Requirements Lifecycle

Off The Shelf and Custom Built Requirement Management Tools

Requirements lifecycle management can be a difficult endeavor but the ability to leverage a well crafted tool to meet those needs can take a significant amount of “the sting” out of the process. This is because the tool can be loaded with automatic processes that adhere to the organization’s goals and associated business rules. These automatic processes can vary wildly from one package to the next, in particular the difference may lie between off the shelf and custom built tools. 

If your organization lacks tightly defined business rules regarding the requirements lifecycle, an off the shelf solution may be able to provide that for you. Off the shelf packages that lack significant customization will require that your business adapt to the way it was designed to operate. That might sound a bit strong but I assure you that it is true. The thing is, it is likely that isn't a big deal if your organization is starting from scratch in regards to requirements management. That structure could be the strongest asset that package will bring to your organization. However, this does mean that you may have significant gaps between what the package offers and the long term needs for your organization.

If your organization has significant business rules or external agency regulations it must follow in regards to requirements management, a custom built solution may be the best avenue for you to pursue. A custom built solution doesn't necessarily mean that you will have a pocket full of magic when it is deployed. Based upon the associated complexity needed, a custom solution may have significant drawbacks to consider. This can include but not limited to cost, time to build, resources for testing and the possible need to build a training component to insure a beneficial organization change experience. 

There is even the possibility of a hybrid solution that blends off the shelf with customization. A solution may offer significant customization and how that capability is used may move it more towards a custom solution. It becomes a custom solution with a great head start benefit from a base originating from an off the shelf frame. This may end up having the benefits of both options and/or the disadvantages of both. 

The funny thing here is that a seasoned business analyst can certainly help in this area and I'm talking about outside of the subject matter expert domain. A business analyst will have tools, techniques and experience in evaluating these options. They can present the findings of a detailed analysis that looks at the big picture and delivers information to help decision makers make an informed decision.

© 2016 Dwayne Wright