REVIEWER: Bruce E. Barton, systems engineer for Harris Corporation's Government Communications Systems Division (GCSD).
BACKGROUND: Harris Corporation is an international communications equipment and systems company focused on providing assured communications solutions for government and commercial customers in more than 150 countries. The company's five operating divisions serve markets for government communications, tactical radio, broadcast, microwave and network support.
PLATFORMS: Harris installed Telelogic DOORS on a 2.7 GHz HP server, with dual ProLiant ML370 G3 processors, 1GB RAM, a 2.6GB swap file and a RAID 5 file system. The server runs Windows 2000 Advanced Server SP3, with a mix of Windows NT 4.0 SP6A and Windows 2000 SP3 clients. The installation supports 500 users.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Harris GCSD conducts advanced research studies, develops prototypes, and produces and supports state- of-the-art, highly reliable communications and information systems worth millions or even billions of dollars that solve the mission-critical communications challenges of its military and government customers. In addition, Harris GCSD provides the technology base for the company's diverse commercial businesses. Harris' overall goal was to ensure it built the right products for its customers the first time. This goal demanded careful, detailed tracking of thousands of requirements, which change or evolve over time. Harris needed an easier, consistent, more reliable and faster way to manage and track these requirements, assess the impact of change requests, derive system specifications from customer requirements and determine project status.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Since implementing DOORS, Harris GCSD has further refined its development life cycle management process by efficiently and consistently flowing requirements down from the top-level customer requirements. Using DOORS, Harris derives requirements from the customer on one side and verifies that the requirements are satisfied on the other side. Harris set up views to trace links to child requirements as well as to look for requirements with no parents. This provides their customers with the confidence that requirements are not lost, overlooked or misunderstood, and that they address all the requirements and don't introduce unnecessary ones. DOORS' built- in traceability makes it simpler to analyze the cost of pending change, from both engineering business perspectives.
STRENGTHS: DOORS can automatically parse multiple source document types, making it easy to create structured, hierarchical requirements sets from customer documents. DOORS automatically records change, providing a permanent record of what has been changed, when and by whom, for historical traceability and accountability. DOORS has built-in views for analysis, and users can create custom views to see only what affects them. The DOORS extension language allows users to customize the tool readily. OLE objects can be embedded in the requirements or linked externally to provide additional supporting data. Access control can be populated by groups or users, simplifying administration. The tool scaled to support more than 60 Harris projects, each with thousands of requirements.
WEAKNESSES: DOORS does not generate production-quality documents, and the rich-text and formatting capabilities are not as rich as a typical word processor. DOORS keeps all links within a single document view; but with long linksets, scrolling is required. Being able to freeze panes or create a split view would ease navigation.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Several years ago, a team of 12 users evaluated 11 requirements management tools, ranking them in 13 categories: intuitive-to-use, market share, cost per seat, bi-directional traceability, change history, import/export functionality, ease of customization, multiuser capacity, performance, auto-parsing requirements, ease of editing, ease of administration and document creation. After narrowing it down to two finalists, the evaluation team was trained on each and spent two days in a hands-on comparison. The decision was unanimous for DOORS.
DELIVERABLES: DOORS allows Harris' staff to demonstrate at a mouse click how they allocated customer requirements, how they derived customer requirements into system specifications and how they plan to implement the requirements. Coupled with strict controls over how requirements are modified (and by whom), they've improved the quality of their requirements and their projects.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Support has been good overall. While more routine support could be improved, Telelogic recently added a dispatch function to speed response times. Critical issues have been handled promptly and efficiently, and were escalated quickly.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is good. The built-in help is context sensitive, and there is a full set of manuals available. The DOORS DXL Reference Manual is particularly helpful, with easy to understand examples of scripts.
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