January owes its name to the Roman god Janus, who is associated with doors, gates and beginnings. He is depicted with two faces, one representing the old and one the new. This symbolizes the transition from the past to the future. As the first month of the new year, most of us also see it as an opportunity for a fresh start. To do so, some set themselves New Year’s resolutions and resolve to make positive changes in their lives at the beginning of January.
We hope you had a great start into the new year and would like to thank you for the terrific cooperation! We hope that you can put all your plans into practice and even if you don’t care so much about New Year resolutions, we wish you a healthy and successful year.
Today we want to take a look at at which doors will open for microTOOL in the future and how we want to develop further.
microTOOL Celebrates its 40th Birthday.
In addition to the new year, we have another, even more significant reason to celebrate: the company is celebrating its 40th birthday! However, this does not cause a midlife crisis for us. We see this milestone as an opportunity for personal growth and new opportunities! What’s more, we now have 40 years of experience in software development and over 30 years in requirements engineering and project management – not the kind of thing that should cause a crisis.
We would like to take this opportunity to review how this development came about before we turn our attention to our next projects. First the old, then the new.
The Origins of microTOOL
When Ursula Meseberg and Bernd Nawrot founded the company at the turn of the year 1983/84, their vision was to offer consulting and training in the field of data modeling and to produce and market tools for software development. This led to the goal of providing tools.
We supported the then widespread method of structured analysis and design with our tool case/4/0. In the 1990s, object-oriented development became increasingly popular. We developed the next tool, objectiF, to support model-driven development with the Unified Modeling Language (UML). Incidentally, both tools are still used by our customers today.
With the emerging V-model for planning and controlling projects, we were one of the first to recognize the opportunity to offer tool support for this. This led to the launch of our tool in-STEP and the gradually expansion of our portfolio. Since then, our expertise has included process-based project management, document management and version management.
From a Single Project Emerges the Foundation of Our Current Product Line
A funded project for small and mid-sized companies (SMEs) led to product line development, which allows model-driven software products to be created. Hitting the nail on the head, we developed components for requirements engineering and later for agile project management. We continue to develop the resulting tools objectiF RM and RPM with new features to this day. We like to talk to our customers and implement their wishes directly in our tools.
Agile Methods – Agile Team
In the 2000s, traditional project management as we know it was revolutionized by agile methods such as Scrum. As a company that does not shy away from change and for which customer proximity has always been very important, our values could be ideally combined with this. Reacting to change is usually more effective in the course of a project than sticking to an existing plan – so we expanded the support of our tools in agile requirements management, change management and risk management.
Our team grew with its tasks. Initially consisting of consultants and developers, soon sales, marketing and support were added. As our expertise in requirements engineering and project management expanded, specialized RE and PM consultants followed, sharing their experience in tool trainings, webinars and seminars.
This enables us to offer you the best possible development, maintenance and teaching of our tools and their functions. In cooperation with the HWR Berlin, we also train young programmers in our various fields of experience.
We Like to Pass On Our Knowledge
We have also been an IREB training provider since 2013 and, in addition to our existing tool training courses, we also offer tool-independent training courses for requirements engineering in theory and practice. Based on our many years of experience in the various methods and processes, we also regularly offer webinars on emerging topics in the field.
During this time, web-based tools became more and more important. In the light of this, we developed the web client for objectiF RM and RPM in the same year to quickly fulfill our customers’ wishes.
Since 2020, due to the pandemic, we have been offering our training courses and seminars not only on site at the customer’s premises, but also very successfully online. Our employees were agile and flexible and did not let working from home slow them down, but quickly developed new solutions and concepts. In response, our component for integrated collaboration with chat and desktop sharing was created. We continued to provide our colleagues and customers with reliable support and adapted to the new situation without major challenges.
From software development to tool support in a wide range of industries
Back then, we mainly focused on software development. Nowadays, you can use our tools to plan and manage all types of projects and workflows. Our customers come from a wide range of industries, including insurance, pharmaceuticals, the public sector, automotive suppliers and industrial companies. Our history is characterized by the continuous development of our team and our tools. We want to thank you for your trust and look forward to the next 40 years of microTOOL.
What happens next at microTOOL…
We would like to implement the following improvements and features for you in the near future:
Modernization and expansion of the web clients
In the new year, we will be redesigning the web clients of our tools to make them even easier for you to use. This includes modernizing the user interface, improving usability and continuously adding administrative features. This will simplify operation so that it can be supported even better in the cloud or as PaaS/SaaS, for example, and fewer rollouts of Windows clients will be necessary.
We are also working on an intuitive, simplified procedure for configuring views in the web client so that customer processes can be mapped even more easily.
In an increasingly digitalized world, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) is opening up new horizons that are also reflected in our products. Following the integration of our existing AI-supported features such as voice input and the ability to check requirements for contradictions, similarities and comprehensibility, we are striving to develop further in this direction.
Initially, it will be possible to refine requirements using AI and derive requirements from objectives and use cases. The generative AI will generate suggestions that you can accept, change or even discard if the requirements generated are not relevant to your project.
In the future, we will also support the generation of test cases from the requirements using AI.
We would like to support you in living and automating your company-specific strategy. In the future, it should be possible to define new artifacts and diagram types according to your processes and workflows.
In objectiF RM and RPM there are already various options for visualizing processes with the help of ready-made graphical representations. We will work on providing you with user-specific means of expression that you can use according to your ideas and solutions.
In addition to these key areas of development, we would also like to consider your suggestions and wishes in the future. We will be happy to talk to you and find solutions together. We look forward to a positive new year and look forward to continuing to work so closely with you.