Tag Archive for: requirements traceability

Complex Insurance Product Development

In this blog, we recap a webinar discussing simplifying and optimizing processes in complex insurance product development.

Insurance companies are facing significant competitive pressures for new individualized products and services. The slow pace of digital advancement by insurance companies has hampered the product development process. Consider cumbersome regulatory oversight, legacy infrastructure, functional and team silos, and long-entrenched processes and culture, and you have a perfect recipe for lengthy development cycles that lead to time-to-market delays.

The reality is that insurance product development is becoming more and more complex, where product requirements need to be managed seamlessly without needless roadblocks. The carriers have been slow to adopt transformational technology, with many teams still using Word documents, spreadsheets, email, and lengthy meetings to make decisions — adding unnecessary time and risk to the development process.

To overcome these challenges and deliver compliant, market-driven products, it’s vital that all stakeholders and business analysts can identify risks early on and establish connections with your development organization throughout the process.

In this webinar, Jama Software and industry experts Alan Demers and Carla Alavarez join forces to cover how to eliminate silos and increase efficiency by aligning teams across the entire product development lifecycle.

Learn more about how to deliver high-quality insurance products on time and on budget, with the ability to:

  • Increase visibility across all development activities
  • Empower your business analyst organization
  • Enable real-time collaboration across all development teams
  • Track decisions efficiently to avoid rework
  • Benchmark and monitor team performance over time

Below is an abbreviated transcript and a recording of our webinar.

Simplifying and Optimizing Processes in Complex Insurance Product Development

Carla Alavarez: When we think about product, we as consumers within our everyday purchase products for a variety of reasons. It’s no different in insurance. As an individual or business, there’s products for purchase that in exchange provide a level of production. So depending on a carrier, this could be a product tailored to meet your specific need or suite of products that can serve you both on a personal and commercial basis. As we look where the industry is headed, we’re starting to see a shift in the product development and how a traditional product is packaged, marketed and sold. An example of a traditional insurance product is personal or business auto insurance. With the shifting behaviors in the market, we’re seeing a shift in the way people are working. You either had them being in a hybrid or full remote position, so the amount that individual is on the road is decreasing.

Auto insurance product is one of the more developed in today’s markets. It has been modernized and redeveloped to meet driver protection needs today with new product offerings, such as usage base or pay as you go insurance. These newer products focus on providing protection and pricing based on the customer’s needs today, versus how it’s traditionally annually rated and priced. So with the shift in technology and customer protection needs, the product development is key to remaining competitive in today’s market.

Related: Simplify Complex Insurance Product Development with Jama Connect®

Brian Morrisroe: Great. Thank you for that clarity, Carla. I appreciate it. So, Alan, we’ve mentioned that the industry’s becoming more complex. Can you talk to us a little bit about what is the current state of the industry as it relates to PNC space from your perspective?

Alan Demers: Sure thing, Brian, thank you for having me as well. There’s a lot going on in the PNC insurance industry. That’s probably an understatement. So when you think about the whole industry, very highly competitive going through lots of change to modernize, that’s probably the headline. Other influences such as climate and cyber risk workforce inflationary pressures, those are more current issues that are really creating a lot of change and a lot of pressure to what’s all already a turbulent space. So cost of materials, parts, medical services, they’re all rising. We know that, and that goes into inflationary pressure, which puts higher premiums and really causes companies to think a lot about their pricing. Really at the top, the PNC market’s been more competitive than ever. This is especially true in home and auto. Market share battle among the top 10, especially the top five, is continually shifting.

There’s been some acquisitions along the way. There’s also this shift for a lot of the multi-line carriers to balance both their commercial along with their home and auto lines. Future of mobility is maybe driving some of that in the future projections on where auto insurance might be down the road. Then the other overarching issues that carrier facing is the cost of customer acquisition and high underwriting costs along with a desire for speed and ease. So that’s kind of the backdrop. Then, more precisely, there’s just been this explosion of external influences through InsureTech movement. Then that’s combined with the internal innovation efforts that many of the carriers are going through. I would say all the carriers are going through that.

Related: A Guide to Requirements Elicitation for Product Teams 

Alan Demers: Digitizing and growing digital adoption, that creates higher demand and higher consumer expectations at the same time. But that’s really where the industry is trying to get to is more self-services, more digital offerings to help bring down some of those costs. Then really a shift from traditional insurance protection to more avoidance and mitigation of loss. I think this is one of the more exciting developments in the industry because we all can relate to you buy an insurance policy and hope that something bad doesn’t happen. The industry is really there to help pay and protect you that way, which is a good thing, but even better if there is technology that can be deployed to help you avoid a loss or mitigate it all together at the beginning.

So some of the product, and Carla mentioned this, there’s a number of new products that should companies are launching. Usage in behavior-based auto insurance is a pretty popular one. Sensor technology for detection and avoidance, that could be to avoid a collision such as distracted driving avoidance or detect a leak in a home that may cause further water damage. Embedded insurance is really a trending topic. You can gauge whether it’s a buzzword or if it’s a real thing, but what’s changed about embedded insurance is just the opportunity to combine insurance at the point of sale and do that much easier with today’s technology.

Then finally, personal cyber protection and work from home, which is really a new thing because of the pandemic and the shift and hybrid work models and so forth. So really, when you think about nearly every part of insurance is going through some form of change and modernization, whether it’s distribution, underwriting, servicing customers or claims, and likewise new insurance models are inspiring new insurance products. So really a lot happening and it’s really translates to demand for new insurance protection.

