3

I work in a software development company. We develop with Fixed Price contracts, thus there's a lot of BDUF (Big design up front). During the initial/planning phase, we create very big monolithic technical scope documents in MSWord and get approval/signature from the customer on it. Then, during development, we refer to these documents: e.g.: "as per page XX",or "as per section XX", in our work in JIRA tickets. Change requests cause a new version of the specification to be re-created from the MSWord and the modified section or appendix at the end is re-signed. Our customers always need to sign something, they prefer it this way.

I wonder if you can help with the following please:

  • Is there a way to type the scope in a more granular manner directly in JIRA (e.g.: one functionality per JIRA) and automatically generate a big document to be "signed"?
  • Would it be possible somehow to track modifications in the JIRA after the signed version was done?
  • Would you use a different tool to type these specifications? E.g.: a tool that somehow integrates into JIRA and you have the scope in there already in a granular manner?

This would force the writers to write the scope in more concise and self-contained manners (and all the scope would be in JIRA facilitating communication). Please note that typing the scope in MSWord and then moving it into JIRA is also an option, but a lot of re-work (~100 pages of it), thus I am looking for a solution where I need to write this only once.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks!

  • Hi and welcome to PMSE. Have a look on the tour page in order to see how this site works. – Tob Sep 7 '15 at 12:33
  • Thanks! Please let me know if I can clarify my question somehow. – testTester Sep 7 '15 at 12:49
  • Dió you have use-cases, user-stories or something similar? How is your document structured? – nvoigt Sep 8 '15 at 7:54
  • We have a platform that has "default" functionality that is well documented. This default document is never modified. We then just describe using text or images the customisations for specific sections in the software. Just use-cases, no user-stories. The document is structured in sections, each section describes the modification of a given part of the software. Each section might range from 1 to 20 pages mostly. – testTester Sep 8 '15 at 10:38
  • do you also have confluence? – ashga Sep 21 '15 at 12:58
1

Sounds that you are looking for a Requirement Management Tool like Doors. This would be an off-topic question and you might find better answers in Software Recommendation StackExchange.

Nevertheless, you are asking a project related question: How to deal with scope and scope changes.

The general mechanism regarding scope and scope related changes are Baselines and Change Requests.

Baselines freeze a specific set of e.g. requirements e.g. at the contract phase. Changes during development can be tracked using Change Requests. You usually pull a new Baseline at a milestone, e.g. PDR or CDR. During Change Control Board meetings you decide how to deal with the different CRs and if you should involve the customer somehow.

You can use any tooling for this purpose but you might find it helpful being assisted in pulling baselines and tracking changes. Jira might be nice to track progress while plain text exports (xml, csv) as Baselines combined with git might be a tool satisfying this needs. Requirements are often build in a hierarchical manner. I think Jira offers 3 hierarchy level (e.g. Epic, Story, Task). I don't think this is enough.

There are multiple tools specialized on requirements management. They usually support everything described above. Just google a bit.

  • Thanks for this response. As the question describes, I am looking to close the possible workflow within JIRA / Confluence: 1) Generate "baseline" first version of the tech spec. 2) Generate change requests (or even refinements, as the project goes along) in JIRA / Confluence. 3) Regenerate at a later date (somehow, this is the point of the question) a consolidated version of the tech spec including all consolidated changed requests. Ideally this document would have a list of the changes. This will be signed off again. – testTester Feb 17 '16 at 0:42
  • Again, thanks for the response - just on the off topic bit: I am sure there will not be much PMs on Software Recommendation StackExchange as it is a general purpose forum. My question gives a very specific project management process and use case. I disagree that asking for tools for project management here is off topic. – testTester Feb 17 '16 at 0:49
  • @testTester you can define a list of milestones within Jira and reference them as a to be fixed for... date in the bugs / tasks. This in combination with issue types like requirements, change request, problem might be what you are looking for. – Tob Feb 17 '16 at 4:12
1

The basics of how to organize a project like this in Jira are well documented on well, Jira's Confluence site, and granularity issues are directly addressed in Atlassian's Delivery Vehicle's page.

A very brief distilled answer is that:

  • Create a User Story to document the tiniest unit of releasable feature (something that the customer can review, test and validate)
  • Group user stories into Epics (Related small units of features)
  • Optionally, if it makes sense to you, you can group Epics into "Features" or higher level units that make sense for your project.

Ultimately, you will have to define whether each "signoff" event that happens with your customer is at the level of a user story, epic, or something else. That determination may be made on the basis of how informal or expensive a "signoff" is - more expensive and formal the signoff process is, the higher grouping you would want to use.

  • A signoff is a paper with the whole description of a project scope (or at least a very big chunk of the description) which our customer reads end-to-end and signs on the last page. – testTester Feb 17 '16 at 0:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.