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Requirements Management, Office Still Dominates

by Thomas Murphy  |  December 5, 2013  |  3 Comments

In a quick poll we ran at my ADLM session at #gartneraadi I asked a simple question: what is your company’s primary requirements management tool. I only provided two options: MS Office or An RM Tool. The result: 55% answered that Office was the tool in use. Does your organization also rely on Office? If so why? What holds back the adoption of directed RM tools? I have several thoughts about this but would love to hear from you.

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Category: adlm  requirements  

Tags: gartneraadi  

Thomas E. Murphy
Research Director
15 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Thomas Murphy is a research director with Gartner, where he is part of the Application Strategies and Governance group. Mr. Murphy has more than 33 years of experience in IT as a developer, product manager, technical editor and industry analyst. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Requirements Management, Office Still Dominates


  1. Cynthia Lewis says:

    I can answer from a South African market perspective… the costs with the dollar to rand exchange are prohibitive here. However I also think there is still a lack of maturity in organisations in the RM domain. I have just worked at a client who has Enterprise Architect but there application of it is very poor (and EA is not strong on requirements management anyway).

  2. Bob Savelson says:

    We have found that the vast majority of business / systems analysts use Office tools today to define and manage requirements. Most use Microsoft Office applications as their primary requirements tool, while others supplement the use of a RM tool with Office applications; regardless of the methodology they follow.
    Why, because it is simple and familiar.
    What’s missing in a purely document centric approach is information fragmentation, redundancy, lack of structure and reuse.
    Connecting Office to a database, one with built in workflows and alerts, addresses these shortcomings and provides an easy to use, easy to adopt requirements suite, complete with visualization (Visio & PowerPoint), reporting and analytics.
    SmartOffice4TFS by eDev Tech is such a suite. It is a collection of bi-directional plugins to Word, Visio, Excel and Outlook. It connects to Microsoft’s industry leading Team Foundation Server and provides end to end traceability, improved quality and productivity.
    No longer do analysts need to take time off of their busy schedules to learn a RM new tool; they can use Office and stay connected.

  3. We have a simple solution to this issue. We use an internally developed tool to generate the software at lightning speed based upon reported requirements, then let users play with it, re-implement based upon feedback, and keep iterating until users are happy.

    When the requirements are accepted by the users, the software is also de facto complete. Because the requirements are based upon both pre-calculated business needs and iterative user feedback, the level of user satisfaction with the completed product is very high.

    Each iteration takes only minutes to hours, typically, and an entire enterprise class application can be created from start to finish in a matter of days to weeks, complete with formal requirements specifications, software and automated test cases.



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