Watch the full webinar to learn more about Simplifying and Optimizing Processes in Complex Insurance Product Development


Requirements management for Aerospace Development

In this blog, we recap a webinar discussing Integrating Requirements Management with Planning and Checklist Processes for Aerospace Development.

Aerospace systems development requires provable requirements management and traceability. DO-178C (airborne software), DO-254 (airborne firmware/hardware), and ARP4754A (aircraft/systems) also require reviews, audits, and proof thereof. The best “proof” is detailed and complete DO-178C, DO-254, and ARP4754A checklists covering the primary software lifecycle activities and artifacts. And now that AFuzion’s compliance templates and checklists are integrated within Jama Connect, teams can automate your requirements management, planning, process, and review checklists in a single solution.

Using AFuzion’s DO-178C and DO-254 templates for plans, standards, and checklists ensures that you have an appropriate framework for successfully developing and certifying your system. These templates and checklists can also help in getting organizations to the goal of higher SEI CMM/CMMI ratings (preferably Level 3 – 4+). Usage of AFuzion process templates and checklists are intended to maximize the probability of project success and quality.

Learn how the partnership between Jama Software and AFuzion helps teams:

  • Reduce costs by using pre-built material from the most well-known industry experts instead of spending 2-3 person years typically necessary to develop these internally
  • Eliminate tools silos by keeping your process documents in line with your requirements data
  • Learn how to communicate process requirements to your engineering teams

Below is an abbreviated transcript and a recording of our webinar.

Requirements Management for Aerospace Development

Cary Bryczek: When we talk to our friends in the field, customers, our peers, and subject matter experts, we hear about increasing complexity required to design new products and systems and keep on track with their certification plan. The path to certification and in some cases, multiple certifications at a time spans multiple years sometimes beyond a decade. Development cycles are seeing increasing complexity driving the need for more and more automation and modern tools to support that. Across the plane collaboration, it’s not being achieved due to all of these different tools and the processes. New connected products and systems are not just complicated, they introduce significant risks into the certification process. Ensuring the compliance of safety-critical systems with faster iterations and evolving solutions is more difficult and time-consuming. Regulations themselves in are increasing due to things like automated flight components, urban air mobility, and other technology drivers. We’re seeing just huge, rapid changes in the market itself.

Related: Live Traceability™ for Airborne Systems Development

Cary Bryczek: We see a number of market drivers that are changing the dynamics of system development. For example, the push to electric propulsion aircraft in components is rapidly occurring. Battery technology, as you know, as you know is kind of driving down the costs, and commercial hybrid-electric flight it really is going to be a reality and it’s insight. The development of UAM vehicles is expected to accelerate over the next decade. However, there are significant challenges that need to be worked out. Regulations are still in flux and need to be established for pilotless vehicles, airworthiness certifications, and even the use of the airspace itself. Are you ready for those new challenges? I’m just like me from the Jama side is your requirements and compliance platform and the associated processes ready? Vance, is this something that you see in your day-to-day life with your customers?

Vance Hilderman: Cary, it’s a fantastic question and I’m so pleased to be here. We want to welcome everybody this morning, afternoon, and evening. We’ve got hundreds of viewers here, it’s terrific. It is such a common question. And frankly, that provided the foundation eight years ago, when we began developing the content that you now have in Jama Connect and it’s just terrific. It takes so many hundreds of person-years of engineers to really create a great aircraft a system. And it only takes a few mistakes to cause mistakes. Well, we’re pleased to say that we you’ve got hundreds of years of experience into building what you now have in the Jama Connect content. These plans, standards, and templates and really the only way to go is by using something that’s been proven in the past.

Think about it. How many of our listeners today and viewers are designing an all-new aircraft with completely new technology, a material that’s never been used, an engine, a motor? No, no. That’s not how we progress in engineering or aviation, it’s incremental. Well, folks, the incremental is done with this content. It’s ready to be used and we’re really excited to show you how you can really optimize your daily efforts to not save hours or days once, years but decades of time. Cary, you’re absolutely right. Let’s dive in.

Download the Requirements Traceability Benchmark HERE 

Cary Bryczek: Yeah, let’s just jump right in. I think legacy processes and digital paper really isn’t enough to handle the modern system. Legacy tools are siloed. If you store all of your content in SharePoint and documents, you really run a lot of risk for missing something. Who has the latest version? That’s not agile in any way. It doesn’t facilitate things like collaboration. It’s not scalable. And the expense for compliance, just using documents that are separate from your engineering tools is just time-consuming. Though one of the techniques that’s really hot out there is this notion of digital transformation. It’s really the goal today in all companies.

How are you going to get there with just a document-based legacy process and tools? You’re not. If you want to change the game, you need to bring your digital processes and data together to drive that innovation. When you capture your customer and regulatory requirements digitally, connect them to system architecture, design engineering, simulation, you’re bringing your teams together in the virtual world and creating your digital thread. This is what results in getting products to market faster with improved cost-effectiveness. This is what enables you to accelerate that path to certification. It also results in supporting the new reality of remote work and geographically distributed teams. Vans, are you seeing a lot of geographically distributed teams?

Watch the full webinar to learn more about Integrating Requirements Management with Planning and Checklist Processes for Aerospace Development


Requirements Traceability

In this blog, we recap a webinar discussing Requirements Traceability Benchmarking.

