Jama Connect® vs. DOORS®: Filters, Search, and Analysis: A User Experience Roundtable Chat
Increasing industry challenges and complexities are pushing innovative organizations to consider modernizing the tool(s) they use for requirements management (RM). In this blog series, A User Experience Roundtable Chat About Jama Connect® vs. DOORS®, we’ll present several information-packed video blogs covering the challenges that teams face in their project management process.
In Episode 3 of our Roundtable Chat series, Richard Watson – Practice Director at Jama Software® – and Cary Bryczek – Director of Solutions Architecture, Jama Software® – walk us through filtering, searching, and analyzing content in Jama Connect® vs. DOORS®
To watch other episodes in this series, click HERE.
Watch the full video and find the video transcript below to learn more!
Richard Watson: Welcome to part three of our vlog series. I hope you’re enjoying the vlog so far. My name is Richard Watson and I’ll be representing DOORS today. In terms of experience, I’ve been using DOORS for just over 20 years and all of those was as the DOORS and DOORS Next product manager. I’m joined today by Cary.
Cary Bryczek: Hi everybody. I’m Cary. I haven’t had the pleasure of using DOORS for as many years as Richard. I’ve been blessed by not having to use it, but I have used Jama for a very long time and I’m the Director of Solutions Architecture here at Jama, and I’ve been in the requirements world for more than 25 years.
Richard Watson: Thank you. So in this vlog we’re going to be talking about requirements analysis, that’s filtering, searching, dashboards, etc.
Analysis is probably one of the most important reasons that we actually pick a requirements tool in the first place. The risk of life or the risk of lots of money gets organizations imposing compliance needs or their industry will give them regulations that they simply have to meet. And document-based systems just don’t give the relevant granularity to enable things like live traceability. So we need a tool.
Over time, the way we’ve engineered complex systems has changed and we find a much wider community of stakeholders are interested in direct access to the requirements. They want to actually go into the tool. And so usability of that tool becomes key. We also continue to get a wide dynamic set of users and new users, certainly younger users expect the tool to almost be like their social media apps that they’re using.
Cary Bryczek: Yeah, right but aren’t developing with the social media tools that the younger folks are used to. We’re doing real engineering.
Richard Watson: So how to persuade them to use an engineering tool?
Today’s tool engineers are being overwhelmed by data. Data can have, of course, huge value, but if you can’t find the data, it can sometimes even hinder your process, let alone give you any value.
Cary Bryczek: To do that analysis, we need to know how the information is stored, maybe even over multiple systems and how it’s all related to each other. We need to have different views of all of that trace data to ensure that really everything is being done as expected.
FILTERS AND SEARCH
Richard Watson: So, okay, let’s start digging into the details. If we start with filters and search. Looking at DOORS, DOORS obviously has a world that’s wrapped around individual modules, and so trying to filter and search information across modules is next to impossible.
Initially, when we started out using DOORS years ago, that was okay. Today it’s not. Today we’re finding organizations have got thousands of DOORS modules and millions of requirements in those are total modules. It’s really difficult to find the data that you need. When you’re in a module, of course, DOORS has got quite sophisticated, complex filter definitions, but even they’re frustrating because if you want to modify them for some reason, perhaps you need to change them or maybe they’re even wrong, you have to start from scratch and normally, you need help to do that.
If we jump the fence DOORS Next, DOORS Next is DOORS next generation. It should be the next generation of DOORS, but it’s hampered by its history. DOORS Next actually was developed on top of an original tool requirements composer. And in order to introduce the DOORS, facilities, modules were added. And as a secondary fun function, modules actually confuse the situation. For example, when you add a requirement to a DOORS Next module, it also gets added to what’s called a base folder. And so when you’re searching for information, you need to know whether you’re looking for the requirement in a module or whether inadvertently you find that requirement in the folder. Sometimes you can even count these requirements twice because they’re in two separate places.
Cary Bryczek: Richard, that sounds complicated even listening to you describe it. Jama is a modern tool and we took a completely new approach with a web-based UI that’s designed for anybody to get up and running. And filters and searches is one of the prime areas that make it really super simple and easy to use for analysis.
Let me just show you what I mean. When we created Jama, we wanted it to be easy to use right away, and finding information should be just intuitive as possible. You don’t have to write any kind of DXL. I can see filters that I already have. I can see just things that I’ve bookmarked creating and searching. Again, I don’t have to write any DXL. It should just show me the particular type of requirements. I can even find things across. What are the ones that don’t have any downstream relationships.
Richard Watson: Yeah. This is so much different to DOORS, and also it’s an improvement over DOORS Next, Cary, because you can do filters on the information at the other side of the relationships and that’s quite difficult to do in DOORS Next and you just can’t do that in DOORS at all.
Cary Bryczek: Yeah. Filters are built into almost any view that you’re on. So if I’m right in a view that I’m looking at requirements, I’m able to filter it right there, filtered by keyword, filtered by the types of things that are in the view, even through traceability.
Richard Watson: Yeah. That’s really interesting, Cary. I particularly liked the way you were doing filters over relationships. I mean you consider it trying to do a filter in DOORS Next, which is impossible saying show me requirements related to defects that have been raised against failed test cases. You just can’t do that type of filtering inside of DOORS Next. So it’s pretty cool in Jama.
