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Wednesday, 25 November 2015 14:04

Requirements Management in Sparx Enterprise Architect

How to combine Sparx Enterprise Architect and BABOK to manage Requirements in a modern way?

Days when Business Analyst was using only Word and Excel applications together with e-mail program are slowly fading into the past. This is a good thing. There are many tools that allow us to work faster and smarter. One of them is my favorite Sparx Enterprise Architect. The tool so powerful and versatile that it's hard to find single person who used all of its features :-)

Personally, I used Enterprise Architect in my work for past several years to design IT systems and prepare documentation of them. I used a lot of built-in features of Enterprise Architect to streamline my work and improve quality of my deliverables. Among them Relationship Matrix, powerful template functionality for document generation, extensive support for Use Case modeling. 

Requirement attributes

Among many other things, BABOK Guide defines list of commonly used requirement attributes:

  • Absolute reference: provides a unique identifier. The reference is not altered or reused if the requirement is moved, changed, or deleted.
  • Author: provides the name of the person who needs to be consulted should the requirement later be found to be ambiguous, unclear, or in conflict.
  • Complexity: indicates how difficult the requirement will be to implement.
  • Ownership: indicates the individual or group that needs the requirement or will be the business owner after the solution is implemented.
  • Priority: indicates relative importance of requirements. Priority can refer to the relative value of a requirement or to the sequence in which it will be implemented.
  • Risks: identifies uncertain events that may impact requirements.
  • Source: identifies the origin of the requirement. The source is often consulted if the requirement changes or if more information regarding the requirement or the need that drove the requirement has to be obtained.
  • Stability: indicates the maturity of the requirement.
  • Status: indicates the state of the requirement, whether it is proposed, accepted, verified, postponed, cancelled, or implemented.
  • Urgency: indicates how soon the requirement is needed. It is usually only necessary to specify this separately from the priority when a deadline exists for implementation.

Source: BABOK Guide V3, page 45.

As it is stated, those are most commonly used, which means that this list is not written in stone and each Analyst must decides which to use. Actually, for this exercise we have a special task  in BABOK Guide named Plan Business Analysis Information Management.

The purpose of Plan Business Analysis Information Management is to develop an approach for how business analysis information will be stored and accessed.

Source: BABOK Guide V3, page 42.

Since I read the Mastering the Requirements Process: Getting Requirements Right (which was quite sometime ago) I extended my requirement attributes list with those two:

  • Justification
  • Fit Criteria

Justification is a rationale for requirement. It explains why requirement is needed by stakeholder(s). It is very important attribute as it allows to distinguish between real requirements and solutions requested by stakeholders that pretend to be requirements.

Fit Criteria's aim is to make sure that requirement is verifiable.  It means that there is defined way of proofing that the requirement is met. This attribute directly addresses one of the characteristics of a good requirement which is Testable. (Have you ever seen requirements like: "System must be easy to learn" or "System must be user friendly" and wondered What the hell this means? I bet you did! :-) )

Enhanced Requirement Attributes Addin for Sparx Enterprise Architect

Sparx Enterprise Architect does not support all of the mentioned above attributes out of the box. Some are there, but not all of them. You may add missing ones as TaggedValues in requirement element, but working this way on a daily basis is hard and miserable.

To address this problem I created Enhanced Requirement Attributes Addin for Enterprise Architect. In short ERA addin (addin means plugin). It adds new properties window which is dedicated only for Requirement type. When you double click on any Requirement element this new window will be opened by default. Properties for other element types will be opened in EA's default properties window.

ERA Addin – Requirement properties window

Sometimes you may still want to open Requirement element in default properties window, just click 'Default properties' button, or press Alt+Enter keys on the selected element.

Requirement properties window aggregates in one place all most important attributes that were described above. This makes reading and editing a requirement very easy. Requirement properties windows supports:

  • Some of BABOK / Volere additional attributes
  • Rich edit functionality for Description attribute
  • Key shortcuts (Ctrl+S - save & close  and Ctrl+W - close without saving)

Compatibility

All of the additional attributes are stored as TaggedValues of Requirement element. This a built-in functionality of Enterprise Architect. There is no custom solution for storing information. As you can see in the picture below, you can access and edit those attributes in normal properties window.

EA’s normal properties window

This means you may use ERA Addin without worrying about compatibility. You can be the only person on the project or in your organization using ERA Addin and other Analysts & Architects will still be able to view and edit Requirement without problems. Of course it will not be as easy and convenient as in ERA Addin, but important thing is that you will not break anything!

ERA Addin does not use any custom UML Profile, it works with default, built-in Requirement type. So you can start using it on your already created requirement models without any conversions or problems with migration. There is also no risk, if you will not like ERA Addin you will simply uninstall it, there will be no impact on your model.

Generation of documentation

ERA Addin was created with easy reporting in mind. It comes with a Requirements Details template that is used to generate documentation about all additional requirement attributes. Here you can download sample document with generated documentation about requirements in Stakeholder package.

Practical

ERA Addin is free to use for everybody including commercial purposes. It is redistributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License.

Downloads

  • Installer of ERA Addin together with Requirements Details template can be downloaded from here.
  • Sample Enterprise Architect project can be downloaded from here.
Published in Community Resources

 

Event: IIBA® Business Analysis Professional Day
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Date: 19th October 2015 (8am-5pm)

The IIBA® Business Analysis Professional Day is a highly interactive, conference-style event and is the official conference of the IIBA Australia Chapter. Attendees from a diverse range of industries will have the opportunity to share ideas about how to face the challenges of modern business analysis.

