QSS Moves Requirements Management to the Test Cycle

Quality Systems & Software Inc.’s (QSS, www.qssinc.com) requirements management product line, Doors, allows developers and software managers to capture, link, trace, analyze and manage end-user requirements throughout the design process.

The company has linked up with Mercury Interactive Corp. (www.mercuryinteractive.com) to continue managing end-user requirements throughout the test process, as well. QSS will incorporate Mercury Interactive's product TestDirector, an application designed to manage the entire testing process, into its product line.

The new solution, called DoorsConnect TestDirector, provides commercial and corporate software developers with a method to capture end-user requirements, then trace those requirements from initial design to the final testing.

"This is an attempt to get people to communicate so projects succeed," says John Satta, DoorsConnect product manager. "This is connecting end-to-end solutions so we can close the loop between development and test."

Satta explains that all software projects start out with user requirements. That's the point of building the application in the first place. Beginning with these requirements, developers start building components to meet these needs. Once the components seem finished, they are "thrown over the wall" to the testing team, which works on making sure the application runs correctly.

If certain components don't work, they're changed or thrown out. The testing team may not be aware of the user requirements, so when the finished product goes out the door, users get an application that doesn't meet their needs.

By combining DoorsConnect and TestDirector, changes to all components are seen at a higher tree-structured level so both developers and testers are aware of what user requirements they may be abandoning. Also, when a developer makes a change to a component, the combined product informs him of exactly what tests need to be run again for that piece of the application. This is an automated, bidirectional transfer of test requirements, procedures, results and defects between Doors and TestDirector.

"When you've got this tree structure in your head, you can see how everything changes," Satta explains. "Doors enables you to link information together so if you change one area, it allows you to trace back to see what other requirements the change had an impact on."

DoorsConnect TestDirector helps developers trace test results back through design to the user requirements to find the relative importance of a requirement and make an educated judgement on whether the requirement needs to be included or can be thrown out.

The Doors software gives a graphical representation of the test results so developers can see which components have passed and which haven't and asses the impact that has on the rest of the design cycle.

DoorsConnect TestDirector also maintains a change history on updated test requirements, procedures and test status so developers can see the history of the development cycle. Distributed members of the project team can use QSS's DoorsNet to view DoorsConnect requirements using a standard Web browser.

Matt Light, senior analyst with the GartnerGroup (www.gartnergroup.com), says most vendors in the requirements management arena have been working toward integrating their products with test procedures. "This is something that the main competitors for commercial IS departments and commercial development groups have been building with some capacity in the past several years," Light explains. "[QSS] has been adding various interfaces and alliances, and this is one they've added to their list. I think it's important because Mercury [Interactive] is one of the leading client/server testing vendors."

Competitors in the requirements management space include Rational Software Corp. (www.rational.com) with RequisitePro, Integrated Chipware Inc. (www.integratedchipware.com) with RTM Workshop and Technology Builder Inc. (TBI, www.tbi.com) with Caliber-RM.