Jama Connect® vs. IBM® DOORS®: Reuse and Variant Management: A User Experience Roundtable Chat

February 1, 2023 Mario Maldari

reuse and variant management

Jama Connect® vs. IBM®DOORS®: Reuse and Variant Management: 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, Jama Connect® vs. IBM® DOORS®: A User Experience Roundtable Chat, we’ll present several information-packed video blogs covering the challenges that teams face in their project management process.

In Episode 8 of our Roundtable Chat series, Mario MaldariDirector of Solutions Architecture at Jama Software® – and Gary HayesSenior Solutions Architect at Jama Software® – discuss the importance of reuse and variant management for product teams.

To watch other episodes in this series, click HERE.

Watch the full video and find the video transcript below to learn more!


Mario Maldari: Hello everyone. Welcome to episode eight in our vlog series. Hope you’ve enjoying the series so far. Today, we’ll be discussing the important topic of requirements reuse, and I’m joined by my friend and colleague Gary Hayes today. Gary, would you like to introduce yourself?

Gary Hayes: Sure thing, Mario. Thank you. My name’s Gary Hayes. I am part of Mario’s team. I’ve been working with systems and software engineering teams for the last 25 plus years, just recently have joined Jama. Prior to that, I spent 18 years working with Rational Software and IBM, supporting their systems and software engineering tools suite. Got a lot of experience in the early days with Requisite Pro as part of Rational Software before being acquired by IBM and then, morphing into the Jazz-based tools and Requirements Composer, acquiring Telelogic and DOORS, and then, DOORS Next Generation. So, been around tools for a long time.

Mario Maldari: 
Thanks Gary. You’re like me. We’ve been in Requirement Space for many years, so thanks for that, Gary. As both of us know, being in the requirement space for a while, requirements reuse is an extremely important concept. Whether you’re creating a common library set of requirements or you’re doing variant development, this is something that we experienced through many years of working with requirements tools. Very important concept, and curious as your perception working with other requirements tools regarding reuse and in particular, maybe the DOORS family of products. How has that been for you?

Gary Hayes: Yeah, it’s been an interesting journey. In the early days of Requisite Pro and actually, my first exposure to requirements tools were with Technology Builders and Calibre. Calibre version 1 as a matter of fact. Back in those days, they were client server tools that really didn’t have any kind of reuse features except copy and paste. Clone and own, if you will. And DOORS, my first exposure to DOORS was that same way. You could create linkages, you could copy modules and reuse those and different projects as they got spun up, but the real reuse didn’t come into play until you got to more modernly architected tools like DOORS Next Generation. DOORS Next Generation has a variety of ways in which they could reuse components or reuse different artifacts with the environment. For one, you could start off a project, and clone an existing project, and use everything that you had before.

But what they really started to do was use the change sets, which was really change sets with code development where you could branch and merge. You really started seeing a lot more sophisticated ways to do reuse within a project. It made it really interesting and it is fairly easy to understand for people using requirements. You really wanted to have a use case that matched up with one, what you needed in an environment. And then also, you wanted to match up with the maturity of your organization. You didn’t want to overwhelm them with a process that they couldn’t handle. DOORS Next Generation took that to the new level by Introducing Global Configuration Management or GCM for short. Very complex way to do business. And it was really a way to include not just requirements for reuse, but all of the artifacts across the software and systems engineering lifecycle.

Really interesting, sounds really great, but like I said, very complex, and once you turned it on to use in your environment, you couldn’t turn it off, so it did not lend itself to a lot of flexibility. It was flexible from the point of view that yeah, I can make components in different disciplines and mix and match them as I chose to, but you really had to have a mature organization and a mature administration group to keep it under control, and make sure everything stayed on track.

