Agile user requirements and design specification

The current mode of development at our company is very much 'waterfall'. We want to move to more of an agile methodology. However, our clients will still demand a requirements specification, design specification and test specification at the end of the project.

Additionally, we need to be able to produce 'traceability' matrices which basically prove that each user requirement has been implemented (or explain why not) and tested. So I guess each section in the design specification would need to link to a requirement, and each test would link to a requirement/bug. At the moment we do this all manually using a combination of Word and Excel. It gets very complicated and error-prone, especially when creating the traceability matrix for projects with large numbers of requirements.

Ideally we need a system that allows us to change and version requirements and design specifications, export to word/pdf, and produce these traceability matrices.

Can Atlassian products be used to achieve this?

3 answers

Yes. Confluence+JIRA.

Lately I've been involved in development of some quite complicated product, having a lot of mathematics/chemistry implied. W/O specs you cannot (or hardly) achieve something like this in the Agile world. Agile product development works quite well for what I called data manipulation and transformation software, where UI is paramount, not for systems that are exact / scientific in nature.

So use Confluence and JIRA, like I did. You still have to work to maintain the matrices (well, only users can offer a meaning to the data, transforming it into information), but these 2 products really help you a lot.

Thanks a lot for your answer Radu. Could you tell me how you achieved this? Is there some documentation you could point me towards that would give me some specifics on how to do it? Thanks.

Standard stuff: templates (blueprints) in Confluence, links to Jira (and back), tables of issues with lozenges, stuff like this, lists of issues in confluences grouped by labels, cfs, etc. Try to adapt the pair of products for you to see if you achieve what you want. It's the best advice I can offer

Read all about JIRA Agile and how it works. https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/AGILE/JIRA+Agile+Documentation. A High Level Overview on what I think it can offer you (and it to us)

  • JIRA Agile has an hierarchy for the issues Epic > Stories > Sub-Tasks. 
    • Epic can be your "High Level Requirements". The major things that needs to be done, like "Database", "User Interface", "Notifications", "Security"
    • Within these Epics, create "Stories" which will be your chunks of work with the details on what needs to be done on a high level. For example, in the Epic "Security", create a story like "As an End user of System A, I want a login page that authenticates to AD so that I can securely access the system", and so on.
    • If you like more granularity, create 'Sub-Tasks' for each Story which will have the actual work on it. A Sub-Task named 'Technical Tasks' and so on.
    • For Testing, you can create a 'Sub-Task' called "Test Case" which eventually can be traced back to the Login Page Story, under the Epic "Security"
  • Confluence can help you in documenting Release Notes, Changes, Sprint Status, Issue Statuses, Documentation and so on. For me, I like to keep everything in one place. The Business Requirement (EPIC) details will be in one central place only.

Disclaimer: I'm the author.

You can check out Requirement Yogi for Confluence and its JIRA connector: It doesn't help you yet with traceability matrixes, but at least you can use an identifier for each item in a requirement document, and see which JIRA issues are linked to it.

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