can help (for instance, speeding time to market, cutting costs, mitigating risk).

Once you’ve identified the key business objectives that can be directly tied to Jama Connect, communicate this to end-users and anyone else who is impacted by the implementation. Expect to be asked “Why Jama?,” and have a clear answer for which business objectives Jama Connect helps solve.

Some organizations make the mistake of believing that adopting Jama Connect only affects product development teams. The truth is, implementing a new platform and process is far-reaching, and needs to be communicated across the organization. In fact, for the sake of transparency and clarity, you’ll want to have a good answer for “What’s in it for me?” for each impacted stakeholder.

You’ll especially want to consider the needs and objectives of the following people:

  • Managers and executives
  • Requirements management owners (product managers, BAs, system engineers)
  • Engineering / Development teams (HW/SW Engineers)
  • Test teams
  • Quality/Compliance teams

Change is Difficult – Make it Worth the Effort

Of course, the most important teams to communicate with are ones that will use Jama Connect on a daily basis. The primary impacted stakeholders will be more receptive to a major change if they are participating in the process, rather than being told that they must adopt a new tool.

Change is difficult, and without a full understanding of the benefits of using a new product development platform, teams may feel frustrated or resistant. One way to preemptively combat resistance is by identifying long- and short-term goals for each team involved.

Make sure to give teams context into why this is important, along with what changes to expect and when. Be prepared to explain the benefits of Jama – how it will improve workflows and how it will support corporate objectives.

PRO TIP: Ask your executive sponsor to continue the communication across the organization with a monthly update that keeps the teams informed about what Jama is, why it exists and how it’s empowering your organization to meet its goals. For internal communication, this content could easily be incorporated into any existing recurring communication channel your leadership uses.

 


Digital TransformationDigital 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:

  1. Critical information is fragmented. Product development processes are fragmented and siloed within teams.
  2. 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.


RELATED POST: What is the Digital Thread?

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.


RELATED POST: Requirements Management – Living, Not Static

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.


RELATED POST: The Importance of Centralizing Your Requirements in One Platform

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.


Download our eBook to learn how optimize product development with strategic team collaboration.

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product development

It’s a given that the only constant is change — and in product development, change is vital. In fact, in some sense, product development depends on change through creative destruction. Without a focus on innovation and continuous improvement, products stagnate and companies go out of business.

But one change that is not always beneficial to the product development process is movement of human resources. In a volatile and uncertain business environment, human resources change constantly, which means that knowledge moves from team to team, company to company. In addition, as the workforce ages, many companies experience a loss both formal and informal knowledge that is hard to quantify. How can companies safeguard both formal and informal knowledge as talent moves around and workers retire?

The Human Factor

Every day, approximately 10,000 people in the US turn 65 — the “standard” age of retirement. While not everyone who turns 65 retires immediately, thousands of experienced employees leave the workforce every year, taking a wealth of knowledge with them into retirement. Though these workers may willingly pass on their knowledge, a lack of systems or processes for gathering that knowledge — especially informal knowledge — means that much of it is lost forever.

One complicating factor in passing down knowledge is that the next generation poised for leadership — Generation X — is significantly smaller than the Baby Boomer generation. While knowledge has historically been passed organically between generations as a younger generation rises up to gradually take the place of the older one, the small size of GenX means an inevitable gap between Boomers and GenX.

Finally, both GenX and Millennials, who comprise about 35% of the US workforce, value workplace flexibility over stability. Those younger employees may capture the knowledge of one Baby Boomer predecessor, but that knowledge could end up fragmented across many different companies or teams.

It’s difficult to know exactly what knowledge any single employee will possess until that employee is gone. This isn’t to say that employees want to hide or obfuscate information — they simply have informal knowledge that isn’t easily captured by existing processes. Leaders have historically tried a variety of ways to capture knowledge, but in the digital era, training and transition reports aren’t enough. Companies need technology tools that will help capture knowledge and make it easily accessible for future use.


RELATED POST: 6 Things Organizations Overlook About Digital Transformation


Knowledge Capture in the Age of Digital Transformation

As part of the digital transformation in product development, leaders need to use appropriate technologies that help teams and organizations adapt and thrive in an environment of constant change. To that end, software solutions that capture the formal and informal knowledge of every employee can be key to future-proofing the product development process.

In order to effectively capture knowledge across the product development lifecycle from all team members, any digital solution should:

Enable comprehensive collaboration: Anyone can create an Excel or Word file and put it on a shared drive. The problem is that such documents can get overridden or forgotten, and the information they contain may not be comprehensive or robust enough to pass knowledge to the entire team. A genuinely comprehensive solution will give employees a single source to track decisions, questions, and problems.

Improve efficiency: With a single source for information, teams can reduce design inconsistencies and discrepancies. In this way, teams capture knowledge without even realizing it as team members can offer input, solutions, and answers in a way that codifies knowledge in a single place.

Integrate with other digital tools: Product development does not rely on a single digital tool. For real digital transformation of product development, tools should be integrated across the process and lifecycle. By integrating the tools that help trace and track development with other digital solutions, team knowledge is captured at multiple levels and in multiple places, streamlining future projects.

