Tag Archive for: traceability

This image depicts our Jama Connect Features in Five video series.

Jama Connect®‘s Features in Five Series:
Your Guide to Streamlining Product Development

Learn how you can supercharge your systems development process! In our Features in Five video series, we pull back the curtains to give you a look at a few of the powerful features in Jama Connect®… in under five minutes.

Topics from this series include:

In this blog, we’ll showcase a selection of topics from our Jama Connect® Features in Five video series, plus preview our upcoming integration video series.

Live Traceabilty™

Would you like to see the most up-to-date and complete upstream and downstream information for any requirement—no matter the stage of systems development or how many siloed tools and teams it spans?

Live Traceability™ in Jama Connect enables you to do just that! Now you can manage requirements with complete traceability across the end-to-end systems development process for proven reduction in cycle time and improved product quality.

This enables the engineering process to be managed through data, and its performance improved in real time; dramatically reducing the risk of product delays, cost overruns, defects, rework, and recalls; and ultimately resulting in faster time to market.

In this video, we demonstrate how Jama Connect helps teams integrate with preferred best-of-breed tools to achieve Live Traceabilty™ across the end-to-end development cycle.

RELATED: The Essential Guide to Requirements Management and Traceability

Reuse & Sync

Struggling with scattered requirements and disconnected systems?

Teams often struggle to build on existing work when requirements and tests are spread across documents and systems. Lacking a live trace, they must manually identify and copy related content, increasing the risk of rework and gaps. Additionally, teams tend to lack visibility across efforts, causing necessary changes to not propagate across reuse content, potentially impacting quality and disconnecting product design efforts.

Jama Connect simplifies and enhances the process of reusing requirements and verifications by allowing you to copy selected content with its containers and its traced items. Synchronization ensures visibility and enables key use cases such as parallel product definition, common content libraries, and product variance.

In this video, we explain how your team can reduce time to market and improve quality by reusing and synchronizing requirements and other content in Jama Connect.

Review Center

Are complex review processes bogging down your development process?

Reviews play a key role in successful product development. Jama Connect’s Review Center streamlines the review process, saving valuable time and making reviews across teams and various stakeholders seamless! In this video, you will learn how to initiate a review, how to invite participants to a review, how users can complete tasks, provide feedback, and finish a review. You also see how moderators can view review activity, interact with feedback, publish revisions, compare review versions, and more.

In this video, we demonstrate a powerful and easy-to-use feature in Jama Connect, the Review Center.

RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: Selecting a Requirements Management and Traceability Solution

Jama Connect Features in Five: Integrations Series

The #1 problem product engineering organizations face is complying with traceability requirements spanning siloed teams and tools. Jama Connect helps teams solve this by offering integrations with various other applications and tools via Jama Connect Interchange™ as well as Jira, Excel, Cameo, and more.

We are excited to announce our upcoming eight-part Jama Connect Features in Five integration video series demonstrating the best-of-breed tools that plug into Jama Connect for Live Traceability!

Integrations shown in this series will include:

  • Jira
  • Excel for Risk Management
  • GitHub
  • API Integration for Automated Tests
  • Test Rail
  • Cameo
  • Azure Dev Ops
  • Enterprise Architect

To view more Jama Connect Features in Five topics, visit:
Jama Connect Features in Five Video Series

2024 Predictions or Soft-Tech Product, Systems, and Software Development

2024 Predictions for Soft-Tech Product, Systems, and Software Development

As the SoftTech sector moves into 2024, we aim to gain a deeper insight into the factors driving transformation in the development of products, systems, and software and explore how teams within this industry are adapting to meet the challenges posed by these evolving complexities.

In part five of this six-part series, we asked our own industry experts Patrick Garman – Principal Solutions Consultant, and Steven Meadows – Principal Solutions Lead, to weigh in on the SoftTech trends they’re anticipating in the coming year and beyond.

We like to stay on top of trends in other industries as well. Read our Automotive predictions HERE, Aerospace & Defense HERE, Industrial & Consumer Electronics (ICE) HERE, Medical Device & Life Sciences HERE, and Product & Engineering Teams HERE.

Design Trends – What are the biggest trends you’re seeing in your industry right now? How will they impact SoftTech development?

Patrick Garman: With the increased awareness and popularity of tools like ChatGPT, Generative AI and its potential applications in product development and requirements management has come up often in conversations with customers. Common questions include: can AI suggest ‘missing’ requirements, suggest relationship links for existing requirements, or even generate a full set of requirements based on similar products or projects? These are interesting questions, and I can certainly see the potential value that AI could add, but softtech companies should be wary of automating too much of their requirements management and product development processes. Generative AI might be able to provide suggestions or at least a starting point for requirements, but it cannot and should not replace human review and insights.

Steven Meadows: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is evolving at an unprecedented rate and the continuation of the application of AI in software development is no exception. More tools and libraries are being built to help support the automation of development tasks, including coding and test automation. Developers are now able to create more intelligent and user-centric systems, which ultimately improves the stakeholder experience. Over the next few years, I anticipate that we’ll start to see more AI-based applications that will help teams debug code and fix bugs in real-time.

In terms of requirements management in the software world, we’re seeing AI and machine learning assist with tasks such as requirement generation. This will continue to help shape better-quality systems with fewer issues for users. Models in this area are still being improved, but we are already seeing the benefits of AI bringing better-quality systems to market.

Regulations – What changing regulatory guidelines do you anticipate having an impact on companies in 2024?

Garman: Data privacy still looms large in SoftTech and is top of mind for consumers. A 2020 Pew Research study indicated that half of U.S. consumers have not used a product because of privacy concerns. While the European Union acted several years ago by introducing GDRP, the United States has shied away from federal regulation – focusing on specific classes of data (health and financial) and users (children). Traction for data privacy regulation at the state level is gaining speed, though. California introduced the California Privacy Rights Act in 2019, laws are being enacted in Virginia, Colorado, Utah, and Connecticut this year, and eight more states have signed data privacy legislation, with another six currently debating the issue. With the continued growth of connected devices and cloud services, and the emergence of advanced AI, I predict even more attention will be directed to how tech companies collect and use consumer data. To prepare, forward-looking tech companies will take a cue from companies like Apple and take a more proactive ‘self-regulating’ approach to data privacy in their product design.

Meadows: Keeping with the theme of AI, I anticipate that there will be new regulations coming out affecting the application and use of AI in software. Governments and state entities have made it clear that further regulation of AI is coming, so it’s only a matter of time.

It’s clear to see that there have been instances of biased results being produced by AI systems. For example, credit card algorithms that discriminate based on sex and other factors. Algorithms have also been developed that target people based on race, religion, and gender.

It’s unclear if there will be mandates on the particular use of training data as part of a model’s learning phase or whether limitations will be placed on the types of models used. One thing is for certain though – further regulation of AI in software is coming!

Tool Innovation – From a SoftTech industry engineering toolset perspective, what are some of the processes you think forward-thinking firms will be working to leverage or incorporate into their process, and why?

Garman: While it might seem like a step back for some, I think there is a strong movement in software development to find a better balance between planning and implementation activities. Many companies take Agile to mean ‘just go do’ — start writing code as quickly as possible, release to customers early and often, learn lessons on the fly, and incorporate feedback rapidly. That’s certainly part of Agile and a great ideal to strive for, but in practice, it is very difficult to incorporate customer feedback into iterative releases quickly enough. In other words, it’s easy to ‘fail fast’ but very hard to ‘course correct fast.’ That’s not the fault of software teams; there is a lot of pressure to deliver an ever-growing backlog of features and stories, and prioritization is difficult to manage when business objectives and market demands can change overnight! Applying more diligence to the planning activities – defining and getting agreement on requirements before ‘just going and doing’ – goes a long way towards improving software teams’ ability to actively prioritize their backlogs, feel confident that what they are doing is the right thing to be doing, and reduces the amount of rework or technical debt that must be addressed post-release. Adopting a requirements management tool that supports an agile approach will add tremendous value in SoftTech development.