Requirements traceability is a core systems engineering framework, has been around for decades, is required by industry standards for complex product development, and is deployed by thousands of companies — yet no one has ever measured it…until now.

In this industry-leading webinar, Jama Software’s CEO, Marc Osofsky, and Senior Manager, Business Intelligence, Kevin Pearson, review this groundbreaking, 1st ever benchmarking study of over 40,000 complex product development projects.

You will learn:

  • How to calculate a Traceability Score™
  • The impact requirements traceability has on quality and cycle time
  • The differences in performance among the top and bottom quartile performers
  • The top five best practices of top quartile performers
  • How to conduct a Traceability Diagnostic for your own organization

Below is an abbreviated transcript and a recording of our webinar.

Requirements Traceability Benchmarking

Marc Osofsky: We’re going to make this as practical as possible. So, here are the five takeaways we’re committing to offer. So, the first one is how to calculate a traceability score. So we’re going to introduce the concept of the traceability score, show you how to calculate it, then we’re going to talk about the impact traceability scores have on quality and cycle time. So, that’s the statistical work that we did. So we’ll go through that. We’ll help you understand the difference between top and bottom quartile performers on traceability score and how big that variance can be. Then we’ll dive deeper into those top performers, talk about the five best practices we found for companies that are in the top quartile for traceability score. And then lastly, we’ll talk specifically about how you can apply it at Company.

All right. So, the first question we should all be asking is why bother measuring requirements traceability at all? Why measure it? So to answer that question, let’s all try to get on the same page. We have hundreds of companies on the call right now across multiple industries, folks from very different engineering disciplines, but this diagram here generally represents what most of you are facing. So here you see the system development process and all of the different engineering disciplines that are involved. Many of you are probably experiencing some of the call outs here in terms of delays, errors, rework, a lack of visibility into what other teams are doing. This is the reality that we’re all living in.

So, most teams, most engineering disciplines have optimized the productivity of their own teams. They’ve chosen their own best breed tools within the software team or the hardware team, things work pretty you well, the challenges as you try to coordinate all of these engineering disciplines to get to positive outcomes, that’s the fundamental challenge. And so requirements traceability, if you’re not familiar with, it is the mechanism to help coordinate all of these engineering disciplines to achieve positive outcomes. And it’s also a mechanism for early detection of issues. If you can resolve issues early, they’re much less costly than finding them later.

Download the Requirements Traceability Benchmark HERE 

Marc Osofsky: So if you look at this as just a typical process in the enterprise. The normal approach is to establish KPIs, try to manage this end-to-end process through data. Now, as most of that hasn’t happened. So, the question is, why? Why do we not measure the system development process?

Well, the main reason is that we’ve all been in the dark. So nobody has visibility currently into end-to-end process data. And for each engineering discipline, as you look out from your own teams, it’s very hard to see what other teams are doing and to stay in sync with them. So, this lack of transparency, this lack of process data, this lack of ability to have a consistent traceability model and sync best breed tools has led to this feeling that we’re in the dark, and we keep getting surprised by issues.

So the approach that’s been taken to manage this world up until now, without end-to-end data, how do you get at all of these different teams to coordinate and work together, if you don’t have data to measure it and coordinate it? The answer has been methodology, and this is the entire field of system engineering. The V model that many of you are familiar with. There’s been wonderful work done here obviously, INCOSE as an associate to help drive that forward. But this was really the only approach. Without data without measurement, let’s see if we can get everybody agreed to a common methodology. A lot of this comes together through a lot of meetings and often you can get a clash of methodologies. So maybe the V model approach from system engineering may clash with Agile development software. So methodology doesn’t solve everything, but it’s certainly been the really the only approach you could take without data and visibility.

Related: The Essential Guide to Requirements Management and Traceability

Marc Osofsky:  So, now, this world is changing, and you can take a data-centric approach. The clouds are starting to lift. Each of you are likely at different stages in your evolution to more of a data-centric approach. Our clients are fortunate using our software that we’re able to create a common traceability model across the entire process and sync best breed tools from these various disciplines to give full visibility into end-to-end performance and actually do measurement. And so that’s what we’ll be talking about today.

So, in this world, you can measure the process, and it does reinforce the methodology that you’ve already been living. The measurement of requirements traceability is essentially measuring adherence to the traceability model that you’ve chosen to your methodology. So, they’re reinforcing for those of you who are not familiar with INCOSE or not involved, I’d certainly encourage you to get more engaged and check out these materials.

So, INCOSE is starting to shift towards more of a data-centric view now that the data’s available through systems like ours, there’s been some excellent work from the requirements working group, headed up by [Lou Wheatcraft 00:07:42], in terms of integrated data as a foundation for systems engineering and the recent handbook. And then also the measurement working group, with Paul, friends. There’s some great leading indicators and measurements here to go deeper and think about how should we measure the systems development process.

All right. So, hopefully that gives you some sense of why we’re measuring it. It’s now possible. And requirements traceability is really the only way to measure the actual end-to-end process, identify issues early, improve over time across projects and correlate to actual outcomes on quality and cycle time.

Watch the full webinar to learn more about Requirements Traceability Benchmarking


Live Traceability with Jama Connect

In this blog, we recap a webinar discussing Live Traceability™ with Jama Connect

In today’s world, successful organizations anchor their innovation and complex product development processes on interconnected data across numerous workstreams. This requires gathering stakeholder input to build system architecture, managing high-level requirements to create detailed user stories and implementing verification and validation to detect issues. Collaborating with various stakeholders while achieving standards compliance and competing in today’s marketplace requires a deeper level of traceability.