Merging Talent and Technology

Ultimately, the most important part of digital transformation in product development is talent, not technology. Fostering an environment that encourages learning, curiosity, and teamwork will offer the greatest benefits in knowledge preservation. But in a digital age, companies need to merge talent with technology to capture both formal and informal knowledge before key people retire or move on to other endeavors. Digital tools are a key ingredient in future-proofing product development.

Jama Connect can help you capture the knowledge of your best and brightest product development professionals.


Have confidence that you’re selecting the right requirements management solution by downloading our checklist for essential features and functionality.

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product and systems development

2020 has been a year that’s been described as “unprecedented” and “unparalleled” – as well as other descriptors probably best left out of our blog. As we close out this year, it’s hard to say what awaits us in the new one. One thing that we can be sure of is that innovation in medicine, science, and technology shows no sign of slowing down.

As we enter a new year of technological advancements, Jama Software asked select thought leaders – both internal and external – across various industries for the trends and events they foresee unfolding over the next year and beyond.

In the final part of our four-part series, we ask Josh Turpen, Chief Product Officer at Jama Software, to weigh in on product and systems development trends he’s anticipating for engineering teams in 2021. You can also go back and read Part I, Part II, and Part III of our 2021 predictions series, which focus on predictions for medical device, airborne systems, and automotive development (respectively).

What product, systems, and software development trends are you expecting to take shape in 2021? 
Josh Turpen:

I think 2021 is when investments in Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) will start to pay off. We’ve seen an increase in capabilities building to the point that material work can be done using these technologies. Supply the right data and real insights can be delivered.  

In terms of product and systems development, what do you think will remain the same over the next decade? What will change? 
Josh Turpen:

The Digital Thread will continue to be a focus for systems engineers. Connecting disparate data streams into a cohesive view of product development remains a critical, if elusive, goal.   

With more investment in product development more rigor will come. Connecting development efforts to value, reducing product delivery risk and ensuring that budget holders “get what they paid for” will become a prime responsibility for development teams. 


RELATED: What is the Definition of a Digital Thread?


What sorts of process adjustments do you think development teams will need to make to be successful in 2021?  
Josh Turpen:

Focus on systems and processes that deliver value and don’t be afraid to jettison or modify those that don’t. We’ve all been told there’s a “way to do it” and we all read the blogs that claim success with a methodology. Don’t ignore the anecdotes but focus instead on what works for your development and never lose sight of delivering a valuable product.  

What do you think will be some of the differentiators between a company surviving to see 2030, and those that do not? 
Josh Turpen:

Companies that are not focused on product development at scale are in trouble. Their competitors are. 

Where do you see Jama Software fitting in as the product development landscape evolves, and what can our customers expect as 2021 approaches?  
Josh Turpen:

The definition of value, and the verification that the product delivers that value, are where Jama Software will continue to focus. We’ve got some exciting things on the horizon for variant management, test validation, and ML/NLP that I’m excited to get into the hands of our customers.  

Is there anything else you’d like to add about the future of complex product and systems development in the upcoming year and beyond?  
Josh Turpen:

I’m consistently impressed with what our customers are doing. From launching rockets to saving lives it is an exciting time to be in complex product development. I can’t wait to see what customers will build next with Jama Connect! 


Thanks for tuning into our 2021 Predictions Series! To see some of the incredible things our customers are building with Jama Connect, visit our Customer Stories page.  

SEE CUSTOMER STORIES


 

Product Development Challenges

Do you know the most common product development challenges engineers face? In this post, we have identified them and provided solutions that enable a more modern and efficient product development process.

An ideal product development process requires close collaboration between teams, up-to-date knowledge of applicable regulations, and efficient requirements management platforms for defining, verifying, and validating requirements. However, not every manager is convinced that his or her team needs to do a better job on requirements development and management, or that such an investment will pay off—despite numerous industry studies which indicate that requirements issues are a pervasive cause of project distress.

With the growing complexity of products and software, the more complicated the process required to build it becomes—and the accompanying increased risk of flaws which can lead to expensive, and potentially reputation-harming recalls.

These new complexities have raised the stakes—and made the case—for the need to optimize the product development process from end to end. Engineering and design teams need solutions to the most common product development challenges that provide purposeful, structured collaboration; connect globally distributed team members; and accurately capture and facilitate feedback, decision making, and context for requirements under review.

Doing so requires first overcoming some significant obstacles. To help navigate the journey toward better product development, let’s examine ten of the most prominent product development challenges engineers face and their corresponding solutions.

1. Move on from outdated legacy or document-based solutions

The Product Development Challenge: The traditional approach to managing risks and requirements is highly manual. Teams that operate with a documents-based approach, exchange numerous spreadsheets, and versioned documents via email. This method has real drawbacks:

  • No single source of truth: A spreadsheet with a project’s traceability matrices could have many cells, but no guarantee its data was authoritative or even up to date. Different versions might be floating around, requiring any changes to be painstakingly manually coordinated to achieve team-wide alignment.
  • Limited collaboration: Sending complex requirements documents over email leads to important updates getting lost in people’s inboxes and projects being delayed. As remote teams become more common, such issues are even trickier to manage.
  • Excessive rework: Without effective change management—which is very hard for teams who rely on static, emailed requirements documents—teams often end up developing (or testing) off of older versions of requirements which inevitably leads to misalignment and costly rework.