Meadows: Software companies continue to adopt, and rightly so, an Agile work culture and methodology. Forward-thinking Agile teams must be prepared to adapt to challenges that can hinder quality development for their customers. Task management tools like Jira and Azure DevOps (ADO) have become standard ways to manage work including the prioritization of activities, project management, and resource allocation. One aspect of development that is very much neglected is requirements management. Development teams need to be able to effectively communicate with business analysts, product owners, architects, and their own customers, as well as understand whether requirements have been satisfied in real time.

Without a dedicated and purpose-built requirements management system, silos are created in terms of data and teams, leading to systems produced with more defects and lower quality. Forward-thinking- teams should be adopting a requirements tool tightly coupled with their task management applications for effective end-to-end visibility throughout the development cycle, catching issues and mitigating risk earlier in the development lifecycle.

RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: Selecting a Requirements Management and Traceability Solution for Software Development

What role will cybersecurity play in soft-tech industry development in the coming year and beyond?

Garman: Cybersecurity is perhaps the most important consideration for product development in SoftTech. The convenience of connected devices will continue to drive consumer demand – even my dishwasher connects to the internet! However, this convenience comes with the risk of data breaches and network vulnerabilities. Encrypting data during transmission and storage is just table stakes now. SoftTech companies must be ready to move much faster than in the past to push software and firmware updates in response to new vulnerabilities. The ability to quickly generate impact analyses and trace- identified risks and vulnerabilities to the mitigating requirements is more important than ever in taking a proactive stance toward cybersecurity.

In your opinion, what are the biggest differences between SoftTech companies that will survive to see 2030, and ones that don’t?

Garman: Technical debt is becoming a much larger liability for SoftTech companies as the rate of innovation continues to accelerate – the more technical debt a SoftTech company builds, the harder it will become to quickly respond to emerging trends and innovations. We see it more and more often – once the better mouse trap is available, it becomes the expectation, not the nice to have. Of course, decisions must be made to address near-term or immediate needs and there will always be trade-offs to consider to optimize ROI. SoftTech companies that design and develop their products to not only to fulfill the near-term needs while maintaining the architectural flexibility to adopt future trends will be the ones to keep pace with consumer expectations and win in the long term.

What advice would you give to new companies entering the SoftTech industry?

Garman: Embrace design thinking and avoid jumping too quickly to a solution. This applies if you are a new company or an established company entering a new market. SoftTech products can become commodities very quickly – it’s easier than ever to just copy/paste an existing solution – but that will ultimately only drive prices down as more options are available to consumers. Design thinking is a great framework for requirements management. Start by really defining the problem or needs that your product intends to resolve and also defining the user needs for your target market. User needs are the foundation for good requirements, and good requirements are the foundation for successful products.

What topic(s) do you wish companies were paying more attention to?

Garman: Refocus on user experience. MVP is commonly defined as “Minimum Viable Product,” but I strongly prefer “Minimum Valuable Product”– in other words, instead of designing through the lens of ‘what is the least we can deliver so that a user can accomplish this task or goal,’ adopt a mindset of ‘what is the least we can deliver so that a user has a good experience in accomplishing this task or goal.’ Designing for good user experience does not limit the return on investment (ROI) – in fact, it leads to higher lifetime value through customer loyalty and goodwill.

What is the biggest mistake you see companies in the soft-tech industry making right now?

Garman: I mentioned earlier that I see the trend of software teams re-prioritizing requirements management and planning activities in advance of development activities, and that is in direct response to the issues and pain points that SoftTech companies have experienced as they adopt a ‘just go do’ approach to product development. One of my grad school professors claimed that an 80/20 ratio of planning to doing was the ideal. Every company will need to find its own balance, but the data is clear – companies that apply diligence in requirements management are faster to market, expend less time and resources in the actual development phase, and experience fewer defects after release.

RELATED: Traceable Agile – Speed AND Quality Are Possible for Software Factories in Safety-critical Industries

Do you think there will be any major disruptors in the SoftTech industry in the coming year? How do you think it will impact the industry?

Garman: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, advancements in artificial intelligence. The potential applications are tremendous! I’ve mentioned the potential for using AI to develop products. In the short term, we’ll likely see more soft-tech companies employing generative AI for product support and predictive process automation. Conversational AI will also change the way we interact with software and connected devices. The market for voice assistants has a projected CAGR of nearly 27% over the next eight years and hands-free devices are projected to have a 7% CAGR over the next five years – and that is based on the current task-based commands that are supported. As consumers continue to adopt smart home devices, the expectations for hands-free control will only increase.

What do you predict for regulation in the SoftTech industry in 2024?

Will those trends still be prevalent five years from now? 10 years?

Garman: I’ve already discussed data privacy regulation, and I do think that the federal regulations will be expanded in the United States in the coming years. Regulation for AI – specifically generative AI – is likely next, but what will be enacted and how is still an open question. The two topics are linked in that generative AI produces content based on existing inputs, generally user data and public-facing IP. AI and advanced machine learning have tremendous potential, but aside from data privacy concerns, AI also introduces safety risks. We are already seeing the implementation of functional safety standards in robotics, and as autonomous robots continue to advance, we will likely see increased regulatory oversight. No one wants the rise of Skynet!

This image shows people working together and portrays project lifecycle (PrLM) management.

In this blog, we’ll recap our eBook, “Project Lifecycle Management (PrLM): A Comprehensive Guide. Click HERE to download the entire thing.

Project Lifecycle Management (PrLM): A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to “Project Lifecycle Management (PrLM): A Comprehensive Guide.” In our eBook, we will explore the principles, methodologies, and best practices for effective project management throughout its lifecycle. Whether you area. seasoned project manager or someone new to the field, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and tools necessary to successfully navigate the various stages of a project and deliver exceptional results.

Project Lifecycle Management (PrLM) vs. Product Lifecycle Management

We know there is often some confusion between Project Lifecycle Management (PrLM) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) so just to set the stage, here is the high-level difference:

  • Project Lifecycle Management (PrLM) — the focus of this paper — refers to the overall management of a project from its inception to its completion. It encompasses activities such as project planning, execution, monitoring, and delivery. PrLM focuses on managing the project-specific processes, resources, and deliverables to ensure successful project outcomes within the defined constraints of time, cost, and quality.
  • On the other hand, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) deals with managing a product from inception to delivery throughout the course of its entire lifecycle. PLM involves the strategic planning, development, and support of a product while taking into account factors like design, engineering, manufacturing, testing, distribution, and even customer service. Throughout its lifespan, it attempts to maximize the product’s quality, functionality, financial success, and market viability.

In summary, while PrLM is concerned with managing the overall project activities, PLM is focused on managing the lifecycle of a specific product, system, or software, including its development, production, and market presence.

With that clarified, let’s begin our journey into the world of Project Lifecycle Management.

RELATED: Traceable Agile – Speed AND Quality Are Possible for Software Factories in Safety-critical Industries

Understanding Project Lifecycle

What is a Project Lifecycle?

A project lifecycle refers to the series of distinct phases that a project goes through, from its initiation to its closure. It is a structured approach that helps project managers effectively plan, execute, and control their projects. Each phase of the lifecycle has specific objectives, deliverables, and activities that contribute to the overall success of the project. By understanding the project lifecycle, project managers can proactively manage risks, allocate resources efficiently, and ensure that project goals are achieved.

Importance of Project Lifecycle Management

Project lifecycle management is crucial because it provides a roadmap for project managers to follow. It enables them to break down complex projects into manageable stages, making it easier to monitor progress and track outcomes. By adhering to the project lifecycle, organizations can enhance their project success rates, improve resource allocation, and minimize risks.

