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Visual Trace Spec: An Advanced Requirements Management Tool

Affordable, Scalable and Flexible High-performance RM

Visual Trace Spec is useful for small projects that contain hundreds of requirements to very large projects with tens of thousands of requirements. Unlike other tools, which provide slow performance for large sets of requirements and other artifacts, Visual Trace Spec provides peak desktop performance across LAN, WAN and wireless Internet connections.

Requirements may be arranged in multi-level, multi-hierarchies that are completely customizable. It is easy to navigate through requirements by using the hierarchies or advanced reusable filters, as well as via searches with text keywords and IDs.

Requirements may be captured in a fully-configurable interface (that includes grid, card, tree and document views) or by using spreadsheets. Visual Trace Spec also includes a pre-defined standard template for requirements captures. Users can customize and reuse these templates, or create completely customized templates tailored to an organization’s specific needs.

Furthermore, Visual Trace Spec provides the combined power of a spreadsheet and word processor, but it is easier to use and provides additional benefits, including: enabling multiple users to work concurrently on requirements; automatic version control; graphical parent-child relationships; the ability to link requirements to other artifacts; and many more features.

Visual Trace Spec is equally and fully effective for software and for systems development projects – and it can be used with any lifecycle process, such as Scrum, V-model, Agile, Waterfall or Hybrid. As well, Visual Trace Spec provides flexible, unique and unmatched advanced-requirements management features, at a fraction of the cost of other development tools.

Flexible Requirements Specification

Visual Trace Spec allows for use of Agile or non-Agile requirements specification methods for any project. Requirements may be specified with user stories, use cases or hierarchical requirements lists. Specifications can also include diagrams and embedded objects (RTF fragments such as formatted text, tables, images, etc.). There are integrated RTF and diagram editors.

Detailed or deriving requirements specification can be created with parent-child relationships with unlimited depth. The structure is automatically reflected in document output.

Visual Trace Spec provides a standard template for user stories, requirements and use cases. Users can also create custom templates for requirements specifications.

Users can define their own prefixes for identification of different types of requirements. For example, FR could be used for identifying functional requirements, whereas UR might be used for identifying user requirements.

Moreover, project stakeholders can easily collaborate on requirements specification without geographical location constraints.

Requirements Views/ Attributes

One of the unique features of Visual Trace Spec is its views functionality, including the ability to create unlimited custom attributes and views for requirements. For example, there can be different views for user and functional requirements. Views can share attributes and can have different identification prefixes. Views are also useful in requirements analysis, graphical analysis, controlling access, and more.

Visual Trace Spec provides a predefined requirements template with user-defined attributes, including priority, status, etc. Attributes within the requirements template may be customized to have several properties for effective process control – for implementing required fields, auditing attribute changes, and optionally recording a forced-attribute value change reason. Custom attributes may also be used to mark a record as suspect when a value of the attribute is changed.

Attachments

Any requirement in Visual Trace Spec can be attached to files or documents, which can be stored and shared with team members in a fully-featured document/file management system. It provides locking, check in/check out and versioning.

requirements specification

Requirements Documentation

Users can easily create list reports by using custom filters, drag-and-drop grouping, and multi-column sorting. The reports may be exported or printed in customizable PDF formats.

With Visual Trace Spec, documents can be automatically generated with pre-formatted templates. Custom formatted document templates, which conform to your company identity and standards, can be created with a built-in drag-and-drop report designer. The documents can include calculated fields, rich text objects, diagrams and sub-reports.

Requirements Lists

Visual Trace Spec allows users to view subsets of requirements by views, types and advanced, customizable, re-usable filters. In addition, multi-column sorting, drag-and-drop grouping may be used to view a subset of requirements. The requirements lists can be displayed in grid can also be exported to Excel.

Requirements Metrics

Visual Trace Spec includes graphs and grid summary calculations for requirements metrics. Requirements can also be exported as Excel files for further analysis.

Multi-Project and Multi-Product Support

Visual Trace Spec’s project tree structure is completely flexible for concurrently managing requirements for single or multiple products. Multiple projects can also be used for multiple products. Users may switch between multiple projects using a single user name and password.

Notifications

Visual Trace Spec’s built-in notification system can be used for requirements comments, reviews and discussions, which are automatically attached to the related requirements. So, users can readily access all of the relevant information (discussions/reviews/comments) related to a requirement in threads. Notifications can be sent to the built-in notification center and/or users emails.