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Richard Watson: Also, you’re showing the dashboard functionality. Dashboards in DOORS just don’t exist. So it’s got a welcome screen so you can sometimes see information on that welcome screen, but that was introduced so late in the process or the release schedule that not many organizations use it.
DOORS Next, of course, has dashboards, but again that’s hampered by history. DOORS Next dashboards are very much focused on requirements in folders. So for our DOORS user moving into DOORS Next, you’ll find that the maturity of dashboards around module information is pretty limited.
Cary Bryczek: With Jama, our dashboard technology is built right into the tool. You don’t need any extra add-on servers to make it work. And it’s something that is used as a launchpad for different stakeholders to get to the information. Let me show you what I mean.
We have dashboards that are built right in. The reporting engine is native inside of Jama itself, and then so you can take those filters that we were creating earlier and turn them into widgets, into pie charts, into bar charts, then you can download the information. You can download a picture of the things. You can see which requirements don’t have tests, what are the suspect ones, which are the recently viewed things, what’s the progress, which are the things that I’ve touched in the past few days. So if I need to pick up where I left off, launch that directly from a dashboard review.
Richard Watson: Yeah, that’s cool. I like the traceability map there as well. That’s really good. So let’s move on and talk about analysis of requirements. Analysis of requirements is where the fund is and we can start with DOORS.
DOORS has some analysis for capabilities, but mostly organizations are expected to develop DXL solutions. DXL it’s a cool thing to fill in gaps. I remember going around many of the software conferences and people will actually proudly come to me and say, “Hey, Richard. Our organization’s got hundreds of thousands of lines of DXL scripts,” sometimes over a million lines of DXL scripts.
Think about what we’re saying. A million lines of customization code where the organization’s core business is not developing requirements tools. That DXL hampers the performance of DOORS. Sometimes you lose sight of what’s making DOORS go slowly. Is it DOORS itself or is it a customization? And also, as time moved on, the number of people that have got skills in developing DXL is diminishing greatly. And so if you try to, you are exposing your organization to risk because you can’t maintain or extend your current environment.
Jumping the fence to DOORS Next, there’s a different problem entirely. DOORS Next, of course, doesn’t support front end customizations. It doesn’t support DXL. When you look at DOORS Next, actually you start to look at traceability. We want a system that can see an overall view of live traceability between data so that you can analyze that information. And the only way you can do that in DOORS Next is either with an additional tool, so Jazz reporting system, or you start looking at OSLC techniques. OSLC is okay if you’re looking at your Jazz-based products only. It’s got some very big constraints if you’re starting to get tools from different vendors. So you get tied into a single vendor solution simply because of the lack of maturity of OSLC implementations.
Cary Bryczek: Gosh, Richard. Again, that sounds really complicated. And one of the great things that Jama software did was build all of that workflow capability, all of the bits and pieces that you’d have to do with DXL into the software. So people just come in to Jama Connect and just start using it. And the live traceability aspect is probably my favorite aspect about the tool and it’s super powerful. Let me show you what I mean. One of the things that’s great is that live traceability enables pretty much anyone to find anything at the current moment across boundaries. And so, one of the ways that we start live traceability is through that relationship rule diagram. I can see the schema for what’s traced, and this information might be coming in live from other tools in the ecosystem.
We give you an easy way to organize. So if I’m starting to analyze a system just following this explore tree, and seeing how the information is organized by system and subsystem for this aircraft. Now once inside, just navigating to find that information is super simple. I even have live traceability here in the tools itself, so in the requirements, so I can see this particular function requirement, it traces to a system requirement.
Traceability is in almost every view that we look at. So if I’m in this one detail view of a requirement, I know it’s got upstream and downstream traces. If I’m in the live tracing view, my live tracing view, this is a multi-level view of requirements. So I can see if I’m following these requirements on down to the validation level or the system level. I can walk that traceability all the way down, multiple levels of requirements to look at test runs, to look at any defects along the way. It’s really powerful. And then I can start and filter right where I need to be. So if I want to have a filtered start from a filter view, which are the ones that are causing suspect?
Now, this shortens the amount of information that I have on the screen. It really makes the analysis much faster to do than having to work with DXL scripts or exporting stuff to spreadsheets and looking at the information.
Richard Watson: Thanks very much, Cary. That insight to Jama Connect is just reminding me of my last 18 months in Jama. I’ve really enjoyed picking up the Jama Connect product, really excited by it.
That brings us to the end of this particular vlog. I hope you all enjoyed it, and please feel free to take some time to look at some of the other vlogs in this series. Thanks very much, Cary.
Cary Bryczek: Thanks, Richard.
Thank you for watching our Episode 3, Jama Connect vs. DOORS: Filters, Search, and Analysis. To watch other episodes in this series, click HERE.
To learn more about available features in Jama Connect, visit: Empower Your Team and Improve Your Requirements Management Process
We hope you’ll join us for future Jama Connect Jama Connect vs. DOORS topics, including: Review and Collaboration; Document Generation; Migration & Data Mapping; Industry Templates; Reuse and Variant Management; Requirements-Driven Testing; Total Cost of Ownership; and Why Did We Move to Jama Connect? A Customer’s Story.