Common Methodologies Used by Project Lifecycle Management

Project Lifecycle Management methodologies provide a structured framework for managing
a project from initiation to closure. It is important to note that because of the similarities in desired outcomes and development process cross-functionality, PrLM and PLM methodologies often overlap. Here are descriptions of some of the top PrLM/PLM methodologies:

  • Waterfall Model – The Waterfall model is a sequential approach to PrLM. It divides the project into distinct phases, such as requirements, design, implementation, testing, and maintenance. Each phase must be completed before moving to the next. It’s suitable for well-defined projects with stable requirements.
  • Agile PrLM – Agile PrLM is an iterative approach that emphasizes flexibility and collaboration. It allows for continuous feedback and adjustments throughout the project. Agile PrLM is ideal for projects with evolving requirements and a need for rapid iterations.
  • Stage-Gate Model – The Stage-Gate model breaks the project into stages or phases, each with a decision gate where project stakeholders review progress and decide whether to proceed to the next stage. It’s useful for ensuring alignment with strategic goals and minimizing risks.
  • Spiral Model – The Spiral model is a risk driven PrLM approach that combines elements of Waterfall and iterative development. It involves repeated cycles of planning, risk analysis, engineering, and evaluation. It’s suited for projects with evolving requirements and high uncertainty.
  • V-Model (Verification and Validation Model) – The V-Model extends the Waterfall approach by emphasizing the importance of validation and verification at each phase. It highlights the relationship between development phases and corresponding testing activities, ensuring a robust validation process.
  • Iterative and Incremental Model – This PrLM approach involves breaking the project into smaller, manageable increments that are developed and tested iteratively. It allows for early delivery of partial functionality and is commonly used in software development.
  • PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments 2) – PRINCE2 is a structured project management methodology that includes a well-defined project lifecycle. It focuses on governance, documentation, and clear roles and responsibilities, making it popular in government and public sector projects.
  • Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) – CCPM is a PrLM methodology that prioritizes resource management and identifies the critical chain of tasks that impact project completion. It aims to reduce project delays and improve resource utilization.
  • Design Thinking – Design Thinking is a human-centered approach to PrLM that emphasizes empathy, ideation, and prototyping. It’s often used in creative and innovative projects to solve complex problems and improve user experiences.
  • Hybrid PrLM – Hybrid methodologies combine elements of multiple PrLM approaches to tailor the methodology to the specific needs of a project. Organizations often customize their PrLM processes by selecting components from different methodologies. Selecting the appropriate PrLM methodology depends on the project’s nature, goals, constraints, and the organization’s culture. Project managers and teams may adapt or blend these methodologies to best suit the project’s unique requirements and dynamics.

RELATED: Requirements Traceability Benchmark

Common Phases of a Project Lifecycle

This image shows a circular flow chart depicting the common phases of a project lifecycle.

Although the specific phases may vary depending on the project management methodology used, there are typically five common phases in a project lifecycle: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and closure. Each phase serves a distinct purpose, from defining project objectives and creating a project plan to delivering the final outputs and conducting a post-project evaluation.

Grasping the fundamentals of project lifecycle management enables project managers to lay a strong foundation for their projects. The next chapter provides a comprehensive
overview of the project lifecycle, emphasizing its significance, the key stakeholders involved, and the challenges that may arise. With this knowledge, project managers can embark on their project journeys with confidence and a clear understanding of the path ahead.

Initiating the Project

Defining Project Objectives and Scope

The initiation phase is the starting point of a project, where the project objectives and scope are defined. This involves identifying the desired outcomes, deliverables, and benefits that the project aims to achieve. Clear and well-defined objectives help align the project team and stakeholders, providing a common understanding of what needs to be accomplished. Additionally, project scope defines the boundaries of the project, specifying what is included and excluded. It is essential to establish realistic and achievable objectives and scope to set the project on the right track from the beginning.

Conducting Feasibility Studies

Before committing resources and efforts to a project, it is crucial to assess its feasibility. Feasibility studies evaluate various aspects, such as technical, economic, operational, legal, and scheduling feasibility. This analysis helps determine whether the project is viable and aligns with organizational goals and resources. It allows
stakeholders to make informed decisions about proceeding with the project, modifying objectives, or exploring alternative approaches. Conducting thorough feasibility studies during the initiation phase minimizes the risk of undertaking projects that may prove unworkable or unprofitable in the long run.

Identifying Stakeholders and Their Requirements

Identifying and understanding project stakeholders is a critical step in the initiation phase. Stakeholders include individuals or groups who have a vested interest in or can
influence the project’s outcomes. It is essential to engage stakeholders early on to gather their requirements, expectations, and concerns. By involving stakeholders
from the beginning, project managers can gain valuable insights and build support and commitment for the project. This identification process lays the foundation for effective stakeholder management throughout the project lifecycle.

Developing a Project Charter

A project charter serves as a formal document that authorizes the existence of the project and provides a clear understanding of its objectives, scope, constraints, and stakeholders. It outlines the project’s purpose, defines the project manager’s authority, and establishes the project’s high-level requirements. Developing a project charter during the initiation phase helps align stakeholders, gain project sponsor approval, and set expectations. The project charter becomes a guiding document that shapes the project’s direction and provides a reference point throughout its lifecycle.

Establishing the Project Team and Roles

During project initiation, it is essential to assemble a capable project team and define their roles and responsibilities. This involves identifying the necessary
skills and expertise required for the project and selecting team members accordingly. Assigning roles and responsibilities clarifies expectations, promotes accountability, and ensures that all necessary tasks are covered. Building a cohesive project team in the initiation phase sets the stage for effective collaboration and lays the groundwork for successful project execution.

By effectively initiating a project, project managers establish a solid foundation for success. This chapter has explored the critical aspects of project initiation, including defining project objectives and scope, conducting feasibility studies, identifying stakeholders and their requirements, developing a project charter, and establishing the project team and roles. Through careful planning and consideration in the initiation phase, project managers can position their projects for smooth execution and set the stage for achieving the desired project outcomes.

This has been a preview of our eBook, “Project Lifecycle Management (PrLM): A Comprehensive Guide.
Click HERE to download the entire guide.
Image showing why documents are difficult for requirements management

In this blog, we’ll overview our recent eBook, “The Strategic Transition: From Word and Excel to Modern Requirements Management” – To read the entire thing, download it HERE

Why Relying Solely on Documents Won’t Cut It in the World of Complex Product, Systems, and Software

Unless your organization’s business model is built on a foundation of inefficiency, you should not be using disparate documents for managing requirements. Whether it’s Microsoft Word, Excel, or a combination of both, trying to wrangle your product’s requirements solely in documents carries a lot of risk and will gradually eat away at your company’s bottom line.

There was a time when using disparate documents wasn’t such a problem for managing requirements, but as products grow in complexity, those days are fading. Many companies no longer produce products that contain just hardware or software; today it’s likely a combination of both, increasing development complexity exponentially.

Integrating hardware and software means teams spanning various engineering disciplines all need to stay aligned throughout development, especially when things like safety standards and regulations are involved.

Using documents alone, will simply not be up to the task of meeting today’s complex products, systems, and software development. When you need precision, context, and accountability for your requirements, a modern requirements management solution is really the only answer.

In the blog post below, we recap our  “The Strategic Transition: From Word and Excel to Modern Requirements Management” eBook in which we detail some of the reasons why you’ll want to leave disparate documents for managing requirements in your rearview. You’ll also get an overview of the benefits you’ll gain by moving to a purpose-built software solution for requirements management.

Five Drawbacks of Documents

Microsoft Word and Excel serve many purposes, and have done so for decades. And, in terms of requirements, for early-phase documentation and coordinating simple projects, they still remain effective tools.

As the complexity of product and systems development grows, so does your list of requirements. And teams need solutions that provide simple and streamlined collaboration, not jumbled — often quickly outdated — comments and suggested edits.