The Solution: Jama Connect™ provides the single source of truth absent from document-based solutions. Teams from anywhere can collaborate in real-time on a unified platform and capture accurate feedback, review progress, and conduct approvals. That leads to earlier identification and control of risks, which helps reduce rework and keep projects on schedule and under budget.

2. Simplify compliance and meet regulations or standards

The Product Development Challenge: Product development has become much more complicated over time. As a result, so has product risk—and the accompanying regulatory compliance required.

A Jama Software-sponsored survey on Engineering.com found that 62% of respondents reported being reprimanded by regulatory agencies for product development issues. More broadly, recalls have been increasing in certain industries, with medical device recalls more than doubling year-over-year in Q1 2018, due primarily to software-related defects.

The Solution: To address these product development challenges, Jama Connect is engineered to ensure quality with frameworks aligned to key industry standards that streamline design, development, and risk management while maintaining compliance.

Jama Connect helps customers in industries like medical device, aerospace, and automotive solve this product development challenge by streamlining their quality and risk management processes with defined processes for development and production and detailed traceability—from the high-level user needs and systems requirements through to validation and verification. Teams can streamline their product development with templates aligned with industry standards, compliant reviews and approvals, and end-to-end traceability making audit preparation and record-keeping a straightforward process.

3. Establish and implement effective review cycles

The Product Development Challenge: Without the right platform and processes in place, review cycles can be time-consuming and fragmented. For example, under the manual approach to requirements management described earlier, a review cycle can be repeatedly delayed due to versioning issues with documents and lack of visibility throughout the review process. Teams can also spend hours per week in review meetings, just to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Streamlined review cycles require:

  • One source of truth for requirements and tests
  • A straightforward way to send items like requirements, user stories, or test cases for review
  • Best practices for each of the major roles involved (i.e., reviewer, approver, moderator)
  • Real-time collaboration within a shared, dynamic requirements management platform
  • A formal approval process to capture and record sign-off

RELATED: Streamlining Requirements Reviews: Best Practices for Moderators, Reviewers, and Approvers


The Solution: Jama Connect Review Center can solve this product development challenge by serving as the single place for reviewers, approvers, and moderators to collect and manage all requirements and feedback for a project in real-time.

Inviting internal and external collaborators into a review cycle is easy, plus roles can be assigned and all agreed-upon requirements approved much more quickly than with manual processes. Pharmaceutical manufacturer Grifols reduced its planning time by 80% by using Jama Connect to accelerate review cycles.

4. Enable secure, cross-functional collaboration across teams, customers, and complex supply chains

The Product Development Challenge: People working together is at the very core of all product development work. The ability to effectively collaborate is critical for innovation. In this era of rapidly accelerating change, structured and strategic team collaboration is the key to improving the product development process for all team members. And in this era, the “team” includes everyone across the supply chain.

Today’s market demands require companies to build partnerships and seek solutions with more specialized materials. These partnerships mean greater sharing of data across distributed teams, partner organizations, and business units, sending a ripple effect through the supply chain as subsystem suppliers must anticipate features on the finished products and get ahead of release schedules and component costs.

But for engineers who are used to working on internal, siloed teams, these new partnerships present previously unforeseen challenges. What worked before doesn’t work today.

Aligned requirements management is necessary for developing products that meet all customer and market requirements while adhering to industry regulations and standards. More specifically, optimized gathering and authoring of requirements are needed to ensure product quality and meet specific requirements, minimize risks, accurately scope projects, enable collaboration, and align teams.

The Solution: Requirements gathering should follow a systematic process, focused on what eventual end users will do and the requirements that must be met to support those behaviors. This approach ensures that both high- and low-level requirements and their dependencies are covered and that corresponding tests can be set up and run.

As teams seek input and feedback on product and systems requirements, tools like Jama Connect are critical in capturing these insights in real-time. With everyone having access to the most up-to-date information, stakeholders can stay informed and aligned, reviews can be streamlined, and teams have better visibility into the progress of their work. This helps reduce the complexities of communication and saves time by having a single source of information regardless of geographic or institutional location, which enables collaboration across a variety of relationships. Having a single platform where these teams can come together to review and connect will keep programs on track, keep teams collaborating, not let insights slip through cracks, and allow for innovation.

Engineers typically collaborate with outside companies by exchanging requirements. Data Exchange for Jama Connect enables the transfer of requirements and associated metadata between customers and suppliers. The solution allows for the import, export, and update of requirements data to create an ongoing exchange throughout the product development lifecycle, allowing for collaboration to extend to remote engineering teams and companies.

RBC Medical saved an average of $150,000 per project by upgrading to Jama Connect eliminating the back-and-forth email tag that characterized its previously manual processes.