Organizations also must balance the needs of these various processes and teams with their continued use of best-of-breed tools – including Jira and Excel. While these purpose-build tools often bring efficiency and precision to specific work streams, spreading work across multiple tools makes maintaining and leveraging the benefits of traceability particularly challenging.

Ultimately, that’s why leading organizations leverage Live Traceability™, enabled by Jama Connect, in their product development process to eliminate delays, defects, cost overruns, and rework.

In this webinar, join our experts as they discuss:

  • The contrast between Live Traceability and after-the-fact traceability
  • How to achieve and benefit from Live Traceability
  • How the newly launched Jama Connect Interchange can help replace highly manual and time-consuming processes with an automated flow of information — even with Microsoft Excel

Below is an abbreviated transcript and a recording of our webinar.

Live Traceability™ with Jama Connect

Jeremy Johnson: We’re going to start with some of the common challenges that we see and hear from some of our customers and some of the companies and industries that we start working with around product development and requirements management.

We’ll talk a little bit about what we see as best practices of what we call live traceability versus a more after-the-fact and reactive approach. We’ll talk a little bit about how you can achieve live traceability, and then we’ll dive a little bit more deeply into how Jama Connect can help. We’ll also introduce you to, as Marie mentioned in her intro, a new product from Jama Software, Jama Connect Interchange. We’ll talk about how Jama can help enable live traceability and help support best practices.

We’ll end with a recap of some of the benefits and the impact that we’ve seen from customers in various markets. As Marie mentioned, we’ll get into some Q&A at the end. Again, let’s start with some of the common pain points that we tend to see. Things like managing legacy systems, various Excel spreadsheets, no single version of the truth. You have maybe tedious manual effort, need to automate change management. Impact analysis is slow and manual.

Related Jama Connect Interchange Datasheet 

Jeremy Johnson: If you’re ultimately trying to do this traceability, trying to manage data across different points, looking at risk management, maybe even desktop applications, that stuff is out of date two minutes later, right? It’s not very timely. You have a lot of these challenges from a complex product development standpoint. What this typically goes back to, what it typically traces back to is something that tends to look like this, where companies are managing a very complex product development process, have multiple teams, different functions, and it creates silos. It creates teams and data that are fragmented across functions and across tools. May have things like hardware and software teams running in parallel, but not talking, or at least not talking enough or not talking at the right times.

You maybe have risk and quality and compliance teams that are engaged too late in the process, and maybe it’s more of a serial flow rather than an early engagement and a more collaborative and holistic process. Certainly, some of these teams may be loosely coupled, maybe some of the data points, they always seem to come together at the last moment. But do companies, and do people really want to rely on that? Do you really want to count on those things happening so late in the game? How confident does that make organizations feel with a product launch looming, with an audit schedule? That can be a very daunting and very disconcerting feeling that a lot of those things are happening just in time, rather than a more cohesive and coherent process.

Related: The Essential Guide to Requirements Management and Traceability

Jeremy Johnson: Another way to look at that this problem that we tend to see with companies that we start working with is in the context of the V model or the verification and validation model, which is fairly ubiquitous and complex product development. We’ll touch on it here a few times in this session, but companies have all of these points of intersections throughout this process, as this process flows. There’s all these points that you can see with Xs between where there’s a need for connected data, and these are points where barriers can exist potentially as companies work between siloed tools, again, maybe desktop applications, particularly Excel and things like that.

You have this myriad of tools, this myriad of best-of-breed tools to appropriately and efficiently execute this process. The reality is, to bring all of these pieces together, there really isn’t a single solution to this problem. It’s best of breed tools, and again, even in specific scenarios, maybe office apps like Excel, that’s really the norm and will continue to be. That’s the way people like to work. There are very bespoke solutions in certain parts of the product development life cycle, and that’s the way it’s going to continue to be.

Learn more by watching the entire webinar: Unlocking the Power of Live Traceability™ with Jama Connect


Requirements Traceability

Requirements Traceability – Does My Data Model Matter?

Nearly all engineering organizations have one or more initiatives underway to improve their product development process. Live Traceability™, Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), and digital engineering are the most common areas of focus. As engineers look over the fence and make fun of marketing types for being distracted by shiny objects, marketeers look back and see a similar behavior – just with geekier objects like SysML, digital twins, and simulation. The recurring pattern we see is that at some point during the early stages of the initiative, the realization hits that the data model for requirements across teams and projects is highly inconsistent and lacks consistent relationship rules among data objects. It becomes clear at this point that further progress on the initiatives cannot be made without first fixing the inconsistent and lacking data model.  

Some teams will resist an effort to establish a consistent core data model. These teams will ask to keep the flexibility to refine their own engineering data shape and that is OK.  The keyword is “refine” and not “define.” Having a consistent core data model, that some teams are allowed to refine for themselves, allows for innovation around the engineering process while still enabling process-wide, integration automation, Live Traceability, model-based systems engineering (MBSE), and digital engineering.

Current Requirements Data Model 

For most companies, the data model mess came into existence through a project- and document-centric mindset with legacy requirements management tools. Each project team was allowed to modify their own data structures and each set of requirements lived alone as a document in a repository. This provided project teams with flexibility but over time and over dozens, hundreds, or thousands of projects has led to a challenging situation. We often find that teams have defined the same information in numerous different ways and that even within the same teams there is significant variance across documents. In short, the best way to describe the situation is as a repository of thousands of self-contained documents and no data model exists nor even a common definition of objects upon which to achieve Live Traceability, reuse across projects, MBSE, or digital engineering.   