Teams need to be able to instantly connect to globally distributed colleagues to facilitate real-time feedback and make smarter decisions with full context around requirements. Documents simply aren’t up to the challenge.

RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: Selecting a Requirements Management and Traceability Solution

Here are some of the key limitations for a document-based approach for storing requirements:

1. Documents are tedious to maintain

Anyone who has ever managed requirements with documents and several collaborators is familiar with the unique pains of this approach. Whether it’s Word documents that are hundreds of pages long or Excel spreadsheets with thousands of lines, keeping them fresh with updates and free of errors is extremely cumbersome and time-consuming.

2. Versioning difficulties

Collaborating on any kind of important documentation can be painstaking, especially when there’s an enormous amount of requirements involved. For instance, when reviewing requirements, it’s incredibly easy for two people to be looking at different versions of the same set of requirements, and not even know it. And even if it’s a cloud-based version of requirements, there are still plenty of opportunities for someone to unintentionally change something without getting prior approval, and that adjustment not being accounted for in future versions. Plus, online/cloud-based documents do not automatically create different IDs and versions for each requirement or highlight the changes between versions.

3. No traceability

There’s so much room for error through email chains and undisclosed updates. It’s incredibly simple, for example, to miss a tiny change that could have critical ramifications upstream or downstream.

4. Reviews are time consuming

Without traceability, review cycles with an enormous document of requirements are extremely long. You’re likely looking at scheduling lengthy meetings or passing around version after version, pulling team members away from other priorities, which is not ideal when you’re focused on getting to market quickly. And if you’re trying to manage reviews asynchronously, collaboration becomes tricky and timelines are likely to get pushed as people’s schedules shift.

5. Exhausting collaboration between teams

Sharing constantly evolving requirements files among multiple stakeholders and different teams throughout the development and testing process is risky, frustrating, and time-consuming. And with your customer demanding a perfect product, system, or software delivered ASAP, you can no longer afford that kind of inefficiency.

Seven Benefits of Using a Requirements Management Solution

Despite rising product complexity and regulation, most development teams do not have a sophisticated requirement management system in place. In fact, according to a recent survey, almost one-third of teams have no system in place and rely on formal processes with email, documents, and shared spreadsheets.

Another 52% manage their requirements with a system which is not meant for managing requirements, like Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) or Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems. And only 15% have chosen to invest in a formal dedicated requirement management solution.

Using a dedicated requirements management solution allows teams to stop getting bogged down on processes and start innovating. For example, MediSync, reports that investing in Jama Connect® has saved 80% of the time that would have otherwise been spent on meetings, sorting through versions of Word documents and emails, and consolidating feedback in review cycles.

Grifols saved around 80 hours per project in medical device development when using the Jama Connect Review Center. And RBC Medical saved around $150,000 per project by improving team collaboration and workflow efficiencies using Jama Connect.

RELATED: The Jama Software® Guide to Requirements Traceability

Here are some of the benefits you’ll get from investing in a solid requirements management solution:

1. Version and change management

A solid requirements management solution will maintain a history of each change made to every requirement. You’ll also be able to record the rationale behind each change, and refer back to a previous version of a requirement if necessary. Some solutions contain a change proposal system that links change requests directly to requirements. And, with a formal requirements management solution, you’ll always know you’re looking at the most recent version of the requirements.

2. Requirements attributes

With a strong requirements management solution, you should be able to record several descriptive attributes for each requirement. The right requirements management software should generate several system-defined attributes such as the date the requirement was created, its current version number, and the person on the requirements should be able to view these attributes, even if only a couple of individuals are allowed to update the attributes’ values.

3. Facilitate impact analysis

A requirements management solution enables requirements tracing by letting you define links between different types of requirements, requirements and different subsystems, and individual requirements and related system components (designs, modules, tests, and user documentation). These links help you analyze the impact that the proposed change will have on a specific requirement. It’s also very helpful to have the ability to trace each functional requirement back to its origin or parent so that you know exactly where every requirement came from. And some solutions use a traceability link to raise suspect flags to a linked item whenever a change is made, so you know exactly what needs to be reviewed after a change.

4. Track requirements status

Collecting requirements in a database lets you know how many discrete requirements you’ve specified for the product. And tracking the status of each requirement during development helps communicate how things are coming along to those across the organization. So, a project manager has good insights into prior states if he or she knows that, for example, 55% of the requirements committed to the next release have been verified, 28% have been implemented but not verified, and 70% have not yet been fully implemented. This type of information gives the project manager information to anticipate the project’s progress, and relay the message to stakeholders accordingly.

5. Control access

A requirements management solution should let you bring as many people into the system as possible, and grant them permission to access the specific parts they’re working on. This helps teams across the organization feel more invested in the product being developed and its progress.

6. Facilitating communication with stakeholders

A requirements management solution should allow team members to discuss requirements issues electronically through a threaded conversation, in one central location, as opposed to having communication spread out across various platforms. It will automatically trigger email messages and notify effective individuals when a new discussion entry is made or when a specific requirement is modified. And it should allow team members to reach out to each other, but also contact non-project members and external users.

7. Recycling/reusing requirements

Storing requirements in a central database facilitates the reuse of them in multiple projects or sub-projects. And requirements that logically fit into multiple parts of the same product can be stored once and referenced whenever necessary to avoid duplicates. This saves a lot of time and reduces the chance of making errors.

The Strategic Transition: From Word and Excel to Modern Requirements Management

Image showing industry experts who speak about insurance product development.

In this blog, we recap our webinar, “Bridging the Gap in Insurance Product Development”. Click HERE to watch the entire webinar.

Looking to bridge the gap in your insurance product development?

Learn how carriers can utilize Jama Connect® to increase efficiency across the development process and more effectively deliver high quality products on time and on budget.

During this informative session, Lianne Warford, Senior Business Analyst at LHW Consulting, and Steven Meadows, Principal Solutions Lead at Jama Software®, discuss how this newly available insurance framework and dataset streamlines and simplifies product development for the insurance industry.

Gain insights into:

  • Overcoming common insurance industry challenges
  • Leveraging the benefits of a modern requirements management solution
  • The new insurance framework available in Jama Connect, with off-the-shelf elements for enhanced workflow and efficiency

Discover how Jama Connect allows carriers to innovate, bring products to market quicker, and ultimately better serve their customers.

Below is an abbreviated transcript of our webinar.

Bridging the Gap in Insurance Product Development

Steven Meadows: Okay, so today, we have a pretty packed agenda. We’re going to be starting off or Lianne’s going to be talking about legacy insurance requirements management. Following that, we’ll be talking about how you can overcome some of the common insurance industry challenges, some of the important considerations for streamlined insurance product development. After that, I’ll be talking about the problem with legacy tools and insurance product development, followed by best practices for an effective development strategy. I’ll then be providing a brief introduction to Jama Connect for Insurance, very high level overview. And then finally, we’ll end with a solution key takeaways and questions. And with that, Lianne, go ahead.

Lianne Watford: All right, thanks Steven so much. I appreciate this opportunity to work with Jama Software. I want to get started today with talking about different scenarios, two main scenarios where requirements are needed in the insurance industry. So we have the policy administration systems that automate the day-to-day operations of an insurance company. And the second area is the new and enhanced insurance products and services that insurance companies want to undertake. So let’s just dive right in. It has a lot of information, so let’s get started. So from the policy administration system, while every insurance company’s unique, processes that all insurance companies share for the day-to-day operations are quite common. And I’d venture to say that you would have to look long and hard to find an insurance company today that doesn’t have some type of policy admin system, whether it be a homegrown system that they’ve done themselves or utilizing some other type of software vendor.