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Mario Maldari: Yeah, the complexity, I think it’s a challenge for adoption. And I think targeting some of the very large, big customers and modeling their use case, I think that becomes very difficult for smaller customers when they try to use some simple use cases and take them forward. So, I think that that complexity is a challenge. Well, let me show you something. I want to talk a little bit about how reuse is done in Jama, and I’d like to show it to you. Some of the common reuse scenarios that I’ve seen here at Jama, but as well as an industry is developing common libraries of requirements where you’re wanting to develop once and be able to reuse these requirements across the board in different projects, even within the same project. Parallel development. Very common to reuse requirements for your parallel development as well as variant reuse, being able to use them across your variants. These are very common scenarios that we see in industry today.

Jama has a very simple implementation for reuse, but it’s quite powerful. Anything in Jama can be reused, whether it’s a set of requirements or an individual requirement. And to do so, you simply will click on the requirement, and you can say reuse item. And here, you can share this requirement. Within the same project, you can reuse it, or you can reuse it in a different project. And you have a few different options here as well. You can add a relationship from the original item, so you have a link back to it. You can include all tags, attachments, and links. You also have the ability to include the relationships from the source item, include related items as well in minor relationships. A lot of different options when you go to reuse the requirement. And once it’s reused, you can take a look at the requirement itself, and see where it’s been reused. You can see in this case, the current item I have here I’m looking at, but then this requirement’s also shared across and reused in two different projects.

And you’ll see it’s out of sync. That means the requirement’s been evolving and changing in these different projects, which is what you’d expect in this case. Now, if I wanted to get a little bit more information and see okay, well, how are those requirements evolving and changing? I can take a look at the synced items here across the whole project. And if I want to take a look at this particular requirement and see how it’s been evolving and changing, I can take a look at it and I say, “It’s out of sync.” And I can say, “Well, let’s compare.” And here, I can get a side by side comparison of how the requirements he has evolved in this project. You can see the source project, I have the name with a global impact. And in the project that I’ve reused it in, I can see easily that this requirement has changed to a North America scope only. A really nice side-by-side comparison in terms of how the requirements are evolving.

Even more to that, there’s a nice UI here where if I decide that the requirement, that’s evolving, I want to override it with the source, I can do that easily. Or perhaps this requirement that’s evolving should be the new standard. I can overwrite the original with the evolved requirement. A lot of options in terms of managing your reused requirements. But I think the key for me, from my perspective with the Jama implementation, it’s very simple, very easy to use. You can build from a very simple case to a very complex case as you go incrementally, so you’re not overwhelmed instantly with the reuse scenario itself. A nice supporting UI to deal with reuse within Jama. Let me just stop there, Gary, and see if you had any perceptions. You’re relatively new to Jama, so just curious to your thoughts.

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Gary Hayes: Yeah, what I really like about this is that it’s easy to enable. It’s really kind of straightforward. It has a variety of use cases that it supports. Got some basic features, but it also supports some advanced features, so you can turn on as much or as little as you need to be effective. Also, the people that are part of the project, the common users, they get that visual cue. I noticed that in the interface, anything that was in a reuse state had the little dot next to it. If I was curious about the reused state of it, I could drill down on that and do some comparisons myself to see how it evolved over time. I think that one, it’s important that it’s easy to use and people aren’t afraid of using it. They can investigate it and it’s very simple. Simple, yet powerful in my estimation.

Mario Maldari: Yeah, I think that’s a good way of saying it. And of course, you and I have been in requirements for 20 years plus, we know that reuse is such an important concept, but it’s really about striking the balance between features and functionality and ease of use. It’s something that every requirement tool needs to have and needs to support. But the question is how easy is it to adopt? And how easy is it to use? You want to find yourself being productive and not wasting a lot of time and energy out of the box.

Gary Hayes: Exactly. Yep, absolutely.

Mario Maldari: Well, Gary, I want to thank you very much for your time today, and want to thank everyone watching this vlog series, and look forward to seeing you on the next one.

Gary Hayes: Thank you.

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Thank you for watching our Episode 8, Jama Connect vs. IBM DOORS: Reuse and Variant Management. 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 Requirements-Driven Testing and Total Cost of Ownership.

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