RELATED: How to Avoid Ambiguity and Save Your Requirements


5. Ensure product quality and improve change management with complete traceability

The Product Development Challenge: Maintaining cross-team visibility and staying on top of disparate documentation and processes along the way is a central challenge of working with manual, document-based workflows. It becomes difficult to accurately assess the impact of a proposed change (i.e., perform impact analysis) and to ultimately ensure requirements are properly tracked across the entire product development lifecycle.

The Solution: To make impact analysis more scalable, teams need end-to-end traceability. In Jama Connect, links that are downstream from modified items get automatically flagged as “suspect,” and relevant contributors can be notified right away to take corrective action. Modern traceability software maps out the relationships and interdependencies in product development, allowing for assiduous tracking of risks and requirements in their full historical context.

Important data, such as the percent of downstream test cases that have passed and where coverage may be missing, is also easy to view, while the system’s requirements can be updated in a centralized place as the project progresses.

The right requirements management technology can provide clear traceability that allows teams to maintain a rigorous formal change management process; reveals interdependencies with the process; and enables alignment, making it easier to bring in the right decision-makers at the right time. This level of traceability, with visibility into who made each change and for what reasons, has become especially important as products and systems become more complex and software-driven.

The result is improved confidence that teams are working with the right requirements, have the information they need to conduct useful impact analysis and are generally able to trace forward from, and back to, requirements as needed.


RELATED: Five Tips for Requirements Traceability


6. Manage development complexities across hardware and software teams

The Product Development Challenge: Software is an ingrained part of modern product development and one that can greatly increase risk if not properly managed. Moreover, complex software requirements have to be managed in tandem with those for hardware. The growing connectivity embedded into today’s ever more complex and often safety-critical products, puts pressure on both software and hardware teams to manage their development processes with more efficiency and effectivity. In fact, in a recent study from Engineering.com, over the last five years, 76% of respondents reported dealing with three or more increased measures of complexity and 25% saw their products become more complex in five or more ways.

The Solution: In a platform like Jama Connect, risks and requirements related to software and hardware can be managed proactively, not reactively. Teams can quickly see the full historical context around a requirement when they receive invitations to contribute to a project. Out-of-the-box frameworks that include industry-specific, software development methodology and risk management also minimize setup time, so that important risks in software and hardware can be identified, assessed, and acted upon as early as possible.

Configurable workflows accommodate various process styles, development methods, and tools to ensure adoption, with flexibility to support your Agile, Scaled Agile or Hybrid development process. Requirements data can be integrated with other tools across the development process to ensure everyone stays aligned.

One of the most common scenarios is integration of requirements to Atlassian Jira. With the Jama Connect for Jira integration, product teams can maintain critical information about their product requirements and test cases and directly connect them to development activities in Atlassian Jira, including sprint planning, task management, estimations, and defect and issue tracking.


RELATED: 3 Ways Products Became More Complex in the Last Five Years


7. Increase quality and efficiency by testing earlier in the lifecycle

The Product Development Challenge: It’s well understood that identifying potential defects earlier in the lifecycle prevents costly rework. But how can organizations proactively involve QA at the front end of the process?

The Solution: Early testing prevents defects from surviving until the late stages of the lifecycle, when they become especially costly to fix. In addition, early and frequent testing allows for innovation.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has estimated that the relative cost of fixing a software bug is 30 times higher in production than in the requirements and architecture stage of development.

Conducting some form of testing, at every stage of the product development lifecycle, is highly recommended. Getting the right feedback at the right time ensures that you can deliver a high-quality product on time.

In the early stages of development, performing customer exploratory testing is the most cost-effective way to make sure your product strategy is on the mark. And, at the end of the development lifecycle, conduct system integration tests to ensure components are working harmoniously.

Jama Connects helps engineering and quality assurance teams define, organize, and execute requirements-based test plans and test cases to ensure quality and compliance. Teams can streamline reviews and approvals, perform manual testing, and integrate with trusted test execution and automation solutions.


RELATED: Characteristics of a Good Test Management System


8. Implement effective requirements versioning, baselining, and change management

The Product Development Challenge: Legacy requirements management systems frequently complicate version control, due to the prevalence of conflicting requirements documents that are manually managed, often owned by varied teams and then distributed cross-functionally. Likewise, they don’t provide the right infrastructure for effective change management, because of the difficulty involved in identifying the latest versions and applying any needed changes amid all of the different documentation in question. Changes might ultimately be made only at a late stage, and at great cost.

The Solution: A requirements management platform like Jama Connect can solve this product development challenge by allowing teams to align their releases to ensure they deliver a cohesive solution/product to their customers. With versioning, baselining, and change management of the requirements in place, teams are able to manage and reuse requirements throughout the development lifecycle. This allows development teams to improve reuse, reduce design inconsistencies, and reduce the discrepancies found during testing, verification, and validation.

Jama Connect offers full control over the requirements you are choosing to reuse. You can not only choose the set of requirements you want to reuse but also the version of those requirements as well. This allows you to take the best and most applicable version of your requirements forward to your next project.