RELATED: Traceable Agile – Speed AND Quality Are Possible for Software Factories in Safety-critical Industries

Watford: So if you take a look at the areas that are common, you have your policy administration. So every insurance policy starts with a quote and there’s quite a bit of information that needs to be captured. You’ve got your insured name, address, and contact information among others. You have information about the risk that’s being insured, whether it’s a house, a car, or business. And there are specific details for each types of risks that have to be captured to provide an accurate rate for the policy. You’ve got your coverages that are needed for each of the specific types of risks like property damage and liability coverage, and there’s lots of information that needs to be captured around that as well. And then once the policy is bound and issued, there’s several different types of documents such as declaration pages, rating sheets, etc, that have to be generated and are dependent on specific policy details.

And while those requirements are related to the insured risk and coverages, there’ll be an entirely different set of requirements for the output that describe the information about both the static and the variable data that’s needed to be printed. So that’s a ton of information right there. If you haven’t really captured it, we’ve just hit one bullet point under the policy admin. And then you’re always going to have the need to make a change to the policy at some point. And those are processed as endorsements. And while some of these requirements can be reused from the quote bind and issue process, there’ll also be certain rules for different types of endorsements that’ll need to be captured as separate requirements. And then you also have the output that’s specific to those related endorsements. Again, more stuff. And then you also have the processes around your cancellations and reinstatements for underwriting reasons, and you’re going to have documents that go along with that as well.

RELATED: A Wise Investment: Requirements Management and Traceability Solutions During an Economic Downturn

Watford: All of those have to have requirements for the related output and downstream effects as well. And then hopefully the insured’s going to be happy with your service at your company and they’ll want to renew the policy for another term. So yep, there goes another set of specific requirements that are associated with the processing of the renewal as well as the output that’s associated. That’s a big mouthful of information. But then the next step you’ve got to do is collect the money for the premium that’s generated on the policy. So you gather requirements for down payments if you require them. You also provide payment plan options to allow them to pay, and installments are all at one time, so there’s lots of requirements around that. Then you also have special rules for nonpayment of premium cancellations and reinstatements that are different from your underwriting cancellations and reinstatements, different set of requirements.

And then you have to process refunds and collections. Again, and there’s all types of outputs that go along with these processes as well that have to be documented. And then of course, the big thing for an insurance company is your annual statement. That’s your accounting for what insurance companies do. And so, there’s all kinds of requirements for your annual statement, annual statement lines, and statistical reporting. Again, a ton of requirements. And then last but not least is your claims administration, which is the reason that you actually have insurance, right? So that if you need to make a claim, so you have your requirements around first notice of loss and then there’s a ton of information that they have to capture, lots of things that they have to do in that area as well. Come out and inspect, assign agents, all different types of processes for your claims.

And then you ultimately want to make a payment to the insured when it’s needed and processing of reinsurance if your company handles reinsurance. So that’s a mouthful of information and lots of requirements that maybe a lot of people don’t think about when it comes to insurance day-to-day operations. And then when you move on to thinking about the company wants to have new and enhanced insurance products and services. So you’ve got new products that you want to offer, you have new states and lines of business and coverages that you want to move into. And then if you want to enhance existing products, you’ve got rate changes, additional coverages you want to provide. And then there’s all kinds of interfaces, imager, quick rater, all types of interfaces into insurance policy admin systems that help integrate your business. And then not to mention, you’ve got to upgrade those existing interfaces because softwares are continuously evolving.

To watch the entire webinar, visit:
Bridging the Gap in Insurance Product Development


traceable agile development

Traceable Agile™ – Speed AND Quality Are Possible for Software Factories in Safety-critical Industries

Automotive, aerospace and defense, and industrial companies have largely adopted Agile within rapidly growing software factories to speed time to market in order to stay competitive. These software factories have largely succeeded in speeding up software development for companies within the industries that have adopted it, but maintaining quality is still a key concern. The inability to coordinate development across engineering disciplines has led to product recalls, quality complaints, and has created significant internal challenges to satisfy functional safety requirements from regulators and confidently deliver high-quality software. These challenges — and resulting outcomes — are often so severe that leadership of the software factories have been let go.

Fundamental Questions We Hear

When we ask software factory leaders, “what keeps them up at night?” We consistently hear the following five questions:

  • How do I know which product requirements have been missed?
  • How do I know which product requirements are not fully covered by test cases?
  • How do I know which product requirements have failed to pass tests?
  • How do I identify rogue development activity?
  • How do I know if changes have been made at the system and / or hardware level that impact the software team?

These are fundamental questions that should be answerable from leading Agile tooling, but they are not. The reason is that Agile tools focus on tasks (define, assign, status, complete, delete) and have no notion of the current and historical state of the project. Tasks are not tied to any state of the project which often leads to drift from the actual needs and requirements of your customer or end user. As a result, these questions are not answerable with Agile tools like Jira and Azure DevOps. Project management tools like Jira Align answer important questions around staffing, sprint planning, and cost allocation, but do not address the critical questions above focused on the real-time state of the software development effort against the approved requirements.

RELATED: What is a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and How Does it Help with Complex Software Development?

The Answer? Traceable Agile.

How do you best speed software and overall product development and still achieve the quality expectations of customers and company leadership? The answer is Traceable Agile. Traceable Agile speeds the FLOW of software development but also maintains the current and historical STATE of the development effort and auto-detects issues early in the software development process. Traceable Agile recognizes that developer activity is best managed as a FLOW using tasks in a tool such as Jira. What is needed to achieve Traceable Agile is to pair a system with Jira that manages the STATE of the development effort at all times. By keeping STATE and FLOW tools separate but integrated, no change is required to software developer process and tools. This is significant. Software leadership can now answer their critical questions without having to undergo a major process and tool change with resistant developers which would slow down development and/or increase staff attrition.

RELATED: How to Achieve Live Traceability™ with Jira® for Software Development Teams

So how does Traceable Agile work in practice?

Here is an overview and diagram of Jama Connect® maintaining the STATE of development activity and Jira providing the FLOW.

  1. Task activity continues as normal in Jira and risk is auto-detected in Jama Connect by comparing all user stories and bugs in Jira to the expected development and test activity for each requirement in Jama Connect.
  2. All exceptions are identified —the ones that answer the questions that keep software factory leadership up at night — such as requirements with no user stories, user stories with no requirements, requirements with no test cases or test results, etc.
  3. After the exceptions are inspected in Jama Connect, management can take action and assign corrective tasks in Jira as just another task in the queue for a developer.


traceable agile software development


RELATED: Extending Live Traceability™ to Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) with Jama Connect®

This is a fully automated process that leverages automated synchronization of meta data between Jira and Jama Connect via Jama Connect Interchange™. The only metadata that needs to be synchronized from Jira to make Traceable Agile possible is as follows: ID, Created Date, Creator (User), Modified Date, Modifier (User), Title, Status, Link (URL), Relationships. On inspection in Jama Connect of an issue, one simply clicks on the link to go to Jira if more information is required to diagnose.

Many of our leading clients have already implemented Traceable Agile and are significantly improving their Traceability Score™ which we have demonstrated leads to superior performance on quality metrics in our Traceability Benchmark Report.

Feel free to reach out to me to learn more and I will respond.

Image showing currency, meant to portray the importance of investing in a Requirements Management and Traceability Solutions as a wise financial choice.

A Wise Investment: Requirements Management and Traceability Solutions During an Economic Downturn

In the realm of business, the economy is a dynamic force that ebbs and flows, much like the tide. Economic downturns, while challenging and sometimes scary, can also present unique opportunities for businesses to reevaluate their strategies, streamline their operations, and invest wisely for future growth. One such investment — that might not be immediately obvious but holds immense potential — is in requirements management and traceability solutions. In this blog post, we’ll explore why it makes sense to invest in these solutions during an economic downturn.

