Four ways to manage software requirements in Jira

Apps, Atlassian, Requirements & Test Management

12 July 2019 • 22 min read

    Updated by Tatiana Glazkova on April 20, 2021

    Product requirements management is the process of documenting, analyzing, tracing, prioritizing, and agreeing on requirements, then controlling changes and communicating them between team members and other stakeholders. Being an initial part of software development, gathering requirements has a strong impact on as far as stages. That’s why the well-organized management of this phase is so important and should be treated on the same level as other activities. Unfortunately, it’s not always the case. During the project development, requirements often tend to be collected in external files, Excel sheets, or separate tools. In order to be able to track the progress of all your activities and maintain a continuous process, it’s inevitable to have the objects gathered in one place. That’s what Jira can help you with. 

    Requirements management affects the whole project

    Requirements are aimed at defining what functions or capabilities the final product should have in order to ultimately solve user problems, as well as achieve business goals. If we have them specified, it’s easier to plan the next steps of development, divide the roles and responsibilities. Many companies underestimate it without knowing that this omission is considered one of the main reasons for a possible failure of the final product. If the requirements for a specific project are not enough systematized from the very outset, the implementation of the project can be delayed, misunderstood between team members, or, ultimately, turned into a waste of time and money.

    The graph below illustrates an example of an effective approach to requirements management. With this detailed analysis before implementation, the risk of work duplication or the need to roll back is minimized.

    Scheme of typical requirements management modelAn example of an effective approach to requirements management

    Bringing your requirements into Jira

    Why choose the Atlassian product for your requirements management? The answer depends on your particular aims, but Jira as a testing tool usually meets the expectations of even the most demanding team members. Originally invented for tracking and managing projects, Jira Software enables developers to control the process from end to end and achieve the final products’ goals. With great customization options, users can personalize the software to speed up the process and make it the most suitable for their needs. Jira makes it possible to gather the requirements inside the same tool as other project-related issues and link them between each other. Thanks to that, you can keep testing and execute the whole software development together in a consistent interface. Anyone with access to the data can track the changes that have been made. Developers, testers, and stakeholders can track every step of the way.

    There is a wide range of project types and structures. Each of them requires an individual solution. Multiple options of documenting product requirements in Jiraallow you and your team members to choose which model is best for you. We distinguish three main ways of collecting requirements in Jira, which are chosen at the very beginning and contribute to the success of the final release.

    Four ways to manage software requirements in Jira

    1. Requirements as issue types

    This is the most basic way to manage your requirements in the Atlassian Marketplace, as if you were already using Jira to manage your projects, storing objects as issue types is intuitive to implement. A smart way to plan your workflow is to design a software development project based on previously established and validated requirements. This decision helps you decide where to go and assign specific roles and permissions to stakeholders.

    Since Jira admins have permissions to create customized Jira issue types, all you have to do is to organize the customization of issues, specifically those dedicated to requirements, and then define each issue with the appropriate Labels and Components. Consistency in the description of the problem will make filtering and searching for specific requirements much easier and faster. Storing items in Jira helps establish elementary connections between related requests. If the requirements are directly dependent, we can build a functional structure by linking the corresponding tasks and subtasks to each other.

    2. Integration with Confluence

    Confluence is also an Atlassian product that helps you get seamless integration of your requirements pages with Jira issues. It gives a possibility to develop the requirements structure built-in standalone Jira and allows to bring it to a higher level. Development issues and tasks can be created directly from requirements pages, so we maintain seamless integration between related entities. The main purpose of Confluence is to optimize documentation work. To do this, it can store and present much more detailed information than Jira custom fields. Confluence provides its users with a Blueprint template to make it easier and faster to describe requirements details on the wiki platform. When you decide on Confluence for requirements management, your team gains multiple options. They are the following:

    • you can build the entire requirements structure in Jira and write down the details of the requirements on dedicated pages;
    • instead of separating the requirements, you can put the entire specification in one Confluence document;
    • the third option is based on creating a tree structure of subpages in Confluence and connecting them to the project with requirements collected in Jira so that you can track progress.

