IRQA - A Requirements Definition and Management Solution for Systems Engineering Projects
Visure Solutions, a Spanish Company, with branch offices in the United States, Germany, and Sweden recently announced the availability of IRQA which denotes a solution for requirements definition and management (RDM). A sound process using professional tools is important for ensuring the quality of product and solution development with respect to the requirements specification. Garbage in – Garbage out as engineers use to say. Unfortunately, many companies underestimate the value of requirements definition and management, using Excel or Word for this purpose. On the other hand, existing RDM tools are often very complex. IRQA claims to provide a solution.
Cem Kaner once said that the best designed program is a lousy program if it implements a lousy specification. Unfortunately, requirements management is still one of the core challenges for systems engineering projects, especially for embedded systems development. Many organizations keep using Excel or Word documents for documenting and maintaining requirements. In systems engineering there are so many different stakeholders and disciplines involved that a more sound and professional approach would be beneficial.
Visure claims to bridge this gap with its new systems engineering template IRQA. All requirements are available in a graphical representation.
According to Visure Solutions,
With templates available for CMMI, SPICE, Agile development, Pharmaceutical GAMP5, Aircraft Systems ARP4754/ED–79 (DO-178B/C), Automotive IEC61508 (ISO26262), and Medical Devices IEC60601(IEC62304), requirements solutions can be rapidly created to reduce the learning curve and get a jump start on eliciting and managing requirements. Diagramming features including use cases and system context diagram are built into IRQA to support requirements definition and analysis. Users can also define role based workflows visually.
IRQA includes import & export facilities for applications such as Word, Excel, or DOORS.
By integrating UML/SysML tools and Matlab/Simulink model-based development is supported, including linking requirements with different models. This also holds for requirements-based testing. Using IRQA, engineers can create test plans and test cases. In addition, IRQA promises to support product line engineering among many other features.
Visure Solutions provides a quote by KUKA on their web page to prove the quality and applicability of IRQA:
At versatile products such as KUKA robots, there are many demands from different sources, e.g. externally from customers, in the areas of industrial manufacturing and medical technology, laws, standards and guidelines, and internal demands that respect the development of such strategies and risk analysis. This diversity requires a systematic review and bundling of technical requirements for the product as well as the processes involved. IRQA is a powerful tool that supports this.
It remains to be seen whether IRQA can also succeed in other companies and projects. It is not a silver bullet, but could be at least a first step into the right direction.
The company provides a fact sheet for all those interested in the solution.
Agile is reaching beyond pure software development, and the best teams have adapted agile/lean approaches to complex system engineering and new products/services development. Still keeping hush-hush about it, for obvious reasons...
Todd Montgomery Dec 19, 2014