1. Enhanced Efficiency and Resource Optimization:

In times of economic uncertainty, operational efficiency becomes paramount. Requirements management and traceability solutions provide a structured framework for capturing, organizing, and tracking project requirements throughout their lifecycle. By optimizing requirements management processes, businesses can ensure that resources are allocated to the most critical aspects of a project. This reduces the risk of scope creep, minimizes wasted effort, and enhances overall project efficiency. With a clear understanding of project goals and dependencies, teams can work cohesively, to not only avoid both unnecessary and costly duplication of work but also enable organizations to allocate resources where they are most needed.

RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: Selecting a Requirements Management and Traceability Solution for Software Development

2. Risk Mitigation:

Economic downturns often come with increased financial constraints, so allocating resources to any new software investments might seem counterintuitive. But investing in requirements management and traceability solutions can truly act as a risk mitigation strategy. The right requirements management and traceability solutions facilitate comprehensive end-to-end impact analysis, allowing businesses to understand how changes to requirements can affect other aspects of the project or organization. By foreseeing any potential pitfalls and addressing them proactively, companies can increase process efficiency, minimize costly errors, rework, and recalls, and streamline development to accelerate time to market — ultimately safeguarding their investments in both time and resources.

3. Regulatory Compliance and Quality Assurance:

In certain industries, compliance with regulatory standards is non-negotiable. Implementing robust requirements management and traceability solutions can streamline the process of documenting and demonstrating compliance. These solutions enable clear documentation of how each requirement maps to relevant regulations, making audits smoother and reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties. Moreover, well-managed requirements also lead to improved quality assurance practices, ensuring that products or services meet the desired standards even during challenging economic periods.

4. Agility and Adaptability:

Economic downturns often require businesses to pivot their strategies quickly to address changing market dynamics. Requirements management and traceability solutions provide a foundation for agile decision-making. When requirements are well-documented and linked, it becomes easier to assess the impact of changes, make informed decisions, and adapt to shifting priorities without causing disruptions. This agility allows businesses to seize new opportunities and respond to market demands more effectively.

RELATED: Requirements Traceability Diagnostic

5. Long-Term Cost Savings:

While the initial investment in requirements management and traceability solutions might seem significant, it pales in comparison to the potential long-term cost savings. When requirements are managed efficiently, projects are less likely to overrun budgets or experience delays due to misunderstandings or miscommunications. The cost of fixing issues after they’ve occurred is far higher than preventing them in the first place. By investing in proper requirements management, businesses can avoid the financial strains that arise from project failures or inefficiencies.


In the face of economic uncertainty, investing in requirements management and traceability solutions might not be the most obvious choice, but it’s certainly a strategic one. These solutions offer a structured approach to managing projects, reducing risks, enhancing efficiency, ensuring compliance, and promoting adaptability. By making this investment, businesses position themselves for not only surviving economic downturns but also thriving in the long run. As the tide of the economy inevitably turns, those who have laid a strong foundation in requirements management will be better equipped to ride the waves of change.

Download the complete eBook to access simple, interactive ROI calculators and learn the financial benefits of investing in a requirements management solution during an economic downturn >>
Why Investing in Requirements Management During an Economic Downturn Makes Good Business Sense

Image showing V Model for Validation and Verification

Best Practices for Verification and Validation in Product Development

In the competitive landscape of modern product development, ensuring the reliability and quality of the product is essential to meet customer – and stakeholder – expectations and regulatory requirements. Verification and validation (V&V) are two crucial processes that play a pivotal role in achieving these goals. V&V are systematic methods that assess a product’s adherence to specifications and its ability to perform as intended. In this article, we will delve into the best practices for verification and validation in product development, exploring the key steps, methodologies, and benefits of each process.

Understanding Verification & Validation

Before delving into the best practices, it is essential to clarify the distinction between verification and validation. Verification focuses on assessing whether a product meets its design specifications, ensuring that each component and feature works as intended. On the other hand, validation is concerned with evaluating whether the product fulfills its intended use and customer needs. In essence, verification confirms if the product is designed correctly, while validation confirms if it is the right product for the intended application.

RELATED: Five Key Design Control Practices that Improve Compliance and Help Develop Better Products

Incorporating V&V Early in the Development Lifecycle

To maximize the effectiveness of verification and validation, these processes must be integrated into the product development lifecycle from its early stages. By starting V&V activities early, potential issues can be identified and resolved before they escalate, reducing costs and time-to-market. Early involvement also allows for feedback to be incorporated into the design, leading to a more robust and reliable final product.

V Model image showing Verification and Validation in the Product Development Process

Clearly Defined Requirements

Well-defined requirements are the foundation of successful verification and validation. During the requirements gathering phase, it is vital to engage stakeholders and subject matter experts to create clear, measurable, and unambiguous specifications. These requirements serve as the baseline against which the product will be verified and validated. Proper documentation and version control are critical to ensure that changes to requirements are tracked effectively. Additionally, the later in the development process that requirements get changed, many times because they weren’t written well the first time, the more costly it is due to downstream impacts such as rework in verification and validation.

RELATED: Plutora: Verification vs Validation: Do You know the Difference?

Utilizing Various V&V Techniques

Product development teams should employ a mix of V&V techniques to comprehensively assess the product’s quality. Some commonly used methods include:

  • Testing: Conduct thorough testing, including unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and user acceptance testing, to verify that each component and the product as a whole performs as expected.
  • Simulation: Use computer simulations to evaluate the product’s behavior in various scenarios, particularly for complex systems or when physical testing is impractical or cost prohibitive.
  • Prototyping: Building prototypes early in the development process allows for real-world testing, uncovering potential design flaws and usability issues.
  • Peer Reviews: Encourage regular peer reviews of design documents, code, and other artifacts to catch errors and improve the overall quality of the product.
  • Model-based Design: Utilize model-based design approaches, such as Model-Driven Architecture (MDA), to create detailed models that can be verified before implementation.

Risk-Based Approach

Incorporate a risk-based approach into V&V activities to focus resources on critical areas. Identify potential risks associated with product failure and prioritize verification and validation efforts accordingly. This approach ensures that resources are allocated efficiently, concentrating on areas with the most significant impact on product performance and safety.

Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V)

Consider engaging external experts or teams for independent verification and validation. External parties can provide an unbiased assessment of the product, uncovering issues that internal teams might overlook due to familiarity or assumptions. Independent verification and validation bring additional expertise and ensure a higher level of confidence in the product’s quality.

RELATED: How to Achieve Higher Levels of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)

Implementing CI/CD practices allows for continuous verification and validation throughout the development process. Automated testing and deployment pipelines can quickly detect regressions and integration issues, ensuring that the product remains stable and reliable throughout its evolution.

Documenting V&V Activities

Comprehensive documentation of all verification and validation activities is essential for compliance, knowledge retention, and continuous improvement. Properly documented V&V processes help maintain a historical record of changes, failures, and resolutions, facilitating future product iterations and troubleshooting.

V & V are integral to successful product development, ensuring that products meet the required specifications and perform as intended. By adopting best practices such as early integration, clear requirements, a mix of v&v techniques, risk-based approaches, and continuous verification, companies can create high-quality, reliable products that customers love and gain a competitive edge in the market. Moreover, investing in verification and validation from the outset of development can save time and resources, prevent costly delays, and lead to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty in the long run.

In this blog, we recap our webinar, “Manage by Exception: Data-driven Practices to Improve Product Quality”. Click HERE to watch the entire webinar.

Curious how data-driven practices unlock successful product delivery?

Our recent webinar explores the transformative approach of managing by exception in reducing product failure risk. In this session, we walk through why managing by data is crucial, how data “exceptions” uncover gaps, and real-life examples in product development.

During this informative session, Preston Mitchell, VP, Global Solutions at Jama Software®, offers insights on how Jama Connect® helps teams proactively prevent gaps in requirement quality and traceability to streamline their product delivery process.