The Business Analysis Professional Day will include a number of specialist streams from some of the most respected experts in the world of business analysis who will share practical skills that can be immediately put to use

The event is an excellent networking opportunity. Attendees from a diverse range of industries will have the opportunity to share ideas about how to face the challenges of modern business analysis.

Whether you are new to business analysis or an advanced practitioner, the Business Analysis Professional Day will help you to advance your skills and knowledge.

For More Information and Tickets visit the EventBrite website

 

           Sparx Systems - Silver Sponsor

Sparx Systems proudly supports this event as a Silver Sponsor and will be in attendance to showcase Enterprise Architect.

Attendees to this event will also be able talk to key personnel from Sparx Systems to discuss how Enterprise Architect can be used in their business environment.

Published in News

Join Us On April 23 and 24 2014

We are delighted to announce the second Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect North America conference.

With dedicated tracks for Business Analysts and Enterprise Architects, the 2 days will provide valuable content from speakers across industries and countries, plus networking opportunities, to help you deliver improved productivity from your use of Enterprise Architect. Book Now!

KPMG LLP, a key sponsor for this event, is hosting the conference at their Toronto headquarters office.

Click here for more information or to make a reservation.

Call for Speakers:

A few opportunities still remain for speakers to share their productivity and project stories. We'd love for you to join us, but note that the closing date for speaker submissions is February 28th, so don't delay.  Click here if you wish to be a speaker.

Call for Conference Partners:

We are also happy to invite Sparx Systems Global Partners to join us at this event. Click here if you wish to be a conference partner.

See you there!

Published in News

A “Business Analysis Survey “was conducted by Sparx Systems (India), in collaboration  with BA Convention and IIBA™  at Bangalore , India.

The outcome of the survey revealed some interesting insights about the Business Analysis in India, which is garnering increasing importance in the realms of the Indian IT industry.

Though it was an elaborate survey which covered various aspects of business analysis in India, the below responses are more relevant to this EA user community

  • Requirements gathering and Use Cases writing are still the primary tasks assigned to Business Analysts


           

  • 75 % of the participants agree that one third of the project efforts are spent on corrections or repetitions

 


 

  • 80 % of the participants advocated the usage of Requirements Management and Business Modelling tools improve the quality of projects

 

 

  • 62 % of the respondents felt that initial upfront cost involved in procuring and training of modelling tools act as a deterrent


This is a strong indicator that the Business Analysts and organizations are looking for a Cost effective , Easy to Learn and Comprehensive tool to address their needs.

Enterprise Architect is the potential tool to address the above demands with

Rich Feature Set

Enterprise Architect’s Requirements Management, Use Case Modelling, Business Process Modelling, End to End Traceability and Project Management capabilities helps organizations to eliminate usage of multiple tools.

Enterprise Architect 11 provides a number of features including the Specification Manager, Charts and Dashboards, Enhanced Docx documentation, OSLC support and much, much more.  Each of these features will address the needs of the Business Analysts.

Easy to use:

The intuitive IDE of Enterprise Architect enables ease of Use and quick learning, even for the non-technical associates.

Cost Effective:

Compared to other traditional Business Modelling tools, Enterprise Architect is less expensive and can address the cost concerns of Business Analysts.

 

With its rich feature set, ease of use and cost effective advantage, Enterprise Architect is the right choice for the Global Organizations who have their extended presence in India through outsourcing or subsidiaries.

 

Please click here for the details of the survey.

Published in News

On October 8th, 2013
in Nuremberg, Germany,

you are invited to join the next

European EA User Group event.

 

This gives EA Users in Central Europe the best opportunity this year to learn, share and explore Enterprise Architect best practice.

 

The venue is the RInghotel Loeuw's Merkur in the heart of Nuremberg.

Building on the experience gained at our hugely successful London event in May, the day will include a range of speakers, workshops and exhibits.
Choose sessions from any of the 3 tracks of content:

  • Track 1 - Systems Engineering Focus (in German)
  • Track 2 - Business Analyst Focus (in German)
  • Track 3 - English stream (including presentations on TOGAF, MDGs, and User stories to inspire and encourage wider adoption of EA in your organisation)

With many speakers and topics unique to this event, and supported by Sparx Systems, this is an event not to be missed. 

The registration fee of just 97€ will provide you with access to practical EA knowledge and experience, lunch and refreshments!
Visit www.eausergroup.com to find out more and book your place.

PS. There are only 150 places available, and they are selling fast, so to make sure that you don't miss this great opportunity, BOOK NOW.

Published in News
This White Paper looks at ways to create project documents that improve project quality, provide readers with relevant, easily navigated information, and give new insights. Using EA and eaDocX, approaches are described that can bring our project communications into the 21st Century.

This White Paper looks at ways to transform our project documents, helping readers to find and use information that is relevant to them. 

In both Waterfall and Agile developments, excellent documents can improve project quality and give new insights. New document capabilities allow authors to create high quality, accurate and targeted documents, and allow readers to navigate their way through them in an intuitive way. 

By storing information in EA, and using eaDocX, approaches are described that can bring our project communications into the 21st Century.  Documents which:

- contain only content which is relevant to the reader

- provide a range of presentation styles 

- engage and hold the reader's attention

- guide the reader as to where they should concentrate their attention

- give the reader freedom to navigate the document’s contents as they wish

eaDocX - document excellence

Published in White Papers

Future Networks and Policy at Scottish & Southern Energy Power Distribution are researching new systems and building foundations for Smart Grid Networks. This paper tells of a journey based on a vision to introduce more formal modelling methods using an IT practice to allow the company to deliver business-driven end-to-end solutions that meet business needs.

Published in White Papers
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