Saturday, January 09, 2010

Nice Application To Handle Requirements Management

One thing that’s been tricky at our company has been requirements management. There’s no problem gathering requirements and creating a document that describes them, the trouble comes when we need to create TFS (Team Foundation Server) work items based on those requirements. There’s always a chance of a requirement being lost (especially true for very large documents) and not getting a TFS work item created for it – a big problem indeed. Certainly there have been cases when a missed requirement was not discovered until near the end of the a project, a rather large ‘ouch’ moment!

In the past, a colleague of mine did tinker with a prototype Word addin that allows a user to highlight sections of a Word 2007 document and mark it as a requirement. He never finished it, mainly due to time, plus the scale of what we needed as a requirements management solution needed something more then just a simple addin. However, I’ve just found this very interesting product – ‘TeamSpec for TFS Requirements Management’. I’m keen to have a look at this since it could be just the ticket for us. Basically this application allows you to integrate Word 2007 documents with TFS, giving you the ability to create work items and link them into the document. The advantage is that you are linking directly between the document and the work items, which means, for example, when viewing the document you get a live update of that work item’s state (if the ‘State’ field has been included in the document).

Not only that, but it also saves time since currently we must write the requirements document, then someone has to go through the document again, picking out each requirement, and creating work items for them. Very tedious; this was crying out for a better solution! There’s a nice explorer window that appears in Word which shows you the work items linked into the document:


On the right is the explorer window which is showing 4 work items. Each work item is described in the document in the bullet points. You can pick and choose which work item fields to display in the document, each field in binded to the work item in TFS which means that any updates to a work item in TFS is synchronized in the document. There’s a lot of cool features in this product, check out the site and see for yourself.