Check out this webinar to learn:

  • Why data-based management is important
  • The definition of a data “exception” and how it uncovers gaps
  • Examples of “exceptions” in daily product development and requirements management
  • How Jama Connect’s unique features, such as Advanced Filters and Dashboards, can help your team manage by exception
  • How to proactively prevent exceptions using Jama Connect Advisor™ and Live Traceability
  • Discover how Jama Connect can help your team manage by exception and navigate product development with precision.

Below is an abbreviated transcript of our webinar.

Manage by Exception: Data-driven Practices to Improve Product Quality

Preston Mitchell: Hello everyone and thank you for joining today. My name is Preston.. I’m the VP of our solutions department at Jama Software and I lead our rockstar team that delivers solutions and services for all of Jama Software’s customers. I’ve been with Jama Software for over 10 years and held several positions within the company and over the course of my time here, through hundreds of client engagements to onboard and deploy Jama Connect, I have learned a lot from our customers and our customers really are our inspiration. They’re building next-generation products like self-driving cars, life-saving medical devices, futuristic robots, and the thread that ties all of these customers together is the central theme of how we can make better decisions to improve the success rate of our R&D function or our product development function. So I’m really excited to talk to you all today about the theme of managing through data to do just that. How can we bring measurable improvement to your process?

So for the agenda today, we’re going to talk about the power of data, how Jama Software empowers our customers to use data and exception management, and some key measurements that we prioritize such as requirements quality and the traceability score. And then finally we’ll close out with how you can plan for success in this and just some Q&A from the audience. So we’ll have my colleagues helping out with the chat. Juliet’s going to share some of the questions, so don’t hesitate to use the chat to ask questions.

RELATED: How to Develop IoT Products with Security in Mind

Mitchell: All right, so it should be obvious to most, but managing through data brings several benefits to your organization. Software is a part of our day-to-day work and it’s enabled an exponential increase in collaboration and visibility. And increasing visibility to that critical data and the workflows allows teams to have a more shared understanding of the goals, the problems, and the action items that all go into making successful products. And rolling up this data allows the R&D and product development leaders to have more real-time metrics and make better business decisions. So when you start to manage through data, this increased visibility really encourages process improvement and also really professional growth. But at the same time, there’s a challenge that comes along with this. This increase in the amount of data that is available often is overwhelming given that the time that you have in a day is really a fixed resource.

We want to make this a little bit interactive. I’d be curious to hear from the audience, how do you use or maybe how do you not use data today in your decision-making with regards to developing new products? So Juliet, why don’t we pull up our first poll? What’s the primary method that your organization uses for major decisions in the development of the products and systems that you build? So we’ll give folks about 20 seconds to answer this.

Okay, and I see some interesting results coming in here so far. Well, I know it’s hard to pick just one primary as the reality is there are likely multiple of these here for really large decisions. I was wondering how many folks would pick the first and the last option. Intuition or just plain not sure. So let’s move forward here.

I have linked a very interesting Harvard Business Review article called Don’t Trust Your Gut. But if I were to summarize it, intuition is often glorified quite a bit in the business world and especially when people are wildly successful. So for example, if you make a big business or a personal bet that pays off, these are often celebrated. But in business, we hear a lot about failures too, and they’re often blamed on things like poor timing, and poor market fit, maybe a lot of it is poor execution, but one adjacent failure symptom is the lack of an alarm to trigger a change. So we often hear the old adage, that it’s better to fail fast than early so you have a chance to course correct.

RELATED: Reduce Project Risk in the Product Development Process

Mitchell: With the right data and the right alarm triggers, this is possible and for the customers that Jama Software works with, you have smart engineers, product managers, and business analysts, oftentimes biased and emotional. They can play a real role in making bad decisions that eventually lead to some sort of R&D or product development failure. And when your engineering leaders or even yourself don’t have the data on execution progress when your teams are not actually tracing requirements to the why or the need for customer validation. And when we don’t have insight into things like verification coverage, and all that missing data, you’re going to find that we encounter these problems way too late in the development cycle.

And we see this very often in the news, these failures that happen too late. Investigations happen, and recommendations are made, but how can we make data available to the right people so that we can prevent these issues from ever occurring in the first place? That’s what we’re going to talk more about today. And as the famed management guru, Peter Drucker said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” So being able to use data to measure allows your teams to see recurring patterns or anomalies and then individuals can then take care of these before they become a larger problem. Or better yet, how can we create preventative measures and automation to improve the process overall?

So that leads us to the key principle that we’re going to talk about today. Management by exception. So management by exception is a methodology that’s really meant to empower your team with the data around early warning indicators so that you can make smarter and faster decisions. It also allows leadership to focus their time on the exceptions and not micromanaging or intervening with the teams if the majority of the engineering data shows that the product development is going as expected, and I really want to reemphasize that because it’s not meant to micromanage. In fact, it should lessen that. A common hurdle that teams face when you introduce a change where you’re transforming the organization by managing through data is resistance.

To watch the entire webinar, visit:

Manage by Exception: Data-driven Practices to Improve Product Quality

CMMI Blog Part 2In part two of this two-part blog series, we continue the overview of our recent whitepaper, “How to Achieve Higher Levels of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) with Live Traceability™” Click HERE for part one of this blog and HERE to read the entire whitepaper.

How to Achieve Higher Levels of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI): Part 2

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.
  • Achieve CMMI Level 2 maturity for Requirements Management with no after-the-fact manual effort.
  • Eliminate 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.

Another core goal of CMMI Level 2 is to involve stakeholders in the requirement review and approval process (see table below). Let’s examine how companies achieve this goal either through meetings or online reviews.

CMMI Level 2 (Managed) Requirements Management

CMMI Chart

There are two ways to implement this practice: meetings or online reviews. Most engineering organizations still address stakeholder approvals through large and lengthy meetings that involve all relevant engineering disciplines scrolling through the requirements document for feedback. This is a highly inefficient approach that negatively impacts engineering productivity, morale and fails to capture relevant comments, feedback, revisions, and approvals from stakeholders given the format. More mature engineering organizations have brought the review and approval process online to improve the quality and timeliness of feedback, capture all version and approval histories online, and improve engineer productivity and morale. Let’s examine how companies have brought reviews online with Jama Connect® Review Center.

Review Center allows teams to send product requirements for review, define what’s required, invite relevant stakeholders to participate, collaborate, and iterate on resolving issues and approving agreed-upon requirements. By simplifying the revision and approval process, Review Center streamlines reviews and facilitates collaboration, giving stakeholders easy access to provide feedback where required. Jama Connect enables both informal and formal online review processes to support this CMMI best practice.

RELATED: Extending Live Traceability™ to Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) with Jama Connect®

Formal Reviews

The formal review process enabled by Review Center is shown below:

Formal Review Center Chart

Review Center enables teams to define a review, invite participants, gather and incorporate feedback from relevant project stakeholders, iterate, track a review’s overall progress, and monitor progress and capture approval signatures if required. Reviewers can respond to a conversation that’s taking place, as well as mark items as “Approved” or “Rejected” to complete the review. Inside Review Center, reviewers can also add electronic signatures to reviews in order to comply with regulatory standards. Jama Connect captures the date and time of completed reviews for auditing, tying each signature to the document under review.

Informal Reviews

Organizations that still want the quality review aspects of Jama Connect but are not bound by producing formal documents of requirements may take a more iterative approach. A “rolling” review is a review that changes the scope of which requirements are included in each revision. For example, each requirement has a “state” field – Draft, Ready for Review, or Approved. In the project side of Jama Connect, requirement owners will mark requirements they feel are “Ready for Review.” Moderators can also edit requirements directly in the review based on feedback from Approvers. Using a Jama Connect Advanced Filter, a review will be started by pulling in only requirements that are marked “Ready for Review.” Using this methodology, the review is much smaller in scope and can typically be completed faster. On a regular cadence, the moderator will review feedback, make changes to requirements as necessary, or potentially update the requirement status to “Approved” if the required stakeholders have approved the requirement. When publishing a new revision, Jama Connect will pull new requirements into the review and cycle out requirements that are “Approved” (these requirements no longer meet the filter criteria of state = “Ready for Review”). This allows teams to review requirements on a regular cadence — or sprint — and cycle requirements into the review when they are ready for feedback and out of the review when they are “Approved.” Almost any item of content you create in Jama Connect may be sent for a review, including requirements, design, test cases, test plans, and test cycle results.

