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Requirements Management tools for software projects

August 06, 2020
list of requirements management tools

Managing the requirements of a project can't be properly done without the right tools. Let's go over some classic tools and see what makes them so great!

Gathering requirements is only part of the battle – once you have them, you gotta manage them. The requirements for a project can hold a lot of information, from the client’s business model to context about the sector and specific requirements for the solution. But how can anyone keep track of so much information?

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By having the right tools. Your requirements can be stored in a safe place that helps you and your team make the most of what you have, both in terms of information, time and effort invested. Trust us when we say that having the right tool can be the literal difference between the success and failure of any project.

But what does a requirements management tool even do? Is there more than one type of tool for managing your project’s requirements? What are some basic and crucial things you need from these tools? Let’s take a closer look at some handy tools that can help your entire team deliver better solutions.

What to look for in any requirement management tool

Flexibility

Gathering and managing requirements is all about establishing the scope and dimension of your product. While there are many basic checkboxes that need ticking, there is still a lot of margin for design teams to approach requirements management in their own way. Many design teams swear by the Agile way of managing requirements, while others opt for a more structured process.

And so, which one is the right way? Is there one way that can suit all design projects out there? In reality, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to managing requirements. Most teams have their own way of dealing with requirements and that is ok.

importance of having a flexible tool for managing requiremnets

What that does mean is that you want to find a tool that offers you some structure but retains its flexibility. Flexibility is important so that you have the freedom to manage requirements in your own way, without having to come up with workarounds in order to get things done. Another way in which flexibility is important, is that you may find that the way you did things in the beginning doesn’t really work or could be massively improved.

Logically, you don’t really want to change your process or way to manage requirements in the middle of the project. But at the end of the day, you want to have that option in case the change is necessary.

Security and traceability

Your requirements will include all sorts of crucial information on the client, the users and the general business of it all. It’s the kind of sensitive information that needs to be secure at all times, especially with the increase of cybercriminal activity.

Aside from the danger of getting that data stolen, there’s the danger of having your own people mess it up due to simple human error. We recommend that you consider having permissions and different levels of authority, so that you limit what each part of the team can do with the requirements. This is meant to reduce the chances of big mistakes, such as crucial requirements being deleted.

the role security and traceability in managing requirements

On a similar note, you want to be able to trace every move. Not necessarily to see who made what mistake, but because there is a considerable amount of confusion that comes with gathering and managing requirements. It’s never a linear process. You want to have the power to look into the past and trace your steps, giving your team the ability to identify past mistakes and revisit past decisions that can be improved.

Freedom to create a hierarchy

Hierarchy is very important in managing requirements. The relationship between requirements is crucial for the design team, just like the urgency and prioritization of requirements. You want to find yourself a requirements management tool that lets you create the necessary hierarchy between requirements, so that the relationship between them is clear to the team.

choose a requirements tool that gives you freedom to create hierarchy

Another important thing to consider is that each requirement might need to be broken down into smaller, sub-tasks that compose the larger requirement. Your requirement management tool needs to give you the ability to iterate on the requirements, and to establish other tasks that are linked to the bigger one.

In the long run, this will make it much easier to understand what each requirement actually means and needs, as well as keeping track of each smaller task involved in the design process.

Collaboration-enhancing features

Last, but certainly not least. Collaboration is key in managing requirements. This is due to the fact that your entire team will need to contribute to their management, from developers to business analysts. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that your requirements management tool not only allows your people to work on their respective sub-task requirements, but to work collectively on the bigger picture.

focus on boosting collaboration in managing requirements

This means that you want a tool that allows for simultaneous work, preferably with comments or chats available for quick communication. Look for tools that make it easy for you to share both the requirements and the tangible deliverables easily – both with your own team and with external stakeholders.

Best requirements management tools

comparative table for several requirements management tools

1. Justinmind

Justinmind is a prototyping tool that has a powerful requirements management aspect. Justinmind Enterprise package is all about linking requirements management and prototyping, giving you a lot of power to both gather, manage and visualize your requirements. The software opens the door to having actual written requirements linked to specific UI components within the prototype. Visualizing requirements, in the literal sense.

justinmind as good prototyping and requirements management tool

Having a professional prototyping tool is a basic need for most UX projects out there, but becomes particularly important when it comes to dealing with requirements. It’s about making prototypes quickly, comparing them and having everyone contribute at the same time if need be. Enjoy meticulous traceability of every decision made, as well as the ability to label and tag your requirements – making for easy categorization of requirements.