Studies reveal that 60 to 80 percent of requirements, code, and tests are shared between projects. With Jama Connect, you can reuse your data for effective sequential or parallel product development which saves your development teams time and improves time-to-market.


RELATED: Defining and Implementing Requirements Baselines


9. Make it easier to coordinate remote engineering teams

The Product Development Challenge: Remote work is on the rise. Although it has many benefits in team flexibility and cost savings for the organization as a whole, it can complicate collaboration and result in additional operational silos as each remote engineer settles into their own workflow and preferred set of tools.

The Solution: Modern platforms that enable real-time, structured collaboration simulate the efficiency of engineering teams working together in a shared physical workspace. For example, engineers can be easily invited into Jama Connect conversations and reviews, notify each other with custom messages and supporting context, and be assured that they’re always working with the latest information.

Such a setup solves this product development challenge by reducing silos and keeping everyone aligned. Buffer’s State of Remote Work survey for 2020 found that communication and collaboration were among the most cited challenges with telecommuting. Teams that still operate in silos with legacy systems will not be equipped to meet the demands of the market going forward. In this era of rapidly accelerating change, structured and strategic team collaboration is one of the best ways to address the product development challenges and obstacles of the modern product development landscape.


RELATED: Strategies for Remote Engineering Teams


10. Build a more effective and efficient product development process

The Product Development Challenge: Product development is complex and, in most cases, will span multiple teams, solutions, and methodologies. Outdated legacy tools and a documents-based approach aren’t enough for this reality, as they aren’t purpose-built for complicated requirements management.

The often-quoted CHAOS Reports from The Standish Group indicate that three of the biggest contributors to projects that fail or are “challenged” are:

  • Lack of user input
  • Incomplete requirements and specifications
  • Changing requirements and specifications

The Solution: An evolutionary leap forward comes from modernizing requirements definitions as well as engineering and management processes—including minimizing the time your team members spend eliciting, analyzing, documenting, validating, and managing the requirements for their products.

Do you have product development challenges you need to solve?

Jama Connect is a solution for managing complex product requirements from idea through development, launch, and iteration. It brings people and data together in one place, providing visibility and actionable insights into the product development lifecycle. Our platform equips teams to track decisions and ensure the quality of the product they set out to build.

We’d love to speak with you and share how Jama Connect can help your teams find solutions to your unique product development challenges and overcome these 10 common ones. Connect with us today and get started with a better approach to managing requirements in product development.

To learn more about optimizing engineer team collaboration to streamline product development, download our eBook now!

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Product development is rapidly changing. In this era of constant market disruption, development teams are under unyielding pressure to improve quality and get products to market faster. To meet these quality demands and improve speed to market, development teams are focusing on improving one of the most vital steps in their process: requirements management.

But even with greater emphasis on requirements management, siloed teams that are using their own specialized tools can create confusion across the development cycle — and lead to waste and delays.

This post will walk through some of the issues modern development teams are facing and explore the solutions, but for the full breakdown, please check out our webinar, “When Jira and Confluence Are Not Enough: Optimizing Agile Requirements Management for Enterprise Software Development.”

Why Requirements Management?

Several key factors are leading the shift toward greater attention to requirements management:

  • Intelligent devices such as autonomous vehicles continue to disrupt the marketplace and create both software challenges and risks.
  • Devices connected to people are fueling the ongoing digital transformation, which leads development teams away from a document-based approach and toward more modern solutions. This move, if not properly thought through and executed, can result in disjointed and misaligned teams across the development lifecycle.
  • The trend toward more product development governance produces greater regulatory pressure.
  • The push for increased speed to market has led to a drive for process modernization and the adoption of Agile platforms such as Atlassian® Jira®.

But all of this change and modernization results in increased complexity. Complicated development cycles need automation and more modern tools. Work must be coordinated across hardware and Agile software teams using different tools and methodologies. Connected products introduce security risks, mandating increased due diligence across requirements, design, and testing. Faster iterations and evolving solutions make regulatory compliance more difficult and time consuming.

A recent study from Project Management Institute revealed that the second most common reason for product failure is poor requirements management. In addition, 51% of program funds are wasted due to poor requirements management.

Software development teams that want to remain competitive need to transform work processes and adopt new solutions. Jira, Confluence®, and other single-stack tools, while valuable, are often not enough to ensure compliance, quality, cost control, and speed to market in complex product development. Plus, teams also need robust requirements management solutions and integrations across the toolchain.

Learn how enterprise companies can remain competitive in a start-up market by scaling Agile practices across the organization in this blog post.

Integrating Best-of-Breed Solutions Across the Toolchain

For many years, having a single stack solution seemed like the best way forward for product development teams. Large corporations invested heavily in these single stacks, believing that with everything in one place, teams would have fewer silos and easier reporting. However, these single-stack solutions were never intended to serve all functions for all teams.

It’s important for teams to have access to the tools that best support their specific needs. Best-of-breed tools support distinctive and varied needs for specialization. Focusing on depth rather than breadth can help optimize key stages of software development and delivery, as well as unburden the single-stack tools. Investing heavily in one specialized tool means optimizing a key piece of the process of development.

