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Thursday, 12 January 2017 09:14

Requirements Checklists

Requirements Checklist

by Phil Chudley, Principal Consultant

There is a hidden gem in Enterprise Architect (I am using version 13), but this gem is available in previous versions (I believe version 11 and version 12).

This is an element called a Requirements Checklist, although it could be used as a checklist for other elements.

A Requirements Checklist allows the modeller to create a list of check-boxes, which can be used against an element (or elements), to manage at least the following:

  • Element completeness.
  • Element quality.

This article introduces the Requirements Checklist and illustrates how such an element can be used and customised.


Default Use

A Requirements Checklist element can be added to a model diagram (the element can be found on the Requirements Diagram Toolbox) or added directly to a package within the project browser.

When added to a diagram, the Requirements Checklist has the following appearance:

Requirements Checklist - Enterprise Architect Element

Double-clicking opens the following dialog:

Requirements Checklist - Checklist items dialog

Clicking on a checkbox will check the checkbox as shown below:

Requirements Checklist - Checklist items dialog

Then upon clicking Close, the Requirements Checklist element will display on a diagram as shown below:

Using the dialog invoked via double-clicking, the appearance of the check box can be modified as shown below:

Checked Item Style <none>  Checked Item Style Strikeout  Checked Item Style Greyed 

Relating to an Element (or Elements)

Elements can be related to Requirement Checklist using any of the usual techniques in Enterprise Architect, namely:

  • Quicklink on a diagram.
  • Toolbox relationship on a diagram.
  • Relationship Matrix.

Which Relationship to Use and which direction?

Using the diagram Quicklink, the modeller is presented with the following choices:

  • Dependency.
  • Trace.
  • Information Flow.

Which relationship to choose to up to the individual modeller, but ideally, the modeller will choose a relationship that “makes sense” to all stakeholders in the project.

My own personal choice is Dependency drawn from an Element to the Requirements Checklist.

The most important issue is:

No matter what relationship is used and no matter which direction is used, the same type of relationship and the same direction must be used consistently throughout the entire model by all modellers.

The main reason for this statement is for the production of documentation and reporting (covered in a future newsletter).


Configuring the Requirements Checklist Element

Although not immediately obvious, is the ability to customise the list and text of the check boxes.

A modeller can define their own list of checkboxes by using the following steps:

  1. Double-click the Requirements Checklist to show Dialog.
  2. Right-click on a check box entry and select Edit (to modify), Delete (to remove) this checkbox item. An example of such a modification is shown below:
  3. Click Close to apply the changes.

Re-using Requirements Checklist

Different elements may require different checklist elements, therefore I recommend the following modelling strategy:

  1. Create a Package in which to create / store all the different configurations of the Requirements Checklist element. (A list of “master checklists)
  2. When wishing to use one of these checklist elements:
    • Right-click a checklist element (or checklist elements) and select Copy to clipboard > Full structure for duplication.
    • Select another package in the project browser, right-click and select Paste Element(s) from clipboard.

Summary

In this article I have presented an overview of an often overlooked element in Enterprise Architect, namely the Requirements Checklist. I have also described how such elements can be customised and re-used from a library of “master checklists”.

In a future article I will describe some techniques for producing documents which detail elements and their related checklists.


Phil Chudley
Principal Consultant
Dunstan Thomas Consulting
@SparxEAGuru

You’ll find lots of useful Enterprise Architect videos on our YouTube Channel.

Published in Tutorials

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

 

Hippo Software’s new ‘EA for GUI Design’ course teaches delegates how to capture end user requirements and create wireframe diagrams to design the layout of user interfaces, mobile apps or websites.

http://www.hippo-software.co.uk/pages/EAforGUIDesign.htm

Published in News

Updated 9th June, 2016: Covering all new features available in Enterprise Architect 12.1

Enterprise Architect integrates Requirements Management with other software development disciplines, by creating requirements directly in the model. Requirements Management is built into the core product, solving many of the issues of traceability, interdisciplinary team divisions, integration with change and configuration management systems.  Read the following whitepaper for more information:

Published in White Papers

July Webinar Announced by Sparx Systems, register Today:

http://www.sparxsystems.com/resources/webinar/webinar-registration.html

Business requirements are often stored as text documents, resulting in poor traceability, lost requirements and flawed software design. The Specification Manager in Enterprise Architect 11 can help address issues of traceability while providing the convenience of a simple in-place text editor. Create, edit and review elements as text representations of objects in the model, using a process that is well understood and familiar to business analysts and management professionals alike.