For the first time ever, a prototyping tool brings you the necessary means to keep your requirements and tangible designs in the same place! Perfectly suitable for any type of design project.

Check out more details about the requirements module on our Help Center. You’ll get a better idea of the (many) possibilities!

2. Modern Requirements4DevOps

Modern Requirements4DevOps has grown to be quite popular as a requirements management tool. Championed by Microsoft, this software has made a name for itself because of its flexibility and traceability. When it comes to flexibility, Modern Requirements prides itself in having software that can adapt to any process of design, from Agile to Waterfall.

modern requirements management tool

As to traceability, the software shines bright when it comes to making sure we know who did what and when. Modern Requirements makes it easy to track changes by generating trace analysis reports, as well as streamlining approvals.

Modern Requirements4DevOps is fully embedded with tools like Azure DevOps, TFS, and VSTS. This makes it the perfect tool for requirements management that is more engineering or developer-oriented. It’s a web-based tool, which means there is no app or software to download on your device.

3. Doors (IBM)

This is another staple in the requirements management tool game. It ticks all the right boxes in allowing teams to construct their requirements with freedom, leaving plenty of margin for custom workflows. Among the best aspects of the tool, is that the general interface is made simple and straightforward – allowing users to focus on the requirements, and the project.

IBM's requirements management tool

This same simplicity and flexibility make this a wonderful solution to both engineering projects and other more classic UX design projects. Even better? Combining this powerful simplicity with Justinmind. That’s right! Integrating Doors with Justinmind means that you can manage your requirements over at Doors, and see them in action in your Justinmind prototypes.

Users repeatedly praise the simplicity of the software, while only a few point to the rather steep costs of the IBM Doors Family pack. Starting from $5,790.00 per user, the price tag may be a bit too salty for small businesses.

4. RequirementsHub

While less popular than some of the previously mentioned requirements management tools, RequirementsHub shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s not as technologically advanced as Doors or Modern Requirements, but perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. Not all teams are looking for intricate and expensive solutions to manage their requirements. Sometimes, simple and straightforward is best.

requirementshub management tool

And in a way, that’s what RequirementsHub is. It’s meant to be a unified place for everything related to requirements management, helping you keep track of things and to prioritize each requirement. One of the greatest aspects of this tool is that it comes with many different requirements templates, that are made for specific types of requirements. Among said templates, you’ll find everything from marketing to IT operations.

This requirements management tool is better suited for web and app products, more oriented towards classic UX projects. Price available upon request.

5. Jama Software

Jama is quite loved among design teams as far as requirements management tools go. The tool itself goes far above the aim of keeping track of requirements and their evolution, but ventures into risk management and testing. It makes for a complete tool that creates a truly centralized way to manage your requirements.

jamal requirements as a management tool for ux projects

Customers rave about Jama’s ability to make reports easily, offering users templates for simple reports that can be easily customized. Another great plus is that once the software is set up, the simplicity of the UI and ease-of-use make it easier for everyone to maintain a clean record of requirements all the way until the end of the project. On the other hand, users do mention some minor issues when using Jama on Chrome as well as formatting issues when importing documents, such as spreadsheets.

Very well-suited for both classic UX projects and engineering-oriented projects that deal in more technical terms. Price available upon request.

6. Accompa

Accompa is meant to be a one-stop-shop for managing all sorts of requirements. It prides itself on allowing users to create their own hierarchy in requirements, putting customization at the center of the tool. An example of the power of the personalization is the possibility for unlimited custom fields in requirements, which is impressive in its own right.

accompa as requirements management tool

This requirements management tool ticks all the right boxes – except the prototyping one. Its UI does a great job at keeping track of things and showing the relationship between requirements and sub-tasks. It’s a good tool for business analysts, as it enjoys some ROI calculating features that make it perfect for financial comparison among requirements and features. For a more design-oriented process, you may want to consider pairing it up with some other tools such as Justinmind.

Web-based tool with no need to install any software. Cloud-based. Pricing starts at 199$ per month.