However, problems arise when development teams can’t communicate across the toolchain. Teams end up duplicating work, wasting time, or focusing efforts in the wrong place.

A fragmented toolchain doesn’t need to cause waste, communication breakdowns, or confusion. Integrating the toolchain is key.

Connecting Jama Software to the Product Development Toolchain

The first step in improving the product development process is to take control of requirements management. Jama Connect makes it easy for teams to define, align, and execute on what they need to build, reducing lengthy time cycles, wasteful rework, and effort spent on proving compliance. Jama Software’s unique combination of core capabilities solves some of the most challenging issues modern product development teams face.

Jama Connect offers:

  • Live traceability
  • Ease of use
  • Change management across engineering teams
  • Robust collaboration and decision tracking
  • Streamlined compliance reporting
  • Test management

Jama Software provides a purpose-built, integrated solution designed to scale as your business grows. It’s a best-in-breed requirements management solution that allows teams to use the solutions and processes best suited for their jobs across the ALM ecosystem.

TaskTop Integration with Jama Connect

The second step in getting control of complex product development is integrating the toolchain. Through the extended solution with our integration partner TaskTop, product and engineering teams can connect product development through execution to ensure everyone is working off the most current requirements and stakeholders are aligned and engaged.

TaskTop allows all teams and silos to use the specialized tools that are necessary for their particular piece of product development. By integrating solutions across the toolchain, TaskTop automates communication and brings the work to the team in its own specialized tool.

Toolchain integration through TaskTop will:

  • Bridge silos
  • Eliminate duplicate data entry
  • Provide model-based integration

See how Jama Software’s integration solutions can help ensure traceability and alignment across the product development lifecycle.

A new era requires new tools and new processes. While Jira, Confluence, and other tools are highly effective in the right environment and for the right purpose, they aren’t always sufficient across the entire development cycle. Through robust requirements management with Jama Connect and toolchain integration with TaskTop, development teams can meet the demands of users, stakeholders, and the marketplace.

To learn more about how Jama and TaskTop can help your team meet market demands for complex product development, view our webinar “When Jira and Confluence Are Not Enough: Optimizing Agile Requirements Management for Enterprise Software Development.”

This is a guest post from Mark Clark, Account Manage at the product development firm, Bresslergroup. It originally appeared on their blog.

Version one of a new product is what gets people excited, but versions two and three are what will really establish you as a successful innovator.

Taking an existing product to its next generation often has a greater impact on a company’s long-term success than the initial innovation. But only if you respect next gen design as its own unique challenge.

Why Go Next Gen?

For many companies trying to push the edges of what a product can do, simply getting something to market is an enormous effort. The Minimum Viable Product strategy (MVP) has a lot going for it, but it’s rare that an MVP on its own is going to hold market share for very long.

Competition is the most obvious reason to update. If sales numbers on your initial product are slumping, but competitors’ are doing well, that’s a good argument for a refresh, whether through improved tech, new functions (that users actually want), or a more refined aesthetic — especially if your MVP looks like it was released in a hurry.

Here are some compelling reasons to go next gen:

1. Technology Advancements

Technology is always improving, offering a steady stream of possibilities for your product: reducing size, extending battery life, cutting costs, or adding features. All of these expand a product’s appeal, moving it beyond the domain of early adopters and into the mainstream.

When Bresslergroup redesigned Temptu’s cosmetic airbrush system, for example, we were able to take a unique product with niche appeal and make it more portable, intuitive, and easy to use, opening it up to a much wider range of customers. Pump and battery technology advancements made this possible.

2. First Gen Failed to Resonate

In some cases, a truly innovative product may look or work so differently from what’s on the market that it fails to resonate with customers. Early versions of the Honda Insight, for example — the world’s first production hybrid car — were so high-tech looking that people felt self-conscious driving them. It took another couple of years for the Toyota Prius to come along, with its just-different-enough aesthetic, and truly break the market open.

As an innovator, you have the unique advantage of getting to watch firsthand how people react to and use your initial product. With a little well-directed user research, you can learn an awful lot about how to improve the experience it delivers, what features users might want in a second version, and what can be pared down or removed. Implementing these changes is a relatively low-cost, low-risk way of providing a UX that earns real love.

3. To Scoop “Fast Followers”

“Fast follower” products can be a headache: plenty of companies have done well for themselves by waiting for others to innovate, then swooping in with a cheaper, slightly more mature product a few months later. Developing your own next gen product can help stave this off.

4. To Improve User Experience

The best reason for a next gen design might be an improved user experience (UX). Rachio, a smart sprinkler system manufactured by a startup that Bresslergroup has worked with for several years, offers a good example.

Rachio’s first generation was a classic MVP, offering some unique functions (a smart, Web-connected sprinkler system that could adapt to changing weather) in a no-frills package. The initial product was a hit with early adopters, willing to accept certain functional limitations and a nearly non-existent interface in exchange for a truly game-changing product.

Looking closely at what those early adopters were doing with their Rachio units, and what they wished they could do, gave some clear ideas on how to improve the UX in the next round. Rachio’s version two allowed direct control of the unit (not just via app), an easier installation process, and greater WiFi reach — and sold dramatically better than version one.