In this webinar you will learn how to:

  • Create and edit model elements with ease, using Indicator Icons to examine important relationships, linked documents and object properties.
  • Create a review document and leverage element discussions to improve the quality of your software specification.
  • Leverage tools for traceability, change management, documentation and team collaboration from a single view.
Published in News
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 12:06

Exploring EA 11 Specification Manager

Introduction


Specification Manager introduced in Enterprise Architect 11, provides a simple document view for editing and maintaining model elements in Enterprise Architect. Specification Manager's Word Processor like interface makes it easier for the key stake holders and business users to contribute and maintain the model elements.

This document intends to peek into the features of Specification Manager and how its combination with other Enterprise Architect's features and plugins makes Enterprise Architect a powerful Application Life Cycle Modeling tool, especially in the area of Requirements and Use Case management.

The disruptive innovations like Social Media, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud are forcing the organizations to change their rigid operations and process to sustain their business. Organizations are looking to embrace the Automated Application Lifecycle Management tools to minimize the risks caused by these innovations.

However most of the organizations existing artifacts are stored in the Word processors and they face the below challenges while embracing the tools.

Top reasons that deter any organization/end user from embracing an ALM/Modeling/Requirements Management tools are 

  1. Challenge of Migrating the existing documents in the Word Processors to the Tools
  2. Users reluctance to move away from the word processor environment which they are comfortable with
  3. Learning Curve for the end users to familiarize themselves with the tools.

 It is imperative that any ALM / Modeling / Requirement Management tools should have the following features to be more successful 

  1. Ability to import the artefacts from the existing word processors
  2. Ability to export the EA elements back in the form Word processors/html for wider circulation
  3. Provide an Interface similar to the word processors for ease of use 

The below table list the key features Sparx Enterprise Architect that helps organizations to address the above challenges

Interface Similar to Word Processors

Import Artefacts from word processors

Export Elements back to Word Processors

Specification Manager

CSV import feature

XMI import

EA word importer (free plug –in)

Document Generator

HTML Report

XMI export

 Key Features of Specification Manager


 Word Processor like Interface

View and Edit Requirements or other element types in a view that looks like a document

The interface enables the

  • Users to modify the elements properties and Metadata.
  • The Notes and the Requirement Names can be modified like a word processor.

Create New Elements using the interface

 

 

Windows Explorer like UI for browsing the Model Elements

Filter Elements in the package as per your convenience

 

Search for Elements that need to edited or reviewed


View the associated Details of the elements

  • Linked documents
  • Discussions

· Relationships to other elements

  • Resource allocations
  • Maintenance items
  • Files
  • Test
  • Risks

Each indicator icon can be double-clicked to take you to that information 

Comprehensive Review Features


 

Create Review Document and View Associated Review Documents

 

Integrated with Team Review

 

 

Initiate Element Discussions for reviewing in a collaborated environment

 

Manage Traceability and Relationship Matrix

 

  • See exactly which Relationship Matrix profiles exist for that package and open them
  • Create new Relationship Matrix profiles for the elements you are viewing quickly and easily
  • See the available Relationship Matrix profiles for visible packages

 

 

Version Control and Documentation

Manage Package Baseline

 

View Audit Trial

Generate Docx, PDF and RTF Documents

Print Documents

Publish HTML Report

With the introduction of Specification Manager , Enterprise Architect will satisfy the needs of the Business User who is looking for a familiar word processor like interface and the Corporates need for a dynamic Application Management Tool which with live traceability which can be used in a distributed environment.


EAWordImporter


EA Word Importer is a free plugin that lets you import your requirements, Use Cases and other information from your Word documents into Enterprise Architect as model elements.

Visit the previous Community Blog or visit www.eawordimporter.com for details.


Power of Enterprise Architect combined with Specification Manager and EA Word Importer


The below diagram depicts a typical life cycle of Requirements and Use cases flow using Enterprise Architect where Requirements and Use cases are already created in Word Processors.

Conclusion


With the introduction of Specification Manager and EAWordImporter , Enterprise Architect offers the power of comprehensive Requirements Management tool at a very competitive price.

Published in Tutorials

As practicing Enterprise Architect consultants, we have the opportunity to interact with various corporates for training, consulting and providing Enterprise Architect demonstrations. We encounter the following standard queries:

 

We have lots of Requirements and Use Cases in Microsoft Word ™ documents. Can we import them into Enterprise Architect “?

“Can our Business Analysts continue to work in Microsoft Word™ which they are familiar with and then have the artifacts imported into EA?

These queries highlighted the need for a standard Word importer that helps the Enterprise Architect users to

Import the existing Requirements and Use Case Models in Microsoft Word ™ format into Enterprise Architect as elements.

