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Don’t Let a Tool Vendor’s Research Spook You

Tool vendors love to promote research as part of the product marketing campaigns. While there can be valuable insights in their reports, a tool alone will not fix a broken practice.

Jama Software recently published a report written by that declared:

“Despite the increasing complexity, only 15% of respondents relied on a dedicated requirements management system. This was either causally linked or a likely factor in the following reported negative outcomes:

  • Production outcome failures (83%)
  • Reprimands by a regulatory agency (62%)
  • A minority reporting they feel they effectively manage requirements (34%)”

Whenever you find a report like this on a software vendor’s site but not on the author’s it smells like research for hire. In this case though, these are not surprising results. IAG’s landmark 2009 study on requirements management maturity clearly identified that requirements management maturity was more important than your delivery method to project outcomes.

Apart from its age, the IAG report also suffers from one fatal flaw when it comes to selling software. They found that, “Forcing analysts to use a tool enforces a set of practices and standards on the organization that can be productive. In cases where the implementing organization uses the tool as a catalyst to also improve other areas of requirements capability, the activity can be seen as highly productive – and significantly impactful.”

Our Take

The requirement that their customers need to do more than buy and implement the tool is a barrier to the sales cycle. As a purchaser, you need to make a significant investment in your business analysis practices and practitioners in order to get the benefits from tools such as Jama as well. This is not to say you shouldn’t invest in a tool, just be prepared to invest in the practice development and training required to build a better business analyst.

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