Beaver Computer Consultants - Consultants in systems engineering for business, mission and safety critical systems
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>>   Home  >>  Requirements Process and Management Services

We offer a range of requirements management and systems engineering support services as well as configuration management, risk management, and PRINCE based project management consultancy. Our requirements services form the foundation of our offerings, often run as a project support office, and include :

  • FREE DOORS DXL addins scripts
  • Requirement Management Services to create and maintain requirements and acceptance documents
  • Process Definition, Process Improvement and CMMI / PMMM Benchmarking Services - (for details of our ready made process models see here).
  • DOORS and Requirement Management training courses
  • DOORS Administration, Tool Configuration, DXL customisation and addins - (for details of our ready made information models see here).
  • Requirement Management Support Services
  • This page also provides a basic introduction to requirements management process concepts, which are summarised in our draft Requirements Process Primer document which is available as a free download.

    The adoption of a requirements tool or a process model is not a golden bullet.  They will not necessarily provide a quick fix in terms of immediately stopping problems from occurring or bring immediate increases in productivity.  Often the reverse is true - the initial result is to bring out many of the existing problems, you still feel the pain, but you'll have more time to effectively manage the problems, but over time you'll be able to correct the underlying problems.  With process feedback and implementation outcomes such as buy-in, training, and cultural changes, you'll see benefits, and you can start to tune the process and improve it to fit your needs, and start on the continuous improvement cycle using the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle.  Beaver has experience in all these areas and will be happy to discuss how our experience can help you.

    A Simple Requirements Management Process Model / Systems Engineering Process Model Concepts

    This section outlines a general lifecycle process model and the factors to be considered when setting up requirements tools.  We have summarised a number of the process elements for public use.  This part of the process focuses on the requirements flow.  Sub-models in our process deal with elication and ensuring completeness of each specification using standard contents templates to prompt for information to be added or explicitly add a not used comment.  Our requirements and V&V process and the database / information model concepts have been developed through practical application on a range of projects.  They have been reported at conferences as detailed in our
    news items for June 1999 and September 2000.  See our case studies section for details of the how this expertise has been used when working with our clients.  Our web links page lists a number of other requirements management sites. To see an example of DOORS based traceability and the creation of a simple traceability matrix see our paper on Joyce Ludwigs Requirements site.

    Requirements Management Process Model / Systems Engineering Process Model.  Note that hot-maps have not been implemented so guidence for each process activity is not yet available

    A simple process model is shown above. Placing your cursor over each process block will provide you a summary of the inputs, transformation activities, and outputs. Process boxes with a red outlined blocked can be double clicked to open a more detailed page, giving further details of the inputs, outputs, and activities, and where appropriate we have included sample check lists, and screen shots of DOORS configured to support a work flow based process. A list of documents and the stage at which they are produced is listed here <to be added>. 

    The above process model looks complex because of the concurrency and feedback flows that have been included.  You'll also need to be consider how this process spreads out over time. In a moment we'll look at several views of the process and supporting information, some with the help of animation.  You'll see that when the process is stretched out against time it is not as difficult or complex as it at first appears, and with our step by step guides you'll soon be in control.

    While the above process looks as if its waterfall based or sequential, this is not the way we apply the model to a project. We actually make multiple passes through the process, exercising most of the activites on each pass. This is an iterative approach and is an important risk reduction technique. Each iteration allows us to select a subset of requirements. This builds end-to-end documents, models and products, from simple concepts, prototypes, to earlier fielded products, to operational releases. Sets of iterations relate to project management stages or gates such as "Project Worth While Investigating", "Feasible", "Risk Reduction", "Operational Release", and "Support". During any iteration we can establish the progress of the selected requirements, determining whats been agreed with the customer, whats been allocated to the next level, what has a test method(s) agreed, and how many have a passed test, along with information on requirements and design change rates, and the number of risks, issues and assumptions.

    Iteration Management Model with iteration planning as the focus of control, which uses data from other activites to monitor the current iteration against the current plan, and to plan for the next iteration and issue work package instructions including product specification quality criteria for that iteration

    The main process model is based on a classical "V" life cycle which takes customer needs, agrees requirements, and delivers a solutions, but is operated concurrently and supplemented with other process activites such iteration planning, which use information on progress, quality, proposed changes, and issues, assumptions and risks, to compare the current state of the project against the last iteration plan, determine what to focus on next, and plan the next iteration. In a project context this process is managed iteratively so that a project comprises of multiple V's in terms of the product or data traceability. In addition a number of groups undertaking activites on the main "V" model are likely to be working concurrently, so rather than a sequential work flow, what we need to do is ensure the integrity of the relationships between each of the products e.g. customer to funcitonal requirements, functional requirements to the product architecture, and so on. So on each iteration, the teams develop, mature and update the various requirements and test document products, but use the "V" model concepts to maintain integrity of data between levels using the product to product traceability links that need to be developed. Use of requirements tools allows each group to see suspect links developed from earlier iterations, and views to show both untraced items in the input document and untraced items to the next document in the "V" life chain. Each document contains flags to show whats "in-scope" for this iteration and those carried over from previous iterations.

