Breakthrough Insights

Where is North Again?

Today’s product development environment can feel like navigating a ship at sea without a compass. Rifling through maps and star charts in the form of piles of design documents, emails, market research, hand-written sticky notes, etc., you try to orient yourself and plan your course. How do you stay the course? The sheer volume, variability and seemingly endless flow of “Big Data” can be far too unwieldy for one person to navigate. Despite all of this valuable information, strategic decisions can feel rushed and overwhelming. Ultimately leaving you wishing on a star that you’re still maneuvering towards your intended destination.


So how does this metaphor relate to Jama? Recently I had the opportunity to listen in to a 5 part video series on the future of traceability, hosted by Robin Calhoun and Derwyn Harris. In it, Robin highlights that building a massive network of data is awesome, but the bigger it gets, the more difficult it becomes to navigate. To actually derive value from data, people making decisions along the journey of product development need a way to detect trends and patterns, identify pockets of unusual activity around requirements, and inter-relate data streams from disparate tools. Since everyone develops products a little differently, figuring out the points where data really needs to cross is crucial. Triggers to know when changes occur, why, and what the impact is to the destination is essential to make timely choices (let’s avoid the icebergs!). These tools, these insights, are a modern product development compass.

On many development teams today, once a product is designed and tested, the team goes back and connects the dots to create a trace matrix for regulatory submission. If you’re relying on trace matrices alone, you’re missing the big picture!

A Trace Matrix is prone to getting stale and can be error prone, especially if it’s being created in tools separate from your source of truth. It only shows one piece of info — are these existing items related. It’s not a great tool for showing when things should be related, or if anything is missing or wrong. If you don’t have a tool documenting your decisions and traceability as you go, your decisions are happening without critical context.

Why set out on your voyage of building great products with no map to guide you? Good traceability creates a map of your product, from idea to execution. Use this map to understand the past, and chart your path forward for all product decisions.

Traceable communication. Documented decisions and actions. All product and systems info organized and contextualized from concept to launch. With Jama, it’s your reality. Try Jama and see how we can help you solve your team’s systems engineering challenges.