7. Visure Requirements

Visure is a requirements management tool that, like others on this list, also goes beyond simply keeping track of requirements. It covers Test Management, Defect and Issue Tracking, Change Management and Risk Management – making for a complete tool that certainly adds value to any toolbox.

visure as example of requirements tool

Another advantage of Visure is that it’s integrated with other useful requirements management tools such as DOORS or Jama. It’s flexible so it can support any workflow your team uses, be it Agile or something completely different. Cloud-based. Pricing available upon request.

8. Polarion Requirements

Another big name from this list. Created by Siemens, Polarion Requirements aims to be the only tool your team needs when it comes to managing your requirements, from the start to the finish of the project. It focuses on not just helping you keep track of things, but also testing out the requirements and attesting to their quality.

polarion by siemens for managing requirements

It’s got many core features that check all the right boxes. From the Time Machine feature for seeing the entire history of any element in your project to arrays of analytics, data and reports on everything you’ve accomplished so far. It makes for a complete and thorough requirements management tool that is well-equipped for large teams and big projects.

Polarion is 100% cloud and navigator-based. No downloading and installing anything!

9. IRIS

IRIS is a requirement management tool that is more focused on the business of it all. Meant to help business owners keep track of everything that is included in running a business, it’s turned out to be a rather popular requirements management tool in the UX industry.

iris for both business architecture and for managing requirements

Remember that in requirements management, many different aspects of the project interact. For business analysts, IRIS can be a really powerful tool that can still deliver true value for designers and engineers. Great traceability, complete summary reports and it represents a great user-friendly option for collaboration.

10. codeBeamer

CodeBeamer has come a long way since being founded in Germany back in 1999. Today, it’s come to be a requirements management tool that is widely used and loved – particularly for medium to large companies. It’s particularly well-suited for products that focus on technical issues and topics, and is particularly popular among developers. Users praise it’s UI design, which is very flexible and customizable.

codebeamer for engineering requirements management tool

It’s a feature-packed software that can be downloaded on most devices. However, precisely because it’s feature-packed (covering also risk management, defect tracking, version control, iteration planning and release management), it may not be the best option for everyone. For small companies, this tool might be overkill.

11. ReqChecker

ReqChecker may not be as well-known as some of the other requirement management tools on this list – but don’t be discouraged. This tool isn’t as widely used, but it can still represent a good alternative to teams looking for a cheaper tool to help them with the requirements. ReqChecker is able to extract requirements from all the common formats such as PDF or Word documents and gives you the freedom to create custom tags for your requirements.

showing of a requirements tool by reqcheck

With that said, it’s a rather technical tool that would be easier to use for engineers and developers as opposed to designers or business analysts. The software is a web app that needs to be installed. Similarly, this requirements tool is better suited for small teams as it doesn’t enjoy collaborative features like some other tools on this list.

12. StoriesOnBoard

StoriesOnBoard is another underdog in the requirements management game. While this tool can feel like a limited experience for those designers who are used to more sophisticated software like Jama – it still has its advantages. In fact, many customers praise the straightforward features and robust interface, saying it helps get things done without distractions.

requirements tool that focuses on story mapping

Customers say the tool offers a bit of a learning curve for new users, but perhaps less so than some other options on this list of requirement management tools. Aside from that, StoriesOnBoard has also won praise for its story mapping capabilities as well as for its integrations with other tools – allowing for a separate backlog to be run.

13. Visual Trace Spec

Visual Trace Spec is a requirement management tool that is available in both browser and native form. The tool aims to offer a single platform where design teams can have the entire design cycle, from capturing requirements all the way to tracing changes and creating a backlog.

tool for managing requirements in a visual way

We love that the tool can be simply used with a browser, making this requirement tool a good option for those not looking to go through the trouble of installation. Users have praised the tool’s reporting options, with the visual take on tracing changes. 

14. ReqSuite

ReqSuite is a piece of software that aims to help design teams with managing requirements by establishing consistency, traceability and standardization. The tool ticks all the right boxes when it comes to managing requirements, from versing of requirements to several collaborative features.

reqsuite as a tool for requirements management

This requirement management tool is a native app, which means it needs to be installed. While this can be a bit of an obstacle for design teams who want a browser-based tool, ReqSuite does assure us that installing takes less than one hour. This tool is suitable for small to medium design teams.

