Why Word and Excel Aren’t Enough for Managing Complex Requirements

Jama Software

Product development and delivery is more complex today than ever before. Modern products are multifaceted and multidisciplinary, with hardware, software, and various engineering approaches coming together in the name of superior customer experience. Many industries — medical device, automotive, and aerospace and defense, for instance — also require that complex product developers adhere to rigorous safety standards and regulations. Companies have to work effectively and efficiently if they’re going to keep their competitive advantage.

Despite this, many teams are still using Word and Excel to manage requirements for these very complex products. This means they’re missing real-time collaboration and insights, end-to-end traceability, and integration with product testing, to say the least.

Learn why designing a reliable test strategy requires broad, strategic thinking by downloading our paper, “Verify, Validate, Trace & Test”

A recent report from Engineering.com found that while 90% of design and engineering teams agreed that products had become more complex in the last five years, a mere 15% relied on a dedicated requirements management solution. The rest still rely on a purely documents-based approach, even though using these tools to exclusively design, manage, and execute requirements presents an array of problems, including version-control issues, poor communication, inefficient collaboration, and lack of coordination.

The study found that the implications of poor requirements management were not to be taken lightly. Without a dedicated solution, teams were stuck with ineffective requirements management and were more likely to face product outcome failures (83% of respondents) and reprimands by regulatory agencies (62% of respondents).

On the other hand, the report found that not only did organizations using a dedicated requirements management platform in regulated industries receive fewer warnings, recalls, fines, or reprimands than those that didn’t, nearly half reported experiencing none of these issues at all.

Download our whitepaper to learn about the five biggest challenges of requirements management and how to conquer them.

Word documents that are hundreds of pages long, Excel spreadsheets packed with thousands of lines — sharing these ever-evolving files among multiple stakeholders and disparate teams throughout the development and testing process is cumbersome, frustrating, and time-consuming — not to mention risky. And with the market demanding flawless products delivered at record speeds, innovators can no longer afford that kind of inefficiency.

Using a dedicated requirements management solution, however, allows teams to stop wasting time and start innovating. For example, our customer, MediSync, reports that investing in Jama Connect has saved 80% of the time that would have otherwise been spent on meetings, sorting through versioned Word documents and emails, and consolidating feedback in review cycles.

To learn more about the growing number of organizations adopting product development solutions to manage the complexity of connect systems, download our eBook, Your Guide to Selecting the Right Product Development Platform.

Word and Excel undoubtedly serve a purpose. For early-phase documentation and for coordinating small, simple projects, they remain effective tools. But as product development grows more complex, teams need solutions that provide purposeful collaboration; connect globally-distributed team members; and accurately capture and facilitate feedback, decision making, and context for requirements under review.

To learn more about the limitations of a document-based approach and how to get the most out of your requirements management tool, download our eBook.

To learn more about requirements management, we’ve compiled a handy list of additional resources for you!


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