    As we complete more iterations, the level of maturity of the products increases and risk decreases. By drawing together data on progress, quality, changes, risks, issues and assumptions we understand how healthy the project is and have a mechanism for planning and control. By using the feedback from each iteration we can identify objectives for the next and future iterations. In our full models we combine project management principles from PRINCE and other best practices such as prototyping, and use formal document inspections as a futher refinement to PRINCE based Quality Reviews.

    Our draft white paper is available here which provides a more detailed overview of the process, sample information model detailing attributes, views, and reports, and how the process model, specification tree, and information model fit into change control, risk management, and iterative based life cycle models. The paper examines the design of the information model for requirements and test traceability. Such traceability forms the basic inputs for a number of process activities. Note this is a draft and is provided as-is. Please see the conditions of use on the front of the document. 

    You can review a Powerpoint animation online here <to be added> which will step you through the major process steps against time or you can download the Powerpoint file here <to be added>.  When viewing the animation remember this a simple representation - consider the additional complexity when you consider individual requirements progress changes, rework and test failures requiring requirement, test spec, or test harness changes.  It is this level of concurrency that causes problems if not adequately managed.

    As an alternative perspective you might wish to review the "V" model based specification tree and its animated version.  The specification tree Powerpoint files are also available for download here <to be added>.  The process model produces the documents shown in the specifications tree and conducts appropriate quality tests, trade-offs, and results reviews.  The process model produces the documents in the specification tree while the information model is the basis on which the underlying data is managed, link, stored, viewed, and operated on.

    A process model and specification tree are useful to (a) understand the needed integrity of the model and enforce change control and configuration management of the set of documents which exist at a point in time, and (b) acts as the basis to generate metrics to indicate both the progress through process (e.g. number of client requirements, number of accepted requirements, number allocated to technical solution, number tested) and the quality of the products produced using data from the various reviews (number of ambiguous requirements, problems found), issues and assumptions associated with a requirement or product design.  Beaver believes it is important not only to measure pure progress but the quality.  Progress  is OK only if an acceptable quality level if being achieved otherwise rework from problems will arise.  In addition quality provides feedback to drive process improvement initiatives such as those included as part of the SEI's CMMI.

    The process model, even a simple one such as above, are not the information model.  Informational models are best considered as relational database structures.  A simple information model is shown here <to be added>.  Each file or module has attributes, which are selectively shown as a set of views, or reports.  The information models seeks to reuse information rather than having multiple copies, and show the relationships between the various files or modules. Additional code or functions are added to applications running the models to ensure integrity e.g. if a parent requirement is changed then links to child requirements or test results are shown as suspect as they can no longer be assured to meet the parent because it has changed.  A manual review is needed.

    Beavers Requirements Management Services

    Own staff not available, no in-house capability, need a fresh view? Do you need to create a specification, improve an existing one, or apply other requirements management processes? Whether you own a dedicated tool, or you normally use paper and MS Office, or you just need the work done we can help you immediately.  For example;

    If so then Beaver consulting offers you an outsourced solution, either working on your site or at our offices, using remote connectivity if needed, using the DOORS requirements management tool.  We can import your documents into DOORS, work with the data, and provide you with an analysis and problem report, compliance matrix, traceability matrix, reported either in a Word document or as HTML pages or both. You can have a "ready to go" populated database in DOORS format with a full requirements model ready for use in latter process steps or phases of the project.  You can notify us of the proposed changes, we'll do the change analysis, and add those that are agreed into the database so building you a valuable change history with details of how the requirement was accepted by you.  Periodically you'll get a set metrics indicating the progress and quality of the requirements as they progress through the process over the duration of the project and latter during benefit realisation.  You do not need to invest in the software, its maintenance, or specialist staff.  We can publish the documents to Word, or to html. You can raise queries or proposed changes or comments, and we can chase them through for you. We can be your requirements engineers.  This is just one of the services we offer.  We can work with you on site or totally remotely, communicating by email, phone, telephony, use our secure customer areas on or web site or VPN between networks using DSL or dial in. 

