Best Practices

The No. 3 Most Important Key to Delivering High-Value Products

About this series: If you or your team are researching modern product development and management tools and services, our weekly Five Keys blog series outlines how Jama’s products and services can help you put best practices in place.

Today’s post is the third of five points to consider when designing and building complex products such as embedded systems, integrated systems and connected devices. If you’re just now tuning in, catch up with a quick read of the first and second posts.

Key #3: Ensure what gets built is what was planned.

Do your product development teams have to meet high-integrity or safety-critical industry standards? Are the processes and tools you use to ensure compliance for product components as streamlined as you want? Do you need to demonstrate that you’ve tested everything? When downstream developments affect upstream requirements, can you provide visibility to everyone concerned?

If they are to actually help you manage product development processes, product management software tools need to make specifications, the rationale for them, and the consequences of them, crystal clear.

How does Jama accomplish this?

  • You have clear visibility into defined and planned work that did (and did not) get executed.
  • You can trace coverage and dependencies.
  • You can expose and illuminate change.
  • Developers and engineers receive the business context they need to understand and support downstream decisions and tradeoffs.

Many of our customers operate in regulated industries and must demonstrate compliance with specific governmental, environmental, security or privacy regulations. Jama provides customers with trace matrices, to verify that deliverables meet the terms of a contract. This kind of traceability analysis supports a number of different processes critical to complex systems delivery:

  • Impact analysis examines incoming links and dependencies to answer the question “What if this variable were to change?”—an essential ingredient for change management and risk analysis.
  • Coverage analysis and missing links alerts support engineering and management reporting procedures, and verifying statements have links (requirements have test cases, epics have stories, systems have components, components have sub-components) in answer to the question: “Have I covered everything?.”

Coverage is incredibly valuable in real-time, not just in hindsight. Coverage analysis helps teams find gaps and understand positive and negative progress. Many of these “events” require a follow-up action to either close the gaps or determine contingencies and next steps. Jama provides the forum for structured collaboration and decision-making.

And if regulation and compliance is irrelevant in your case? Staying connected to the core business value your company envisioned when funding a new product is absolutely relevant. As plans get broken down and passed from team to team, innumerable changes are introduced. Decisions can be made with all the best intentions and information available at a given moment, and yet the end result ultimately misses the mark. Without the original context for why a given feature or dependency is critical, a series of tiny development decisions add up to features getting dropped or stretched in ways that break the original business value and intent.

Jama helps your entire product delivery team stay connected to the why. Jama creates a bilateral “conversation” between stakeholder teams, so tradeoff decisions don’t happen in a vacuum. Business leaders have full visibility into the progress and tradeoffs under consideration in development, and definers and developers have full visibility into the expectations of the business.

Key #3 in a nutshell: Jama helps you ensure that what gets specified is what gets built, and that your entire team stays informed and well-positioned to juggle the inevitable compromises and accommodations along the way. Jama gives your team and company the confidence that you are ready to release without any critical item overlooked, misplaced or lost.

To learn more about how Jama’s product development and management tools and services can help you meet your team’s goals, join us next Thursday for the continuation of this series with Key #4.