The approach was so successful, in fact, that Rachio now has a dedicated User Research team on staff — an unusual investment for a small startup, but one that’s yielded huge returns, especially now that version three is on the market.

How To Approach Next-Gen Product Design

Evolving a product to make it more competitive can take many different forms, but in our experience, most next-gen redesigns fall into a few common categories, each with its own advantages.

1. Give It A New Look

A new form factor is an obvious place to start. The technology inside makes the product work, but the external form is what people touch and see. Updating that form is the most direct way to show them your product is grown up and here to stay.

An aesthetic redesign can also help bring a new product into line with a coherent visual brand language, something Bresslergroup has done numerous times for clients including BD and PetSafe. A coherent visual brand can create a network effect, adding legitimacy to each product in the line, and inviting one product’s customers to embrace another as their needs grow.

2. Refresh the Electronics

Refreshing the electronics can serve as both a cost-saving measure and a way of adding function, especially given the speed with which off-the-shelf components are improving.

Trice Medical’s mi-eye+ arthroscopic probe, for example, got an update from Bresslergroup that switched out its custom display for a modified Surface tablet. This not only cut manufacturing costs significantly, it also opened up software options that let us improve the UI and expand the device’s capabilities.

As products age, companies are often forced to switch out individual electronic or physical components in manufacturing, to replace obsolete ones or take advantage of price reductions. At a certain point, this can actually become more expensive than redesigning the entire product with new components in mind. Knowing when that tipping point is reached is crucial to long-term product success, and in our experience, companies are more likely to wait too long than redesign too early.

3. Redesign the App

Since so many products these days also have a digital component, redesigning the app can be a relatively quick, low-cost way of refreshing a product. Customers have gotten accustomed to apps that update every month or two, so last year’s digital experience (on a smartphone or the device itself) can make a product feel dated.

A redesigned app offers another advantage as well: it’s a way of field-testing new features, UI elements, or visual designs. The rapidly changing landscape that makes users expect frequent updates also makes them fairly comfortable with digital change, so you can use an app as a kind of design sandbox, then take cues from it later on when you’re ready to commit to a physical redesign. For many products, two to three rounds of app update per physical redesign is a ratio that works well.

Innovation Is Ongoing

Innovation is an ongoing process, and the truly successful innovators are those who view a new product not as the end of a design process, but as the beginning of a refinement process.

We’ll always love reading about what’s new and novel in products, but when it comes time to open our wallets, we’re more likely to go for the product that’s benefitted from time and careful improvement.

“Security is the biggest issue holding back the broader development and deployment of IoT devices,” said Haydn Povey, founder and CEO of Secure Thingz, in his keynote at Embedded Conference Scandinavia (ECS) 2018.

The Internet of Things (IoT) promises a flood of amazing new products, including autonomous cars, networked medical devices, home automation and new devices in industrial applications. But data breaches affect millions annually, and there is real fear that hacked devices could be used for surveillance, fraud or even weaponization. Unless customers trust in the security of these devices, adoption will stall.

Make Security a First-Class Citizen During Development

Too often with IoT devices, security is an afterthought; sometimes it even gets scrapped due to time and resource constraints. But organizations cannot provide reliable security after the fact. Security must be addressed from day one, by both product development and leadership.

Consider architecture: There are many chipsets available that provide a security architecture for embedded devices, but less than 4% of new devices in 2018 include embedded security. The explanation for this oversight is obvious: Development begins without security in mind, leading to an architecture that omits it. And it’s not feasible to change the underlying architecture of a product after release to account for security.

Most importantly, security is everyone’s job. It’s a management topic that should manifest on all levels in the form of policies and guidelines.

The Argument for Security in IoT Devices

Security is often seen as a cost, but if you understand it correctly, you can turn it into a value proposition or a competitive advantage that customers are willing to pay premium for. For instance:

  • Today’s customers are increasingly concerned with security and privacy. Companies like Apple can charge a premium because they address these concerns.
  • Insufficient security can lead to counterfeiting.
  • Good security increases brand value and decreases the risk of brand erosion.
  • Security is required by law, and failure to comply can result in heavy fines.
Security as an Integral Part of Product Development

Once you recognize the importance of security, it’s logical to make it an integral part of your product development process. This means, amongst other things:

  • Security is part of the stakeholder needs and therefore must be part of the core requirements. This also applies to regulatory requirements, such as those derived from legislation like GDPR.
  • Make sure your architecture fits your security requirements, since architecture is one of the most difficult (and expensive) things to change after the fact.
  • Ensure your security requirements are tested. You achieve this by maintaining correct end-to-end traceability from requirements to test results.
  • Collaborate on all levels. If you want to prevent security from being patched on an ad-hoc basis, make sure that all teams communicate properly. For instance, an engineer might be tempted to write custom code to detect a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, but this might be addressed more efficiently on the architecture level.
  • Implement a product line strategy and perform systematic reuse. Security extends to the complete lifecycle of products, so you must be prepared to provide security updates for years to come. Also, reuse allows teams to use previously tested elements, improve quality and accelerate development.