Interface with Other Tools

Visual Trace Spec provides powerful export and import utilities for round trip data exchange with various files, tools and databases. For instance, users can use XML, XLS, Text (tab, comma, etc.) or HTML formats to import and export data automatically from various tools. Visual Trace Spec also allows direct import of data from many databases via an ADO connection.

Requirements Tracing

Because requirements interact with every other phase of the software and systems development process, tracing the relationships between requirements and other project components is essential for effective requirements engineering and project success. Visual Trace Spec provides a rich array of tools to evaluate the completeness and correctness of the requirements model. 

Requirements can be arranged in multi-level hierarchies and linked in any arbitrary fashion to other items (requirements, test scripts, test steps, etc.); files (documents, code fragments etc.); or diagrams. For example, user requirements can be linked to functional requirements and, in turn, to test steps.

Full graphical and tabular traceability is provided with drill-down to lower levels. A change in an object, such as a user requirement, automatically flags directly and indirectly linked objects (e.g., test steps) as suspect, to be re-evaluated.

Visual Trace Spec provides flexibility for rigorous and non-rigorous traceability. Its traceability features are useful for Agile/non-Agile software projects, and for projects that have stringent traceability requirements, such as regulated industry projects and mission-critical systems projects.

As well, Visual Trace Spec provides total lifecycle traceability of requirements from inception to system maintenance. Requirements can be linked with all project artifacts, including test cases, bugs, change requests, releases, and design objects. The impact of requirements changes can be readily assessed on the overall system.

Additionally, Visual Trace Spec provides visual tools for easily building trace relationships. Requirements can be displayed in multi-hierarchies in the graphs and easily linked.

Visual Trace Spec is the only tool on the market to provide the following unique traceability features:

  1. Multi-level / bi-directional traceability (forward and backward traceability).
  2. Link types for managing relationships. Optionally, link types can have user defined attributes.
  3. Graphical tool to create relationships visually.
  4. Direct and indirect impact-of-change reporting.
  5. Matrix view for complete filtering and analysis for generating tree trace reports.
  6.  Exporting/ printing for gap, impact and trace analysis reports.
requirements tracking

Requirements Changes and Baselines

Visual Trace Spec automatically maintains all versions of entered requirements and changes, making it easy to revert back to any version of a particular requirement with a single click. The change management feature also allows users to generate a requirements change-history report at any time.

Built-in baselining enables users to put requirements into multiple baselines, and for baselining project artifacts that include requirements, design elements, repository files, and diagrams. Different baseline comparisons reports can also be generated.

Requirements change requests can also be managed within Visual Trace Spec’s integrated framework. Change requests can be converted to requirements with an approval process. Users may readily assess the impact of a change request on the system with traceability tools.

Reuse

Reuse a customized requirements structure across projects by saving any project as template. This greatly increases consistency, while reducing set-up time and creates a consistent, standard approach for all software/systems development projects.

Access Control and Security

Access control is very granular with rights assigned at the group or individual level. This makes it easy to provide limited access to external staff, contractors, clients or vendors. For example, you can provide read-only access to functional requirements and read/ write access to user requirements.

Visual Trace Spec also provides built-in encryption for secure data transfer that locks down proprietary data. Other security features include automatic password resetting and enforcing minimum password length.

Requirements Releases

An integrated framework enables smooth flow of requirements to releases. Requirements can be allocated to single or multiple releases. Traceability tools enable ready-assess to evaluate the impact of requirements changes on releases.

Effective Project Control

Visual Trace Spec effectively tracks requirements to control and manage projects. When a project is not in control, risk identification and management becomes increasingly difficult and can lead to schedule and budget overruns. Effective tracking ensures projects progresses to meet schedule, cost and quality goals.

As requirements evolve throughout the life of the system, these may require changes in nature, scope, and content to become more consistent, precise and clear. Requirements’ connections to other system artifacts also evolve over time, and must be traceable.

Technical and Other Benefits

Visual Trace Spec can be deployed very easily for local and globally dispersed teams. An included enterprise-embedded database requires virtually zero administration and configuration.

Furthermore, Visual Trace Spec provides flexible, unique and unmatched advanced requirements and lifecycle management features – at a fraction of the cost of other development tools.