RELATED READING: Requirements Traceability – How to Go Live

What is Necessary to Move Forward 

Organizations invest in software tools but have forgotten to invest in their data.  A consistent data model is the best way to maximize the benefits of software tooling, but can only be achieved by spending time on analysis. 

Jama Software has developed a Data Model Diagnostic™ (DMD) to help tackle this challenge, taking data from your legacy tool (IBM® DOORS®), understanding its shape and size, and transitioning the data into a model-based framework (Jama Connect™). The DMD automates the analysis of the existing documents to determine the most common object definitions upon which to base a consistent data model going forward. Once a data model has been determined, the next step is to implement a model-based, requirements management solution that ensures compliance is maintained. As opposed to a legacy, document-centric requirements management tool, a model-based one ensures consistent application of all objects AND defines and maintains the relationship rules among the objects. This forms a model representation of the requirements in a consistent manner across projects and is a necessary requirement for MBSE and SysML modeling.   

To Get Started With Your Free Data Model Diagnostic Consultation: CLICK HERE


requirements traceability live traceability

Requirements Traceability – How to Go Live

Requirements traceability is required by many industry standards to ensure product quality and safety. The industry standards are based on decades of progress made in systems and quality engineering research with requirements traceability at the core. Benefits from requirements traceability are achieved if and only if traceability is used as a tool during the product development process. These benefits include greatly reduced or eliminated delays, defects, cost overruns, and rework. Here is an overview of the best practice approach to achieve Live Traceability™.

Live Traceability vs. After-the-fact Traceability

Let’s start with some definitions to make sure we are all on the same page. Requirement traceability is defined as tracking the development progress of product requirements from definition and design through development, testing, verification, and validation. There are two forms of requirement traceability: after-the-fact traceability and Live Traceability.

  • After-the-fact traceability occurs after the product has been developed and is typically a highly manual effort to try and re-create artifacts to demonstrate traceability that should have occurred during the development process but did not. This effort is undertaken solely for complying with industry standards and satisfying auditor requests for demonstration of process maturity.
  • Live Traceability occurs in real time as the product development process progresses to improve overall productivity (by ensuring engineers across disciplines are always working off the most recent and correct versions) and to reduce the risk of negative product outcomes (delays, defects, rework, cost overruns, recalls, etc.) through early detection of issues. The benefits of early detection of issues are significant. Research by INCOSE found that issues not found until verification and validation are 40 to 110 times more costly than if found during design. For this reason, most companies want Live Traceability but are stuck with legacy tools and spreadsheets that do not support it. Since each engineering discipline is allowed to choose its own tooling, the result is a large number of tools with no relationship rules or mechanisms to create Live Traceability across them.

RELATED POST: Requirements Management Guide: Requirements Traceability

So how do you achieve Live Traceability?

Step 1: Define a Traceability Model

Live Traceability requires a model of the key process elements and their relationship rules to monitor during the development process. The systems engineering V Model is a useful framework to start with for data object and relationship definition. Jama Connect® uniquely provides a point and click, configurable, relationship rule capability to enable Live Traceability. Below you see a sample relationship rule diagram from Jama Connect. Relationship rules vary by industry and company-specific requirements. Best practice templates are provided to comply with industry standards and configured to meet client-specific needs. The definition of a traceability model forms the foundation for model-based systems engineering since it defines model elements and their relationship to each other in a consistent manner across the entire system architecture.

Step 2: Setup Continuous Sync for Siloed Tools/Spreadsheets

Once the relationship rules are defined, the next step is to set up continuous sync with best-of-breed tools and spreadsheets used by the various engineering disciplines. The traceability diagram below shows a typical example of best-of-breed tools and where they sync in the Jama Connect relationship model to deliver Live Traceability.

Most companies prioritize the areas of the traceability model that are most prone to lead to costly issues in the absence of a continuous sync. Most commonly, these areas are:

  • Software task management – directly linking the decomposition of requirements into user stories enables Live Traceability through the software development process through testing and defect management. The most common best-of-breed tools used are Jira and Azure Dev Ops.
  • Test automation – test cases are managed in Jama Connect to align to requirements and ensure traceability across all engineering disciplines with the test automation results sync’d to the traceability model at the verification step. The most common test automation tools are TestRail and qTest.
  • Risk analysis (DFMEA/FMEA) – is most often conducted in multiple Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and the assumption has been that Live Traceability was not possible with Excel. Jama Connect is the first requirements management solution to enable Live Traceability with Excel functions and spreadsheets. Risk teams can now work in their preferred spreadsheets AND for the first time achieve live traceability to stay in sync with changes made by any engineering team. Ansys Medini is also a supported integration.
  • Model-based systems engineering (MBSE) – the first step in MBSE is to define a relationship model between all product requirements. Once a relationship model is defined, then specifications can be determined through modeling. Jama Connect uniquely provides model-based requirements to sync logically with a SysML modeling tool like Cameo No Magic. Other requirements management tools do not ensure a model-based approach, which most often leads to inconsistent and conflicting fields across teams and projects and provides no coherent relationship model.