Enable the Business Analysts to work with the Microsoft Word Documents™ and still leverage the power of Enterprise Architect for Traceability, Impact analysis, Version control and much more……

EAWI (Enterprise Architect Word Importer) is here to address the above challenges.

*EA Word Importer lets you import your requirements, Use Cases and other information from your Word documents into Enterprise Architect as model elements.*


      What do we solve?

     
     

How does it work?


    

Check out the listing on the Sparx Systems website:
 
http://www.sparxsystems.com/products/3rdparty.html#WordImporter

or Visit:

www.eamwordimporter.com

 

Published in Community Resources

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
Thursday, 19 December 2013 22:49

Enterprise Jigsaw Puzzle

 

Imagine that a group of people are putting together a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces continually change shape as do the spaces that they must eventually fill. Each group has responsibilities to the completion of the overall puzzle but more importantly must develop their own respective piece of this puzzle and ensure that ultimately, that piece seamlessly complements those shared boundaries created by the relationships of others. This scenario of mutual dependencies and volatility could be analogous of any organisation in the current hyper-competitive business environment.

 

 

 

Of course each team can communicate with others throughout the project, but without a fully shared vision, collaboration will be sub-optimal. Ideas and innovations will remain siloed within each group and should the puzzle ever be completed on time and to budget, it will have many disconnects, repetitions, gaps, and missing pieces. Some groups will produce excellence, but no group can fully share its value with the others.

 

 

 

Ultimately, someone must have overall responsibility for coordination of the effort and more importantly management of inherent risk, resources and timelines, all of which demands access to technology solutions. Each piece, complementary space and multi-shared relationship in the puzzle requires collaboration between many different stakeholders.

 

The plan and co-ordinated approach shared by each team responsible for each piece must be captured at the beginning and the ability to communicate and share progress at the individual, team and organisational level must be made transparent, simplified, and accessible to everyone.

 

 

 

The responsibility for Enterprise Architecture falls to the Chief Enterprise Architect. However, the creation of the architecture is a shared task. Stakeholder equity of access to enabling technology is imperative - and it must be affordable. Every role, including managers, analysts, systems architects, and engineers must have sufficient understanding of the strategy detail, allowing them to make informed decisions and to execute the plan that leads to realization of the shared vision.

 

 

 

Enterprise Architect provides the ultimate collaboration solution, transparently interlinking all of the individuals and groups in a shared vision, while enabling an inclusive and contextual decision history across the local and global locality of the project teams. Enterprise Architect is an enterprise requirements definition and management platform, with full support for collaboration including authoring, validating, and managing requirements, and communicating those requirements to the broader team through seamless integration.At any future time, and as the delivered solution evolves to meet changing business objectives, the thread of those original decisions can be continually reviewed, tracked and monitored to ensure complete traceability.

 

 

 

For more information on requirements management in Enterprise Architect, please visit: http://www.sparxsystems.com/resources/demos/requirements-management.html

 

 

 

To learn more about tools for traceability in Enterprise Architect, please refer to the following webinar:

 

http://www.sparxsystems.com/resources/demos/traceabilitytools/webinar-tools-for-traceability.html

 

 

 

Published in White Papers

On 5 February 2014, the next European EA User Group event will take place in Utrecht. This Enterprise Architect event is for professionals who work with this tool and want to share knowledge to use EA more effectively.

Are you interested in how you can use EA for your role or organization? How EA can be used in combination with other tools? What the important tips and tricks are from the use of EA?

We have lined up a range of speakers to appeal to many different disciplines who can use Enterprise Architect, such as project management, architecture, requirements management, development and testing.View the full agenda, including presentations in English and Dutch.

This event is taking place at the headquarters of NS, who are pleased to welcome the European EA User Group. Sign up at www.eausergroup.com and join us on 5 February in Utrecht.

 


Op 5 februari 2014 wordt het Europese EA User Group evenement georganiseerd in Utrecht. Dit Enterprise Architect event is voor alle professionals die werken met deze tool en kennis willen opdoen om EA nog effectiever in te kunnen zetten.

De sprekers op deze dag zullen  verschillende disciplines aanspreken die gebruik kunnen maken van Enterprise Architect, zoals projectmanagement, architectuur, requirements management, ontwikkeling en test.   

Ben je geïnteresseerd op welke manier je EA kan inzetten voor jou rol of organisatie? Hoe je EA kan gebruiken in combinatie met andere tools? Wat de belangrijke tips&tricks zijn van het gebruik van EA?

Meld je dan aan via www.eausergroup.com zodat we je op 5 februari in Utrecht op het Hoofdkantoor van NS kunnen verwelkomen op de Europese EA User Group. 

Published in News
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