    Storing requirements in this space is surely more intuitive and efficient than gathering them in external tools or Excel sheets. All activities related to requirements management executed in two environments connected on such a high level encourages discussions and improve communication between the stakeholders.

    A product requirements page in Confluence

    A product requirements page in Confluence. Source: Atlassian Documentation

    3. Dedicated apps from the Atlassian Marketplace

    There are different tools designed for requirements management in the Atlassian suite. Requirements and Test Management for Jira (RTM) and TestFLO – Test Management for Jira are the ones developed by Deviniti that deserve to be highlighted.

    Requirements and Test Management for Jira (RTM) allows structuring not only requirements but also test cases, thus completing a software project in Jira. RTM allows maintaining full integration with Jira and provides the connection between requirements, epics and user stories, and test-related issues. The requirements are well-structured with categorized folders and subfolders so that the items are clear to all stakeholders. This flexibility allows teams to reflect a structure that can be built into Confluence as needed. The tool gives us easy and intuitive access to view the relationships between objects. There are also built-in reports such as Traceability Matrix or Requirements Coverage to help ensure that all requirements are covered by the appropriate features and test cases, so every detail will not be overlooked. To self-test the application you can see the app’s roadmap, ask questions to the support, or book a live demo. There is a free 30-day trial of RTM that can be taken as well.

    RTM for Jira lets you put your requirements in a tree-structured viewRTM for Jira lets you put your requirements in a tree-structured view, transparent for all the team members

    TestFLO – Test Management for Jira is a highly customizable test management tool for Jira that meets the most advanced team requirements and external standards. It integrates with the Jira Issue view, provides dedicated custom fields, and workflow extensions for managing and executing tests. TestFLO is adjusted to monitor the progress every step on the way with transparent reports. There is a Test Repository to quickly create test cases, test plans, and add preconditions. It enables software testing in Jira via REST API and connects to the CI/CD pipeline to test in the DevOps cycle. TestFLO supports running automated tests in Jenkins and Bamboo and viewing their results in Jira along with manual test cases. To show how testing in TestFLO looks like, the developers offer an Online Store Application project with sample data on the demo playground (login/pass: testflo). Deviniti Support Center can help you to book a session to try the applications free and answer your questions.

    TestFLO Test Repository: filter results, charts, issue statistics

    4. Comparing Deviniti applications

    Both RTM and TestFLO applications are embedded into Jira to bring a software project right inside in one place and empower a team to be more productive. Their full traceability from requirements through test cases to bugs helps to comply with internal acceptance policies or external standards required by law. RTM and TestFLO both support successively seven stages that are the following:

    • requirements analysis;
    • test case specification;
    • end-to-end traceability with a tree-structured organization of the tasks;
    • very customized test plans;
    • test execution directly from Jira;
    • defects fixation;
    • test result reports.

    Below there is a table to compare the target audience and technical features of the applications.

    TestFlo vs RTM: target audience and features

    As you see from the table, some application features differ. By overseeing mature and complex software testing processes, TestFLO is suitable for large enterprises, highly regulated industries, requirements testing, Agile, and DevOps testing. However, RTM offers various customizable reports for progress tracking. Both apps can be easily installed without any additional training.

    Storing requirements in Jira Software can contribute to a big improvement of your projects. It is no secret that performing all software development within one tool speeds up the process and makes it more understandable for all stakeholders than using external solutions. Everyone can keep up and follow the changes every step of the way. If you choose to leverage the specific requirements and test management tools for Jira, your range of capabilities expands even further. Testing apps can provide you with requirements coverage reports and many other features that, when used correctly, support an efficient, well-organized workflow and prevent potential bugs in the final product.

    Deviniti is an Atlassian Platinum Solution Enterprise Partner and a Platinum Marketplace Partner. We’ve developed two Jira add-ons for requirements and test management, as well as dozens of applications for other purposes available on the Atlassian Marketplace. If you need any support in finding the right solution for your business, feel free to go through a short quiz on our website.

    Read more on bringing requirements and test management into the Atlassian suite on Deviniti blog:

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