Requirements Management

  • 13. March 2020

Requirements management is one of the 9 main management disciplines that make development processes efficient and secure. The requirements are at the very beginning of the process, which means that the more carefully the requirements are recorded and formulated, the smoother and error-free the process will be.


Requirements are classified from different points of view: customer and system requirements differ in terms of where they come from (namely from the customer or from in-house departments such as product management); customer requirements are often defined in the requirements spec, system requirements, however, in the functional spec. Depending on which (sub) product you describe, one also speaks of software, hardware or system requirements.

Polarion® is probably the most complete lifecycle management tool on the market, yet it has its roots in requirements management. The requirement documents in Polarion are very similar to the look and feel of Word files, with the crucial difference that these so-called LiveDocs contain not only “normal” text, but also embedded data objects: the work items of the Requirement type. In accordance with the Polarion® philosophy, the requirements documents and the requirements contained therein offer the possibility (a) to work together – keyword: collaboration – (b) to link them with other documents or work items – traceability – and (c) to use them in others projects or documents – reuse.

The three principles of collaboration, traceability and reuse run as a common thread through all management disciplines in Polarion®. Especially tracing is important for the requirements management discipline, since 100% traceability is the prerequisite for passing audits. This is particularly important if regulatory audits – examples include ISO 26262 in the automotive, FDA Class III standards in medical or FAA DO-178 compliance in the aerospace environment – are the prerequisites to be allowed to deliver into a market.

Polarion® achieves 100% traceability by logging all (!) modifications, i.e. who did what, when and why. “All modifications” means that a history is not only stored for documents, but also for work items such as requirements, tests and tasks; but also for changes to the project configuration and the process (i.e. the workflows).

It is practically never the case that a development team begins to build up a developer toolchain out of the blue. At least a more or less powerful IDE / development environment with source code management is available for working on program codes. As a rule, a bug tracker is also used, often builds and tests are automated and project progress is planned. This shows that developers often have to deal with a variety of tools, which all too often affects their productivity.

Polarion® integrates or replaces many existing tools in the developer toolchain. Especially in requirements management, it often takes up the space that Excel and / or Word previously held. By linking the requirements with developer tasks, tests and change requests, Polarion® also orchestrates the entire process and ensures that developers have to use fewer tools and thus have more time for productive work.

The “closest relative” of requirements management is quality or test management. After all, it makes sense to link each written requirement with a test that proves that it is fulfilled or not (yet). Change management comes into play on an abstraction level above requirements management: subsequent changes to a product to be developed mean that requirements have to be adapted, and it is ensured that the integrity of the overall system is not impaired. Similarly, requirements or work items derived from them are used in Polarion® to implement other management disciplines such as variant management, resource management and release planning without system boundaries and media breaks.

A great advantage of Polarion® is that it is the lifecycle management tool with the shortest rollout duration on the market. The introduction of Polarion® as a requirements management tool typically requires less than 20 man-days of consulting support, often even less than 10 days. In addition to the rollout duration, the time to reach the break-even point after the Polarion® introduction is very short in comparison to the competition: As a rule, the costs for Polarion® amortize within 12 months. To get started with Polarion®, you only need to apply for a free trial license. This lets you either test the software in an immediately available cloud installation, or install it on your own computer after the download and put it through its paces.

Many tech companies had requirements management on their agenda for 2020 – the corona crisis caused a delay in many cases, but not the end of this important strategic issue. Megatrends such as digitization or Industry 4.0 no longer allow development departments to assert themselves in the market without lifecycle management tools.

TRIAS sees lifecycle management – and requirements management as its sub-discipline – as a central topic that decides whether a small to mid-sized enterprise (SME) can survive and prosper in a demanding global tech market with high-quality products and short development cycles.

TRIAS helps such SMEs in word and deed, from non-binding advice and analysis of the right system configuration to support and training for Polarion®.