Step 3: Monitor for Exceptions

Live Traceability provides the ability, for the first time, to manage by exception the end-to-end product development process across all engineering disciplines. The traceability model defines expected process behavior that can be compared to actual activity to generate exceptions. These exceptions are the early warning indicators of issues that most often lead to delays, cost overruns, rework, defects, and recalls. Below is a sample exception management dashboard in Jama Connect.

Benefits of Live Traceability

The main benefits of Live Traceability across best-of-breed tools are as follows:

  • Reduce the risk of delays, cost overruns, rework, defects, and recalls with early detection of issues through exception management and save 40 to 110 times the cost of issues identified late in the process.
  • Comply with industry standards with no after-the-fact manual effort.
  • No disruption to engineering teams that continue working in their chosen best-of-breed tools with no need to change tools, fields, values or processes.
  • Increase productivity and satisfaction of engineers with the confidence that they are always working on the latest version, reflective of all changes and comments.


requirements traceability

Requirements Traceability – What are you missing? 

For systems engineers, business analysts, and product owners, requirements traceability (the ability to trace requirements to downstream development, test, verification, validation, and risk activities) is an unquestioned good and an unquestioned need. Traceability is required to demonstrate compliance to relevant standards in industries such as medical device, automotive, semiconductor, aerospace, and financial services. In addition to compliance requirements, traceability is quite helpful to assess the impact of change required on all relevant requirements and related downstream activities. But the largest potential value is missed by many organizations. 

After-the fact use cases 

The two main use casefor traceability noted above are both reactive to requests: the need to demonstrate standards compliance to third parties and the need to analyze the impact of a change request. Both use cases view requirements as static and passive. Requirements are documented and links created to downstream artifacts in software, hardware, and electrical development test and risk assessment — which are stored in a system. The system then waits until a request comes in from outside to document that a process has been followed or to identify which elements are impacted by a change. Both use cases reflect an after-the-fact mindset that limits the value that can be achieved from the effort put into establishing traceability. 

Analogies to other business-critical functions 

To view something we think we know well in a new light, it is often helpful to place it in a different context and look at it from a fresh perspective. So, let’s give it a try and compare traceability in the product development process to traceability in the new customer acquisition process.  

For engineers, these processes may at first appear to be too disparate for an apt analogy, but at a fundamental level, they are quite similar. Both start with a documented value (requirement vs. opportunity) that must transition through multiple phases and involve many other functions to reach the desired outcome (release vs. win) — and all sorts of things can go wrong along the way leading to delays, costs incurred, and failure. 

The aspect I want to focus on is how these two processes are managedIn the sales process, the element of value (the opportunity) is living — actively measured, analyzed, and tracked for exceptions on a daily basis. The key process metrics are defined with ranges for acceptable performanceCurrent process performance is automatically calculated based on the movement through stages of all opportunities. Alerts are raised for opportunities stuck in a process stage too long (relative to average dwell times) and predictions are made about future period performance based on the opportunities in the system.   

RELATED POST: Requirements Management – Living NOT Static

In contrast, for most product development organizations, requirement traceability is static and in after-the-fact analysis and not living — in the way opportunities are traced in sales as described above. To make requirement traceability living (like sales opportunity) traceability would require software-enabled best practices in the following areas:  

  • Process metrics must be defined 
  • Actual performance against process metrics must be captured 
  • Once standard metric performance is defined, current performance must be compared to the standard 
  • Exceptions need to be defined 
  • Alerts need to be set up to notify when exceptions occur 
  • Learnings need to be incorporated into process improvement 

Once these steps are taken to improve requirements traceabilitythen requirements become living, not static, and performance improvement is possible: the risk of negative product outcomes is reducedand process performance is improved; the product development process can then be data-driven, measured, and managed like all other business-critical processes. Without measurement, there is no way to benchmark performance against other organizations. There is no way to learn, no way to know, and no way to improve. 

Jama Connect’s Requirements Management Enables Live Traceability™ Across Your Development Process

Bridge engineering siloes across development, test, and risk activities. Provide end-to-end compliance, risk mitigation, and process improvement with our intuitive, award-winning requirements management platform. Learn more! 

Better to stay in the dark? 

There may be some that would prefer to keep the product development process shrouded in mystery and avoid data-driven analysis, measurement, and process performance improvementThere used to be chief revenue officers (CROs) that felt the same way. It is extremely hard to find any current CROs with that mindset. Those that can lead through data and drive performance improvements gain the support of leadership and elevate their careers. The same opportunity is now on the table for product leadership to turn requirements traceability into living requirements in order to reduce the risk of negative product outcomes and improve the performance of the end-to-end product development process. 

  To learn more on the topic of requirements traceability, we’ve curated some of our best resources for you here.



Editor’s Note: This post about how traceability improves collaboration and decision making was originally published here on DevOps.com on September 23rd, 2020, and was written by Josh Turpen, Jama Software’s Chief Product Officer. 

Jama Connect® creates Live Traceability™ through siloed development, test, and risk activities. Provide end-to-end compliance, risk mitigation, and process improvement with our intuitive, award-winning platform.

Minimize the risk of delays, defects, cost overruns, and the manual effort created by fragmented development processes and legacy solutions. Learn more!

New software is being developed at an incredible pace to help make our lives easier. This doesn’t change the fact that humans are still held accountable for product development decisions, whether these are made with or without advanced analysis tools. To make informed choices, product development professionals need tools that allow them to see comprehensible information in real-time as change is happening, both within the team’s structure and throughout the system in which their product exists.

