Every organization approaches the concept of "requirements" differently.  Factors include general history, skill set, complexity, and agility.  Many development organizations are adopting Team Foundation Server to help improve team communication & collaboration, project control & visibility, and generally a more integrated experience across the various actors in the application lifecycle. 

The more pervasive TFS becomes in an organization, the more I'm asked about managing requirements within the confines if Team System.  Some shops want to know about how to integrate more RM-specific applications into the platform, while others want to leverage TFS as much as possible and wait until Microsoft releases a requirements management solution (I know, I know, Word is the most widely-used requirements tool in the world - but I think you know what I mean by now!).

If you're trying to choose which path to take (TFS-only or a partner integration), here are a few basic considerations:

 

  Benefits Drawbacks
TFS Only
  • Affordability (only a TFS CAL is required)
  • Full integration with rest of the application lifecycle (existing infrastructure is leveraged for reporting & visibility)
  • Consistent capture & storage mechanism for all project artifacts.
  • Lack of specific focus on the analyst role
  • Interface may be a bit "heavy" and counter-intuitive for analysts.
Partner Integrations
  • Can immediately provide requirements-specific capabilities (rich-text, use case diagramming, etc.)
  • Many can trace/link to work items in TFS, providing end-to-end visibility
  • Cost (Most partner tools require their own licenses, and each user still requires a TFS CAL from Microsoft.  Maintenance costs may be a factor as well)
  • Additional skill set is required for partner tool

Some requirements-related resources (other links can be found in the various parts of this series):

Well, I hope you at least found this series worth the time it took you to read it.  I welcome any comments and feedback as this topic is always shifting in perception, intention, schools of thought.

Series: