A Design for Life (with apologies to the Manics)
May 7, 2010 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Software for requirements gathering/SDLC - there has to be something out there, right?

Hi Mefi's,

I'm often doing a hybrid role of business analyst and interaction design in my work, so I'm managing (or sheparding through) the requirements process for digital products. Is there something reasonable out there software wise that will manage the whole SLDC - from the interviews stage where I get goals and requirements, to rough wireframes that show where it lives in the GUI? Doesn't have to involve an actual prototype per se - that would be nice, but there's enough tools do that - but something that I can tie what the clients have said ('I want x') to what the product might be ('x lives here'), and that a client can see on an project Extranet and ideally comment on (like on ConceptShare). I don't want to side step the whole formal business requirements documentation stage, but for a smaller project, I want to be able to tie all of this together in a simple way. I don't mind working in OmniGraffle or Visio for the wireframes, but I'm looking for biz analysis and interaction design together in one application.

I'm looking ideally for a Web based SaaS (so it's platform independent - or Mac based, if it's out there), not insanely expensive (a couple of hundred bucks at the most?), something semi-ready for prime time (i.e solid software that's not crashing all the time). The software doesn't have to be insanely feature heavy or a glossy UI - just that it works. I've looked at a lot of what's out there (see below), but there's nothing reasonable there that's not expensive - unless MeFi's know of something, which I hope.

Here's what I've found, and what's lacking with them:

- Axure RP Pro: $589, Mac, not really life cycle integrated, ready (i.e. stable)
- Serena Prototype: free, not for Mac, somewhat life cycle, ready
- iRise: insanely expensive, not for Mac, semi life cycle (different apps not integrated into one), ready
- IBM Rational DOORS (what used to be Rose: expensive, not for Mac, semi life cycle (different apps not integrated into one), ready
- Requirements One: free, Web based, not life cycle (just requirements), ready
- Serena Prototype: - free, not for Mac, ready
- Stpsoft StoryboardingTM: expensive, not for Mac, ready
- Tigris: free, Web based (or Java), semi life cycle (different apps not integrated into one), not yet ready

Serena is getting there as far as a solution goes, but I'd love Web based, and the whole 'Parallels for Mac, then upload it to a Web site' process is cumbersome if I spend most of time time using a Mac.

There's also hack solutions (i.e. using Intranets and Backpacks with Word and Excel.) but they're not so much solutions as work arounds. Additionally, if there's a better way to note the requirements - or a better place I should direct this question (a good business analyst community) let me know. Ideally I'm love to incorporate more UML stuff in there too (use cases and activity diagrams) so that we can eventually tie in code, but I realize that's asking too much, and that's more of an 'UML doesn't do interaction design well' discussion.

Any ideas, or is the Axure/iRise as best as we can get?
posted by rmm to Technology (1 answer total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm familiar with some of these, but don't like any enough to make a recommendation. However, here's a good article on what to look for, and some comparisons:

Automating Requirements Management by Karl E. Wiegers

It's a real art to find the right "weight" of a tool, as measured by project size, duration, feasibility, number of shareholders, number of interfaces, etc. We're currently using a hodgepodge of 2 systems of the weight you cite above, plus spreadsheets, text docs on shared drives, web pages, email, and whiteboards.
posted by at at 10:42 PM on May 7, 2010

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