Embracing security today provides more than just a competitive advantage – it may be crucial for survival. While a product development platform alone is not enough to address security, it’s ideal for implementing the policies and frameworks established by management.

To better understand how Jama Software can help you ensure security throughout the product development process, visit us at Embedded World 2019.

As part of an ongoing series, we’re looking at insights and trends uncovered within the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study, “Bridging The Gap In Digital Product Design.”

Product development is already a stressful endeavor. For companies focused on merging hardware and software into smart products, it’s only getting more intense.

According to the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report, “Bridging The Gap In Digital Product Design,” nearly 90% of companies are either adding or planning to implement digital technologies to their products.

Given the new process and competitive landscape, 80% of those same businesses say they’re feeling extra time-to-market pressure. Not only that, but an even larger majority (89%) believes the strain will only grow in severity.

“There is pressure to always innovate and create the next generation version of your product,” Jama Software’s vice president of product, Jennifer Jaffe, says. “Sitting in that market is, by definition, a very uncomfortable place— specifically for a lot of companies who have been around a long time and who didn’t used to have all these pressures.”

Driving business concerns are fears of disruption. From cell phones to taxis, home energy management to automobiles, it can feel like no industry is immune to being blindsided by new technology. While companies can’t stop a savvy new competitor gunning for their position, how they innovate in response is crucial.

Software vs. Hardware

Traditional product companies are used to building hardware. When you add software development to the mix, there needs to be some alterations to the process.

That’s why one of the biggest priorities for businesses adding digital technologies to their products should be creating a plan to integrate the hardware and software teams. To do this, businesses must have a firm understanding of their existing development process, its necessary documentation, and logical gaps.

They’ll also need to recognize that software developers and traditional hardware developers work very differently. Figuring out how to unify these two practices, so they’re operating in tandem and not as opposing forces, is key. One of the best ways to do that is by having a method facilitating open communication and accountability.

“Most critical is having real time transparent communication, so that when things change on the software or the hardware side, all parties are informed and can adapt,” Jaffe says. “Without that collaboration, the two teams run the risk of working in isolation and developing products that are incompatible with each other.”

When to Innovate

Another area to consider when moving to connected products is not trying to start from scratch with every release. If a strong hardware platform has already been built, for instance, it makes sense to reuse it. Then, you can focus on incremental gains that can be handled in software updates.

“The more you can put the heavy lift of innovation on the software side,” Jaffe says, “The more likely you are to be able to respond quickly and create lots of different, compelling variants of your product’s experience — and do it as cheaply as possible.”

In that case, the product management team can set about envisioning the requirements of the future and brainstorm all the different use cases for the coming years. For instance, maybe that means creating hardware that can scale to accommodate a heaver usage on processing or memory. Then, looking ahead, if 80%-to-90% of the hardware requirements will basically remain unchanged, the development team can really be pushed to innovate on that extra 10%-to-20% of a new product.

This is also where a product development platform can really give developers an edge. With a simple, efficient solution for saving and reusing your hardware requirements, teams can focus on innovating iteratively.

That’s also why more than half of the companies going digital are partnering with software or other companies to assist with the digital transformation, according to “Bridging The Gap In Digital Product Design.”

What to Focus On

Today’s market is driven by consumer choice. Whether we’re talking about watches or coffee makers, customers have high expectations from products, and there’s a heavy push to constantly move forward. When one company’s product family goes smart, it almost feels inevitable competitors will too.

So businesses must listen to their customers to develop requirements. “The companies that are getting disrupted are oftentimes legacy companies whose business model, technical model, or both, don’t support newer methods for developing products,” Jaffe says. “And, specific to this idea of building to customer requirements, they’re companies that don’t have specific practices or tools to bring customer requirements to the forefront when they’re defining their product.”

Before production, then, companies should be putting prototype ideas in front of consumers for feedback on usability and value. And then running those customer requirements past engineers to sift through what’s feasible. Also, ensuring the requirements are documented in a clear way will keep various teams aligned throughout the process.

Moving Forward

All these shifts and crunches can significantly rattle a traditional product company not used to dealing with them. Keeping your team laser-focused on the evolving process will guide it to success.

“You have to prioritize the work that’s being done by your product development team and then not allow additional scope to creep in,” Jaffe says. “You really have to be judicious about the decisions you make, about what to prioritize, what to work on, and make conscious decisions to say no to projects that aren’t priority one for your development team.”

One thing that titans of any product category should avoid is kicking back with the belief that their winning days will be endless.

“A new, fresh company can come in today without all the legacy of old development practices, of old expectations of what it meant to serve a market,” Jaffe says. “Not only can they be more nimble and receptive on the technology front, but frankly, as a business, they can pivot quickly in the face of shifting consumer demand. That’s how they roll.”

Get a deeper look into the pressures driving companies to develop connected products with our report, “Bridging The Gap In Digital Product Design,” featuring insights from nearly 300 innovators from a variety of industries, including manufacturing, technology, healthcare, financial services, and more.