15. Orcanos

Orcanos is a product life-cycle management tool that focuses on design compliance and risk management. The tool itself was designed to be oriented towards medical and automotive products – but it’s quite handy in design projects. Orcanos itself allows individual requirements to be traced from the concept stage through to validation and on to release. It’s a robust and well-throughout tool for requirements management.

example of requirements management tool by orcanos

Users are quick to praise the software, which is entirely cloud-based, for how handy it became with the pandemic of 2020. Orcanos is widely used for companies that aim to deliver medical devices, creating the need for a complex workflow and true validation of the device. When applied to UX design, it can only get better. Orcanos is a suitable requirements management tool for medium to large companies, especially engineering teams.

16. Pearls

Pearls makes for a possible alternative as a requirements management tool. The software deals with all the core features you’d want from a tool, from user and role management to backlog management and use cases. Pearls also comes with a document generating tool.

pearls as a requirements management tool for small teams

The general interface of Pearls was created so that it could be easily understood by all the relevant parties when it comes to requirements – from engineers to business analysts. Another interesting fact is that the software was created with an Agile requirement workflow in mind, but it still offers some flexibility so it can adapt to most workflows out there.

Pearls’ requirement management tool is completely cloud-based, not requiring any installation of native apps. Suitable for small to medium teams.

17. SpiraTest

SpiraTest takes a slightly different approach to requirements management. The tool itself is focused on testing and validating the product, with a close relationship taking place between testing and each requirement. Users praise the tool’s requirements management capabilities, proudly sharing that the tool played a key role in ensuring a bug-free outcome.

a tool for ensuring testing coverage of requirements

Perhaps one of their strongest features is the integrations available. Users are quick to point out that SpiraTest brings them great value for money, shining in areas like testing coverage, traceability and backlog management.

SpiraTest is a native app, which means it must be installed before it can be used. As an added factor, the tool only runs on Microsoft .NET framework version 4.0 and ASP.NET version 4.0. Mac users don’t have a viable option here. Suitable for medium to large teams.

18. Micro Focus Dimensions RM

Micro Focus Dimensions is a very complete tool for product life-cycle management. The tool focuses on traceability, visibility and collaboration – making it a great option for large teams and companies.

Users are quick to praise the version feature of the tool, making it possible to have timelines and compare the progress done over time. Another feature that shines bright is the reporting capabilities, which has helped many designers and developers alike. Going even further, some designers have found that this requirement management tool has helped them work more efficiently due to its collaboration features.

micro focus tool for requirements management

On the other side of the coin, we have also found that many users struggle with the learning curve. With such a feature-packed product, learning your way around may take some time and effort. Other users also point out the lack of learning materials available online.

19. Blueprint

Blueprint is an interesting alternative to many of the requirement management tools on this list. The software is meant to be a one-stop-shop for all sorts of information management, integrating a wide range of features that include requirements management. From a general point-of-view, users praise the tool’s ability to help with decision-making and adapting to the workflow in question.

blueprint as a tool for managing requirements

From a more specific point-of-view, users praise the tool’s ability to centralize requirements while adding a more visual flare, as well as generating use cases and stories. Suitable for medium to large teams.

20. ReqViews

ReqViews is the last not least among requirement management tools. This tool checks all the right boxes when it comes to a classic requirement tool. It aims to help design teams to carry the entire product life-cycle, from capturing requirements to ensuring testing coverage.

reqviews as a tool for requirements management

Users praise the visual aspect of the requirements, as well as the traceability of it all. With that said, some users do point out that the initial learning curve can seem a little intimidating as the interface isn’t always intuitive. A browser-based version of the software is available, but most of the core features need a native app installed in order to be used. Suitable for small to medium teams.

The wrap up

Managing requirements is the kind of thing that makes or breaks any project. The requirements are far too important for you to not invest in a professional tool to help you store it all and then put it to use!

Hopefully, with the tools we’ve listed in this post you’ll be fully equipped for keeping track of things, testing assumptions and creating a product that will truly have an impact on the client and the user.

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Rebeca Costa
In-house writer, usability enthusiast and patron of all sleep-deprived designers