IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation Review

Simplified our requirement process, helping with requirement creation and reuse


What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution and tool is to completely manage and also reuse requirements. We produce many different products which have a lot of reused requirements (for example for protocols etc.). Before we were writing big documents describing requirements and many parts of such requirement documents overlapped. We loose a lot of time reading such documents (R&D, VV, product management) so we want to make improvements.

 We use IBM Rational Doors tightly integrated with Quality Management for testing requirements- WIth such combination we slightly improve our product development process and support for this process

How has it helped my organization?

We were producing huge documents where we describe our requirements using  The problem was that while we were producing many different products with similar protocols, the documents consisted of more than one hundred pages with a lot of syncs that overlapped with other documents for similar products. This was difficult to manage, as people hated having to read all of the pages.

It is much easier because we put all requirements in IBM Rational Doors, and from this, we get the specification that can be used with different products. We don't have to write these huge documents with functional specifications anymore. Everything is well organized and easy to find in this tool. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the versioning of requirements and the possibility to reuse them. There is also a good chain when the high-level requirement goes into deep technical requirements. The ability to use different diagrams and graphical presentation is very useful.

What needs improvement?

An area that could be improved is user interface which is not very intuitive. Product is also Java based and we have a lot of issues with performance (at beginning). Resolution of all problems takes a lot of time. ALso upgrades of product are from our experience very painful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for five to six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the beginning, we had several problems with the stability of this solution. This was because we had to setup up a WebSphere and Java application server. We had some difficulty setting it up properly. This created severe problems with performance and stability. 

It takes a long time to make this product to work properly, specially after last upgrade.

Now the stability of product  is ok. It's fine.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

At the moment we do not have a lot of data. According to set up we should not have any issues with scalability and we don't expect that we will, as we have been using this solution for five years now and we have many requirements already in place with a lot of relationships and dependencies between requirements.

We have about one hundred and fifty users using this application.

 

There are no plans to increase usage at this time. We are working on a completely new approach to the development process and the product management process.

This product is supporting our development and product management processes. I think that all of the mandatory features are included. We look at the functionalities that are needed and they were included in this solution and we use them.

How are customer service and technical support?

In the beginning, we had to contact the technical support many times. 

Generally, when we have serious issues, it gets escalated to a higher level. 

I have had good experience with the support technicians, as they wer very knowledgeable and were able to resolve the issues. 

The only problem would be is that it can take a lot of time that issue is resolved depending on the nature of issue.

 

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We use Microsoft Office tools just for writing documents and Excel for some additional  information. We don't use solution supported by serious information systems.

We were not replacing any solution or tool. Instead, we are implementing a new solution to be more productive, faster, and have better visibility of what is going on with these requirements or what is related to them.


How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was quite complex. Due to the complexity of the setup, we required the assistance of the IBM partners. 

 The configuration was complex and it took a lot of time to configure and install properly. This was the largest problem we had with this solution.

The deployment method we used was on-premises and took one to two months, but we were resolving some problems four months after the installation. 

We were working with the external partners from IBM and we had two people from the IT department on the project. For the maintenance, we have one employee working full-time, half of the time working on maintaining the system.

For new features and the implementation of the upgrades, it is project-based and we would go through the IBM external partners. 

When everything works well it is just to maintain.

What about the implementation team?

The implementation and configuration were assisted by the IBM partners . We had two IBM partners assist us; the second was very helpful and resolved most of our issues quickly (this was not a case with first IBM partner).

We had several issues after implementation and took four months to stabilize the products and it was not fun. I would recommend not to do the implementation by yourself. When there are issues the product is quite complex.Architecture is complex and not easy to set up properly.

What was our ROI?

We do not calculate it with ROI figures. We are usually measuring it with payback. The payback period was between three and four years.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We have floating licenses. Licensing costs are yearly, mainly for maintenance.

The cost of maintenance is between €25,000 to €30,000 ($27,500 to $33,000 USD) and there are no additional fees.

We get support and all of the latest versions. However, there are some product upgrades which would be an additional cost. I strongly recommend to make upgrades together with IBM or IBM partners - from my experience upgrade is usually very complex.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had considered other options and vendors, We decided for IBM tools because they have full stack of solutions to build them together, supported by many integrations in one ecosystem (FocalPoint, Rational QUality Manager,Radional Doors NG) and we were also using some other solutions from IBM. We want to have imeplemented a good stack from one vendor, because integrations and support is in such case usually much better. ALso from perspective of market position IBM was very high ranked at that time.

What other advice do I have?

I would suggest finding someone, who already has experience with implementing this solution, to help you with the implementation. It will be easier and you will have fewer problems, as product and configuration is quite complex. What we have learned from our experience is that upgrades should be done with the help of the external IBM partners of IBM services team. You can think also to have solution in cloud, but from price perspective the price in cloud is not attractive, specially in case as our when we use floating licences.

The user interface could be improved, it is quite heavy and not-intuituve.The interface is quite complex, as it takes a lot of clicks to perform some actions. 


The architecture design of this product is from my perspective too complex. The design is based on Java, Websphere. Once there are issues, they can't be resolved by the customer easily and usually  require help from support. It's great to have the support but nice to have the option not to need it every time and for every problem.

They should change the design and model to be more distributed. I personally don't like  heavy monolithic application. 

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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