Modern traceability makes it possible to both manage and respond to change in a systematic, auditable and confidence-enhancing way. Below, we will discuss three ways traceability has evolved to support key decision-makers in a number of industries.

Modern traceability captures when you make a decision

Decisions often have varying levels of durability. Sometimes, when you make a decision, you know then and there it’s final. Other times, you make what seems to be a minor choice and you end up dealing with the repercussions for years to come. With this level of uncertainty, it is essential to have mechanisms that allow you to see when decisions are made. As I discussed in a previous article, “5 Ways Traceability is Changing to Bolster the Remote Workforce,” this process can be compared to a map. By leading a team through every step of their processes, modern traceability helps product developers reach their goals without any surprises.

Often, products are expected to be maintained for years. This is significantly more challenging when you can’t properly track where a ruling originated or a change was made. While the team may move quickly in the development process, the record should always live on to provide future context where it’s needed.

RELATED POST: How to Realign Engineering Teams for Remote Work with Minimal Disruption

Modern traceability provides people the context of what they’re working on as they go, not after the fact

Rather than rely on sharing often lengthy and disparate documents or running time-consuming general meetings, traceability allows teams to streamline their collaboration. Mapping out work items, including owners and contributors, gives people a reason to care and to trace those items carefully. It helps everyone know why they’re there, what they are discussing and how to address it.

Many smaller companies are fortunate to get by using Word documents and other legacy tools for their traceability measures. However, as these companies grow, so do the complexities. That’s why traceability has been evolving to account for the multi-dimensional nature of requirement, test and risk management. For a company that is seeing major growth to be truly successful, all related variables must work together continuously, at scale and across teams. Legacy tools simply do not provide the agile capabilities that modern traceability does.

RELATED POST: Requirements Traceability – How To Go Live

Traceability captures and tracks past decisions and allows users to access them

Traceability is all about relationships. Each product in development has its own particular set of customers, stakeholders and internal team members associated with it. Therefore, traceability is only possible if these individuals can be accurately connected to the items for which they are responsible.

Knowing who made a decision and what information they accessed is equally as important as the information itself. If you can’t quickly piece that together, your traceability is incomplete. The responsible thing to do is to ease the process by keeping useful records. It doesn’t need to be forced behavior if it’s captured along the way as a byproduct of doing your job.

Overall, accountability is incomplete and past decisions can’t easily be seen, learned from or built upon without robust, modern traceability tools. It’s much harder to legitimately hold someone accountable when they’re working in the dark. However, when done correctly, traceability can be used as a key tool to support genuine liability and allow for a streamlined process of complex decision-making.

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


This post is the second in a three-part series on traceability. If you missed the first one, you can catch up here: Decision Accountability: Three Ways Traceability Evolved to Make Complex Decisions Possible.  

Product development process tools have evolved. They’ve had to. To keep up with the many dimensions of requirement, test, and risk information used to define modern software and hardware, all development artifacts must play nicely together, continuously and at scale. 

Software trends in general leverage dense, dynamic, and interconnected information on demand – think everything from social networking to enterprise trendanalytics tools. Those capabilities prove hugely valuable when you must make complex product decisions effectivelyWe’ve only just started to see how requirements traceability tools use these new software abilities to benefit from the product development artifacts builders have been creating all along. But it’s enough so we can look at what’s happening now and plan ahead for the future.

1. Traceability visibility makes it easy to share changes with an entire team at once.


In 2020 
Today, traceability works like map; it’s not limited to single table view. Maps exist to help you navigate to a destination. Similarly, traceability guides daily decisions that lead you to build a product close to your original vision (your destination). It’s a means to an end in that way — more like what we have on our phones, less like the paper maps of the past that become outdated when new construction changes the landscape. If your map constantly changed, you’d never see the whole picture. But if people ahead of you could update changes from a central location and share it with everybody, no one would feel lost.  

Less manual effort. 
Keeping the trace “map” up to date with as little manual effort as possible will be essentialEven if the ways people view traceability become more advanced, the work to create and maintain those views doesn’t have to increase. 

Sample of a relationship diagram in Jama Connect.


2. Traceability links are built as you go, automatically.

In 2020

Major decision points, reviews, and approvals are certainly captured in final requirements documents and other artifactsHowever, seeing those associated to requirements as you work is the next level of traceability. Traceability in context allows for faster and more informed decision making. These live references, not just names of items in documents, can exist across versions of items, across time.

More nuance captured, related, and parsed for meaning. Improvements in software makes data gathering more precise, and increases the number of actions considered relevant, traceable information. Conversations, for example, are already relevant information to trace decisions to (both implicit and explicit decisions).  

Easily view conversations in Jama Connect and see how decisions occurred in Review Center.


3. Traceability generates metadata for real-time product health and other signals.


In 2020
Today, users can expect to view traceability success, and not just in yes/no” or covered/not-covered summary report. The status of the connected items matters, as do open questions about those items, and insight into whether they have recently undergone changes. Information about the items themselves impact the meaning of traceability – it’s more than a line connecting things. 

More attributes can define or even predict a project’s successThe benefit of a data-rich, detailed record of dozens or hundreds of activities tied together to achieve a project goal makes it possible to understand the past with more context and less reliance on costly manual documentation or memory 

The traceability view in Jama Connect provides context so you can see what’s connected upstream and downstream. 


