IBM Rational DOORS Review

I can extract redlines using Baseline Compare between the last approved baseline, and the ‘current’ module, but the printing solution in Rational Publishing Engine is complex.


Valuable Features:

The DOORS Application provides object to object traceability, with user flexibility to build their own traceability reports without requiring administrator coding in DXL, XML, java or any other scripting language. In addition, out of the box features for generating baseline to baseline redlines is efficient when reviewing changes.

Improvements to My Organization:

The documentation of history is automated, making the generation of reports for the change review board simple. I can extract redlines using Baseline Compare between the last approved baseline, and the ‘current’ module, which collates all of this history into a single redline report making change reviews a breeze.

Room for Improvement:

Clean specification generation has become more difficult under IBM’s direction, than it was under QSS or Telelogic. Since IBM acquired DOORS, there have been bugs introduced into the out of the box print capability (Ctrl+P), while they developed a complex printing solution in Rational Publishing Engine. This takes printing out of the user’s hands, and requires administrators or software developers to build templates for generating documentation which makes the job of generating a document a project in and of itself.

Use of Solution:

I have been using and administrating DOORS since 1998 in multiple different roles, including in Systems Integration, Requirements Management, as well as Engineering Tool Support team member. I've also used v4.0.4, v4.1.4, v6.0 SR1, and v8.3 for requirements management and risk management for medical device development and on-market support.

Stability Issues:

DOORS has some issues with speed when setup in an enterprise environment. However, DOORS has been the most stable product amongst our engineering tools.

Scalability Issues:

We have been very successful deploying the product to users in Dallas, Chicago, Ireland, Germany and Japan.

Customer Service:

Customer service for all of our Engineering Tools has been trending down over the last 10 years, and DOORS is no exception. However, among the biggest of players that we use including Dassault Systems, Siemens, HP, Serena, we have found IBM’s level among the best. I have had direct customer access to the DOORS development team at multiple conferences, who have been able to find resolutions for problems, and have provided enhancement requests that have been developed into the tool over the years.

Previous Solutions:

Prior to DOORS, over 17 years ago, we used a custom Lotus Notes database, but it did not provide traceability or easy reporting.

Initial Setup:

DOORS is a proprietary database, and it is a simple install of a server and a client, and you are off and running. Very straightforward in the Rich Client environment. It only begins to get complex if you begin setting up integrations using the IBM CLM environment.

Implementation Team:

In-house engineering tool support team is how we evaluated, tested and deployed DOORS in our company.

ROI:

The products developed in our company that started with DOORS requirements in the late 90s are now a one billion dollar annual revenue product line. My advice on requirements management in a regulated environment, is that if you try to do it cheap, rather than efficient, your products will suffer during the market phase.

Other Solutions Considered:

We have evaluated many tools over the years, including MKS, Siemens Teamcenter Requirements solution, and none of have met the ease at which a user can create and customize their own views and traceability reports, without an administrator performing customization.

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