Connecting two worlds: The interface between requirements engineering and Jira

Requirements engineering involves a variety of tasks: Stakeholders, needs and goals must be analyzed, requirements must be derived from them and then broken down to a level where they can be turned into user stories. For processing user stories in software development, Jira is a popular software – the process and project-tracing tool from Atlassian [1]. However, when dealing with the work beforehand, which means elicitating and structuring requirements, you need more support. Especially when working with methods, e.g. according to IREB, the international requirements engineering board. The requirements engineering tool objectiF RM is recommended for this. Because it provides an interface to Jira, the subsequent development work can be easily connected and both tools work together perfectly. Today, I will explain how this works.

Zwei Welten verbunden: Die Schnittstelle zwischen Requirements Engineering und Jira

Building a bridge between two worlds

Requirements engineering from traceability up to the stakeholders

objectiF RM is a tool for both classical and agile requirements engineering. By classical requirements engineering I mean eliciting requirements, structuring them, documenting them in a specification sheet and then handing them over to the development department.

Agile requirements engineering is based on the agile principles: requirements are elicited iteratively, sliced into user stories, prioritized based on business value and then handed on to development. Backlogs help you keep an overview of requirements and their priorities. In this blog post, I am going to focus on agile requirements engineering.

According to IREB, this includes delimiting the system and the context as well as eliciting the requirements, documenting them, verifying them, confirming them and managing them. These tasks can all be managed with objectiF RM.

objectiF RM offers the system context diagram for delimiting the system and system context. With the diagram, you can clearly map the system and related actors, rules, external systems as well as information flows.

Context diagram

Goal diagrams can be used to identify stakeholders and their goals and to identify the relationships between them. Use cases can derived from these and connected with actors. This creates a solid foundation for eliciting requirements.

Use case diagram

It also means that these can be derived as rough features. These can be refined into epids and then into user stories. Between all of these elements, relationships arise which objectiF RM manages reliably. Traceability from the stakeholders right up to the user stories is guaranteed at all times.

When recording user stories, arrangements must be made so that these can be transferred to Jira later. Here is how to do this:

Set up the interface to Jira in objectiF RM

There are special issue types that you work with in Jira, and in Scrum these are normally epics, stories and bugs. To transfer requirements from objectiF RM to Jira, the types in objectiF RM must correspond to the Jira types. This can be done with stereotypes that you create. The Jira workflows must also be mapped in objectiF RM for this to work. State diagrams can be used for this. To transfer requirements from objectiF RM to Jira, take these three steps:

1. Create the stereotypes of the Jira issues in objectiF RM.

The stereotypes for a standard Jira project as per Scrum in objectiF RM are as follows:

JIRA_Story

JIRA _Bug

JIRA _Epic

objectiF RM: Stereotypes for Jira issues

User stories to be transferred to Jira are created based on the stereotypes.

2. Maps the same workflows in objectiF RM that you are using for processing Jira issues.

In objectiF RM, the standard workflow for a Jira project To Do – In Progress – Done looks like this:

Workflows in Jira und objectiF RM

3. Connect the Jira system.

The features can be reached via the backstage menu of objectiF RM.

objectiF RM: Configure Jira import

After you have entered the login data and loaded the Jira project into objectiF RM, you can get going.

Create and verify user stories

Before, a short note on recording user stories or bugs and epics in objectiF RM. The Jira interface serves to transfer Jira issues to objectiF RM and vice versa, like names, descriptions, priorities and creators of the user story. You can define a custom recording scheme through a form in objectiF RM to display these properties or the process them so that changes to the values can be transferred to Jira. A form might look like this:

objectiF RM: Form for Jira issue

The entire backlog with example user stories and an epic in objectiF RM looks like this:

objectiF RM: Backlog with Jira issues

According to IREB, verification and confirmation of requirements is also a part of requirements engineering. objectiF RM offers a pre-defined workflow to support this. You and the stakeholders can easily leave comments and accept or reject changes. This way you can ensure high-quality requirements.

Transfer requirements to Jira and watch the status

Now, transfer your requirements to Jira:

objectiF RM: Synchronize Jira projects

A look at the Jira system assured you that all user stories were successfully transferred:

Jira: Backlog mit Issues

Jira keeps working and you can kick back and relax.

Well, almost.

Because if you, for example, would like to control the process of development, then you can import the requirements from Jira back into objectiF RM and create a dashbaord that displays the current states of the user stories.

objectiF RM: Dashboard with analysis of Jira issues

The tool synchronizes automatically. To do this, just set up a task, for example, to import Jira issues to objeciF RM every day. It is also possible to plan test runs for realized requirements and thereby inetegrate a test management process into the development.

Conclusion

Requirements engineering includes many tasks which can be carried out with a special tool like objectiF RM. Because this way you can ensure traceability from the stakeholders to the goals, use cases, features and user stories. The quality of requirements is also ensured through this. The tool offers an interface to Jira to ensure that there is a connection to the outside word, especially that of software and system development. This means you can proceed without a problem where a methodically-based requirements engineering is required and the requirements have to be passed on to an external team. Try objectiF RM out for yourself!

References:

[1]: https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira

[2]:  Pohl, K/Rupp C, (2011): Requirements Engineering Fundamentals. Aus- und Weiterbildung nach IREB-Standard zum Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering Foundation Level. Heidelberg: dpunkt.

Lisa May is a part of our marketing team. She is interested in making new, interesting or curious knowledge entertaining and easy to understand. As a professional technical writer and translator, she can not only write in German, she can also reach our English-speaking readers.

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