Day 1 at IBM Rational’s Software Development Conference

Written By:
Content Copyright © 2009 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.
Also posted on: The Norfolk Punt

So here I am in sunny Florida at another RSDC (Rational Software Development Conference, now including an added Telelogic user conference). This one is in hard times and IBM seems rather keen on emphasising the financial benefits from not just doing it right, but from doing the right things too, which is as real as it gets!

Focal Point roadmap. Release 6 is the first release of this re-badged Rational instead of Telelogic but a key sign of the fundamental importance of this product, to me, is its new integration with System Architect. For now it’s a one way export relationship, in a later release it’ll be 2 way and, ultimately Focal Point “assets” could be integrated with EA models.

But I finished off the day over a glass of wine or 2 or 3 with Richard Crisp (Director, Requirements & Quality Product Delivery Team, Rational Software) talking about Requirements Management with Focal Point—if you have trouble seeing Focal Point as a developer tool instead of a tool for managing product portfolios or managing projects (it’s those too), remember that a “requirement” for a new development is really much the same as a “feature” of a software package, but seen from the other side.

Most requirements management tools only do part of the job (some only manage a very small part of it indeed—they just store pieces of text). To my mind, testing starts with testing requirements—breaking them down to atomic requirements and questioning the real need – the business benefit delivered—behind a requirement. The most expensive mistake you can make is to develop for the wrong requirements, so you should think of testing—validating—requirements. Every requirement should be testable which means more than just linking it to some coded test cases at the end of the process. And this is where Focal Point contributes, as it implements pair-wise comparison which lets you prioritise requirements independently of the politics usually associated with working out which requirements really matter. And Richard wrote the algorithms for this.

Oh, and before I leave Day 1, Microsoft may “eat its own dogfood” but IBM claims that it “drinks its own champagne”. Well I suppose it would…