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Requirements Version Management- Why you need it in Project Development

Almost every product evolves through a series of releases or iterations that correct defects, add more features, or update previously implemented features. It’s quite possible that for a product there can be a number of versions running in parallel.

Therefore you need to determine the best ways to store and manage these requirements. And avoid confusion about which requirements were used in each version while branching. An in-depth version control system helps to achieve this. 

Version control or version management allows the management of changes in requirements over time. It allows a complete retrace of all versions in each project, including the author of those versions.

Today, due to the increasing complexity of project development, most project managers, business analysts, or product owners are using requirements version management. In this article, we will discuss the importance of Requirement version management and why you need it in project development.

Importance of Requirements Version Management

Version control or version management is not just a process to manage and track changes to requirements. It helps you develop and ship products faster.

To understand the importance of a version management system in project development, let’s look at these scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: You need to search for a project requirement, but you discover you have multiple versions, and you have no idea, which is the current version. 
  • Scenario 2: Your team member gets feedback from a reviewer and makes changes to a set of requirements, only to find out they updated the wrong version.
  • Scenario 3: An approver signed off on a set of requirements, but you realize they had an old version. Now you need them to sign off all over again.
  • Scenario 4: You need to edit, change, or delete features from an old version while working on the latest version, only to realize you do not have the specifications of the older version.

To avoid such scenarios and save yourself from reworking, or increasing the risk of errors, you need effective requirements version management. Version control not only makes it clear which requirements are part of the latest version. It allows you to check the historical versions.

Three Primary reasons for using Requirements Version Management

Robust version control can benefit your development team in the following three ways:

Team Collaboration

Your team may consist of people from different departments or areas in the organization. And keeping everyone on the same page becomes a challenge. To overcome this, you need to provide global access to your team members at all stages of development.

With the right requirements version management, each team member can work on an independent version without getting confused.

Log change history

Throughout the project development cycle, individuals make many changes. These changes include the creation or deletion of requirements. Version control captures the history of changes including the author, date, and written notes on the purpose of each change. 

Having the complete history enables going back to previous versions to help in root cause analysis for bugs, and fix problems in older versions of the software. 

And if you have compliance and regulations to meet, auditing log history becomes even more necessary.

Traceability

Being able to trace each change made to the project enables you to explain the purpose and intent of each change. It becomes easier to perform root cause analysis. More importantly, it helps your team members understand what and why changes are made. It assists developers in making correct and cordial changes that are in line with the intended long-term design of the product.

Projects typically result in creating a lot of requirement documents, from project reports to deliverables. By using requirements management software with version control, or version management, you can effectively and efficiently track and control changes to these requirements directly within your project.

How do you manage multiple versions of requirements in Jira?

6 comments

Taranjeet Singh Community Leader Aug 12, 2020

@Deepanshu Natani  Nice article! I recognize the value of using version control, not only for source code, but for requirements and tests as well for complete end-to-end traceability.

@Deepanshu Natani Thanks for writing this!  Do you have examples of how you map version controlled requirements to test cases, bugs or feature requests (Jira Issues)?

You can easily map version-controlled requirements to test cases, bugs, or feature requests (Jira Issues) using RMsis which is an addon available in Atlassian Marketplace.

Note: Disclaimer: I am from Optimizory Technologies, the vendor of RMsis

Hi @Tanya C 

As mentioned in above comment, you can easily achieve that using a marketplace addon.

Let me know if you want more details on this.

Charlie Misonne Community Leader Aug 31, 2020

Great article because I think this is something a lot of organizations overlook. We all (hopefully) know and use version control for source code but not always for requirements.

  • Do you recommend any Marketplace solutions from your own experience?
  • And do they support version control of test cases linked to a specific requirement version?

Hi @Charlie Misonne 

As mentioned by @Oliva Maity {Optimizory Technologies} above, RMsis is the only marketplace application which supports versioning of requirements and test cases. You should definitely try it out.

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