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New Survey Shows Complexity, Hybrid Agile Methods and Customer Demands Are Driving Factors For Requirements Management
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Posted by: etrimble on Friday, January 28, 2011

Recent survey of more than 800 software professionals sheds light on the latest industry trends,
challenges and solutions in software development.

Portland, OR (PRWEB) January 25, 2011 -- Results from The 2011 State of Requirements Management survey released today show a growing focus and awareness on just how vital requirements management is to the overall success or failure of development projects. Findings indicate the growing use of a hybrid mix of development methods and tools; an increase in the complexity of application development; the critical need to innovate and meet ever-changing customer demands; and the realization that specialized tools are needed to drive improvements throughout the application lifecycle.

During a webinar presentation of the findings today, executives from survey sponsors Ravenflow and Jama Software outlined the results of the second edition of the survey. Key findings include:

Innovation: Breakthrough new products and apps often steal the headlines, but 88 percent of the survey’s respondents said their goal is to “enhance existing products.” Development teams are working to streamline continuous iterations and the “listen-plan-build-test” lifecycle.

Process: A hybrid mix of processes, or as some refer to as “WaterScrumFall,” have become the new reality of enterprise application development. Agile as a development movement has clearly gone mainstream, but the reality is the largest segment of teams, 40 percent, are not purists or follow any one prescriptive methodology. There is no one perfect “silver bullet” process – Waterfall, Agile (Scrum), RUP or otherwise. Instead, teams are using a blend of processes to develop software. Thus, one of the emerging trends in 2011 is toward flexible ALM tools that are easily customizable to support multiple, continuously evolving processes.

Complexity: Results from the survey show that application development continues to be more complex and challenging. A combined 75 percent of respondents are managing projects with at least 100 requirements; and 20 percent are managing projects with more than 1,000 requirements. To add to the complexity, requirements aren’t static. On average, more than 70 percent of teams are spending at least 10 percent or more of their time managing changes to requirements. Thus, it’s no surprise that failure rates remain high, with only 17 percent of
teams having a success rate of 80 percent or higher.

Customer Satisfaction: When looking at the #1 metric for measuring success of development projects, customer satisfaction led the way at 86 percent. Keeping customers continuously happy is vital to business success and a major challenge for development teams. In fact, the biggest challenge facing teams, according to 73 percent of respondents, is “gaining a clear understanding of what customers want,” and the leading source of product ideas and requirements is “feedback from customers and partners” at 82 percent.

Tools: Surprisingly, 83 percent of teams still use Microsoft Word or Excel documents to  communicate and manage requirements. However, respondents recognize the growing need for specialized software tools to define and manage requirements. With complexity increasing and failure rates still high, teams are looking to 2011 as the year to invest in specialized software to help with requirements, specifically those that provide collaboration and visualization. This is illustrated by “requirements collaboration and management software” topping the wish list of tools in 2011 at 60 percent, and “requirements modeling and visualization” coming in second at 45 percent.

To obtain a free copy of the 2011 State of Requirements Management report, please visit:
http://www.jamasoftware.com/media/documents/State_of_Requirements_Management_2011.pdf

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