4. Traceability powers meaningful accountability behavior so you can see interconnections as they happen.

In 2020
Whether someone is authoring, reviewing, signing off, or just reading artifacts or documents for contextvisibility into all relevant, related data is expected. Ideally, that data is linked directly from where they’re working. The benefit of building artifact relationships throughout the development process is seeing these interconnections live, as things change, not just at milestones.  

Systems holding information relevant to the requirements driving products will start to feel even closer and more interconnected. Even through more dense integration and aligned processes, systems will still feel controlled and connected.   

Review the activity stream in Jama Connect to see who’s done what on which items and understand how data permeates to all contexts. 


5. Traceability shows the impact on people, not just work artifacts.


In 2020
At the end of the day, connecting items is about making sense of multiple people’s decisions to build and test something. Why did they follow that processWhat factors led them to make the choices they made? Traceability has evolved to help find out whose work is related to yours as you go, continuously. In early traceability matrices there wasn’t necessarily room to include the dozens of columns you might find relevant later, like authors or commenters. Today, that’s no longer an issue. Traceability can appear in multiple views for multiple purposes, even if the ultimate end goal is an exported document proving you built and tested what you intended.  

Expansion of communication and quick, on-demand review ability for stakeholders impacted by changes. The ease of the review process will become an integral and more continuous part of the development processes, because of the  ability to easily see who is impacted by changes The availability of a full audit trail of participation makes the difference.

Easily see who’s connected to items in Jama Connect to gain more visibility into reviews. 

Traceability promises efficiency throughout the 2020s.

Software has come a long way in taking 
primarily document-based requirements management and molding it to our modern work environment and habits. Product decisions were always multi-faceted, but today the interwoven nature of products adds a whole new challenge. Traceability offers a solution that help people manage those challenges and work efficiently 

Go deeper on the topic of traceability in our eBook, “The Jama Software Guide to Requirements Traceability.”


This post is the first in a three-part series on traceability. Keep an eye out for the second two posts on how requirements traceability will be different in the 2020s, and lessons learned from 2010s Agile product development.

There are new software capabilities being developed every day keeping us dazzled with trend-driven analytics and massive data analysis. At the end of the day though, it’s humans that are still accountable for the product development decisions being made with or without cutting-edge analysis tools. Even with the advancement of automated analytics, decision-makers must still demand good information so they can truly own their choices in complex product development.

Making good decisions depends on the ability to see comprehensible information as change happens in real time, both within your team and throughout the system your product exists in. That’s where modern traceability comes in – it makes it possible to manage and respond to change in a systematic, auditable, confidence-enhancing way.

Rather than trying to prevent change (still impossible with our current technology for now…), here are three ways traceability has evolved to support the dynamic job of decision makers.

Evolution 1: Modern traceability can capture when you actually make a decision, in multiple formats from both formal and informal situations.

Decisions have varying levels of durability, and it’s not always obvious at the time what that level is. Sometimes you know at the time you’re making a final, consequential decision. Other times you make what you think is a temporary choice and you’re living with it 5-10+ years later. Given that uncertainty, having mechanisms to see when decisions are made (throughout the development process) is essential when products are expected to be maintained for years. We may need to move on quickly in the development process, but the record can live on for future context.

In Action: Formal decision processes such as gate reviews can be managed in tools like Jama Connect™ Review Center, making it easier to mark versions of requirements as signed-off and complete. Decisions that arise from less formal activities like comment threads on requirements can be tagged and referenced later to piece together thinking from the past.

Electronically sign-off on formal reviews using Jama Connect Review Center.

“Catching these traceability gaps would’ve probably taken hours or days in our old system, while with Jama, it became obvious in a matter of minutes.” Read how Jama Connect improved Össur’s traceability process.

Evolution 2: Modern traceability connects people to the context of what they’re working on as they go – not just globally or in a matrix after the fact.

Traceability gives people a (specific) reason to care when asking for input. It helps everyone know why they’re there. Rather than rely on sharing lengthy Word documents or running general meetings, precise outreach is possible with precise mapping of work items (including their owners and contributors) to each other.

In Action: Figure out who to direct questions to or notify by looking at interconnected people, not just the work items. This list can be automatically generated with Jama Connect’s connected users feature – so knowing who to contact won’t slow anyone down from having timely conversations.

See who’s related to each item with connected users.


Evolution 3: Traceability can show past decisions, because they’ve been captured all along.

Can you follow any thread of a question or item to how it got there and why? Knowing who made a decision, and what information *they* had access to is as important as the information itself. Your traceability is incomplete if you can’t piece that together. The faster the better. The responsible thing to do: Make the task of keeping useful records low friction. It doesn’t need to be forced behavior if it’s captured along the way as a biproduct of doing your job.

In Action: Building technical requirements directly from primary source materials, like high level market requirements, has multiple benefits. It simplifies the authoring process by having the downstream requirements writing right next to the source materials, so the translation step is that much easier. It also ensures that when something changes downstream, features like Jama Connect’s suspect links can show where those changes impact other work in real time – no need to wait for an event to reconcile the original goals with what was built.

View the context of how decisions were made with commenting in single-item view.

Traceability can be used to support more genuine accountability. Without robust, modern traceability tools accountability is incomplete — past decisions can’t easily be seen, learned from, or built upon when new choices are made. It’s much harder to legitimately hold someone accountable when they’re working in the dark.

To go deeper on the topic of traceability, and how Jama Connect helps fast track the process, check out our eBook, “The Jama Software Guide to Requirements Traceability.”