RELATED: Tracing Your Way to Success: The Crucial Role of Traceability in Modern Product and Systems Development

“Review Center is facilitating communication. It has ensured a shared view of the world and agreement from all stakeholders. There are no surprises anymore. Jama Connect enables us to review documents and make decisions easily with everyone coming to a shared conclusion. If we compare it to reviewing the spreadsheets and Word documents versus doing a review in Jama Connect Review Center, it’s about an 80% reduction in time, for sure.” – Craig Grocott, Head of Systems Engineering

To achieve CMMI Level 2 requires defining a development process and adhering to it. Below is a core goal for CMMI Level 2 – evaluate adherence to requirements management process.

CMMI Level 2 (Managed) Requirements Management

CMMI Table

Achieving this goal requires the ability to decompose requirements across engineering disciplines and maintain traceability up and downstream as the project progresses with significant changes and rework. Without an underlying system architecture and common data model, this goal becomes unattainable for most organizations. Attempts to manage through Word and Excel, become unwieldy and unable to meet the requirements for Live Traceability, leading to defects, delays, cost-overruns, and recalls. Below, you can see how easy it is to manage traceability and view up and downstream multiple levels in a trace view of requirements in Jama Connect. Jama Connect’s Traceability Model defines the data model across best-of-breed tools to capture actual behavior for traceability and management by exception.

Trace Vie

To achieve CMMI Level 3 requires defining a development process and adhering to it. Below is a core goal for CMMI Level 3 – establishing a verification process and adhering to it.

CMMI Level 3 (Defined) Verification

CMMI Level 3

Companies are achieving this goal through Jama Connect by establishing a Traceability Model that requires test verification for requirements and managing by exception through dashboard reporting to ensure verification happens across all requirements. Below is a sample verification dashboard to achieve this goal with customer-specific info redacted. Here you can see how the Verification Leader manages their function through exception management. Specific widgets on the dashboard track requirements without tests, failed tests, tests without requirements linked to verify, bugs without tests, and risks without upstream or downstream traceability. The Traceability Model established in Jama Connect defines the expected behavior against which all activity can be compared to generate exceptions that can be managed through the dashboard. Without this system architecture and data model, managing by exception becomes extremely manual and productivity killing, if not impossible.

CMMI Level 4 requires organizations to have developed predictive scores and benchmarks that enable management to identify product development risk early and remediate at much lower cost than if not identified until late in the development process or after product release into the market. The table below shows the definition of this core, Level 4 goal.

CMMI Level 4 (Quantitatively Managed) Process Performance

CMMI Level 4

Leading companies are achieving this goal by applying Jama Software’s Traceability Score™ and benchmarking engineering projects internally and externally against peer companies. Jama Software is the first to measure traceability thanks to our clients’ participation in a benchmarking dataset of over 40,000 complex product development projects spanning aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics, industrial, medical device, semiconductor, space systems, and more. All of this is made possible by our core product, Jama Connect®, which enables the largest community of engineers using requirements management SaaS (Software as a Service) in the world.

To formally measure traceability, we have established the Traceability Score. The Traceability Score measures the level of actual process adherence to the expected traceability model and can be used to compare performance across projects, teams, divisions, and companies. This score can also determine impacts to schedule, budget, cycle times, risk, and quality.

RELATED: New Research Findings: The Impact of Live Traceability™ on the Digital Thread

Traceability Score definition

Traceability Score = # of established relationships among model elements as specified by the project’s traceability model.

The following diagram provides an illustration for the buildup of the calculation:

  1. At the individual requirement level, we can identify each expected relationship defined in a project’s traceability model (i.e., user needs defined by requirements, further refined by sub requirements, and test cases that should verify the requirement, etc.). We can then identify how many of these relationships have been established to get an individual requirement’s traceability.
  2. As we go one level higher and measure traceability within a particular element type (e.g., user needs, requirements, tests, etc.) we can sum up the number of expected and established relationships across the set of items, giving us traceability at the element type level.
  3. Finally, we can sum up the number of expected and established relationships across all element types, giving us the project’s total Traceability.
Chart showing three levels of traceability

Correlations & Hypothesis Test Results

As a process management tool, the value of a Traceability Score is to quantify actual adherence to the specified approach. To determine best practices from the data, statistical tests were run to understand how differing levels of project adherence to Live Traceability can impact desired outcomes. As we have shown, the Traceability Score measures actual adherence to the defined traceability model. The systems engineering discipline, the V model, quality engineering, and more – all rely on the intuition that this approach will yield better results. Anecdotal evidence abounds to support this intuition, but the dataset has been lacking to conduct statistical tests to test this hypothesis. Using our dataset, we were able to determine that Traceability Scores exhibit statistically significant correlations to the following outcomes and rejected the null hypothesis that these correlations were purely random.

1. Faster time to market

The first three tests focus on how Traceability Scores impact cycle time. Do higher Traceability Scores lead to faster test case execution and defect identification? This is a fundamental value asserted by systems engineering and the V-Model – that earlier detection of defects leads to fewer delays and much lower cost to correct. We measured the following times below and noted performance improvements in top versus bottom performers of 2.1X to 5.3X. Higher Traceability scores were found to lead to faster test case execution and defect detection having passed both of our statistical tests.

  1. Median Time to Execute Test Cases (2.6X faster)
  2. Median Time from Test Start to Defect Detection (5.3X faster)
  3. Median Time to Identify the Set of Defects (2.1X faster)

2. Higher quality

The last three tests focus on how Traceability Scores impact quality. Do higher Traceability Scores lead to a higher quality product? This is a fundamental value asserted by systems engineering and the V-Model – that a commitment to test case creation and execution leads to a higher degree of requirement verification and product quality. We measured the following aspects of testing and verification below and noted performance improvements in top versus bottom performers of 1.9X to 2.9X. Higher Traceability scores, having passed both of our statistical tests, led to more tests being completed and a higher percentage of passed tests.

  1. Percent of Requirements with Verification Coverage (1.9X higher)
  2. Percent of Requirements Verified (2.1X higher)
  3. Initial Test Case Failure Rate (2.4X lower)
  4. Final Test Case Failure Rate (2.9X lower)


The CMMI defines its best practices in terms of goals, practices, and artifacts. The CMMI does not address the underlying systems and data architecture required to enable these practices, deliver these artifacts, and achieve these goals. The systems architecture reality for most engineering organizations is highly fragmented with the necessary data to manage the engineering product and process (user needs, system level requirements, approvals, component level requirements, model designs, component requirement decompositions, interface definitions, test cases, test results, risk analysis, validations, traceability analysis, etc.) spread across hundreds of siloed tools, spreadsheets, emails, and chat tools with high degrees of uncertainty that any information reflects the latest version continually updated with all interdependencies.

As we have shown, it is extremely challenging if not impossible to move up the CMMI maturity model without addressing the underlying systems architecture and data model. Carnegie Mellon has chosen to use our software to train their students and leading companies have deployed Jama Connect in the ways noted above to achieve their CMMI objectives.

For those interested in exploring this topic further, we encourage you to reach out and have a conversation with one of our experts

This has been part two of a two-part blog series overviewing our recent whitepaper, “How to Achieve Higher Levels of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) with Live Traceability™” Click HERE to read the entire thing.