    What ever your needs, Beaver has practical experience, tools, and generic models, all available now to support you at what ever level of maturity your processes are at.  Beavers experience is not only in the individual disciplines of requirements management, change management and project management but in how they need to be integrated together.  Beaver also has considered experience in related disciplines of requirements elicitation and analysis. For example at the business level under taking QFD workshops, process and performance mapping, existing system studies, competitive system or product studies, and applying principles such as "Voice of the customer", while at the system and subsystem level performing behavioural, performance, RAM, security and safety analysis to determine apportionment and show compliance of a solution against its parent requirements, and to derive additional requirements.  For further information see here <to be added>. 

    Beavers Requirements Management Process Definition & Improvement Services

    Having a defined process is an basic building block in developing a strong system engineering or project management capability and is also important when demonstrating compliance to the process orientated ISO 9001 : 2000 and when benchmarking to the SEI's Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI) or the OGC's Project Management Maturity Model (PMMM). We can support your process management activites using Six-Sigma based methods such as

    Once the process is understood, particularly the interim and final products, we can consider which how these are physcially created and maintained, and how a requirements management tool supports the product creation process.

    Beavers Requirements Management and DOORS Training Services

    We also provide training and mentoring in requirements management concepts and in training and mentoring users in using tools such as DOORS to implement requirements management through the life cycle. Our approach is to use a modular approach to training. The outcome of each training module is to provide sufficient DOORS functionality to support specific requirements management and systems engineering tasks. Our approach reflects our prefered way of using DOORS, which is to setup and use specific views and key funcitions, wizards and addins, which relate to process steps in your management system.

    Rather than provide a 2-3 day course attendees only need to learn whats necessary before going back to the job and whats needed. For example most users do not need administrator or dxl skills, many just need to find particulary views in the tool, fill in several attributes, or raise or approve changes. Others just need to track progress. Attend whats needed and then put the learnt skills into practice doing assigned work. We can provide on-site mentoring or phone or email support post training. Having mastered the tasks from one module attendees can then take the next module. We have used this approach with a number of clients, often combined with some tool configuration and process management work. Ofcourse it is possible to run a combination of the modules as a 2 day course which works so long as attendees can go back to performing specific tasks quickly as early use reinforces whats been learnt and aids retention. Training sessions can be based round the following modules :

    Each training session lasts approximatly 2-3 hours contact time and includes practical excercises. We supply detailed user guides for each session and are happy to customise the training and documentation to meet your specific needs. We can deliver onsite, or use remote delivery, or provide CBT training using animated screen shots and voice overs.

    Beavers DOORS Tool Configuration, DXL Development and Database Administration Services

    Our approach is to configure a tool so groups of views, normal tool functions, customised menus's and DXL addin scripts, support specific process steps, track process conformance, and provide valuable metrics for project management use. Beaver has considerable experience in developing customised versions of information models to implement processes, with explicit traceability between requirements and tests, and produce defined output documents based on MIL STD 498, 2167, and RUP artefacts, for a variety of customers including Elekta Oncology Systems, Raytheon, SSL (LUL), Railtrack and Westinghouse, mostly using DOORS.  Beaver also the capability to develop customised tools and information models using Requisite Pro and Telelogics RequireIT (which interfaces to DOORS) , both of which interface to Microsoft Word, as well as more powerful requirements tools such as RTM.  We can deploy the information or process model with user guidence notes to your intranet or internet, and publish requirements and test data from DOORS to your intranet using HTML and incorporating simple email feedback forms, allowing information to be widely shared with your team, clients and stakeholders and for feedback to be obtained.  Requisite Pro and DOORS also have powerful web server extensions to dynamically publish, view, comment and edit the databases directly using web technology.  Beaver can advise on these options and help configure and set these systems up together with integration to configuration management, version control, project management and other applications.

    Beaver develops and advises clients in the IT infrastructures to implement requirements and systems engineering processes, integrating and interfacing project management (process, tasking allocation, planning, risk management), problem and defect reporting, consolidated change change systems, with requirements tools and analysis and design tools.  These can be developed as single PC systems, integrating various applications, run as multi-user versions running over networks, or implement using intranet or internet technologies, giving access to requirements, change management, and project management support using an internet browser with backend systems linking back to the core applications.

    To set up a requirements tool such as DOORS and customise it to fit your process we undertake the following activites:
    We also offer services to act as your DOORS administrator releasing your staff who can concentrate on their main role as systems engineers or solutions developers. We often undertake specific background tasks such as;

    Beavers Requirements Management Support Services

    Other services include;

    Return to the requirements information page