Improving Requirements Management through Libraries

Semmtech: requirements management through libraries

Improving Requirements Management through Libraries

The Challenge

Good requirement management is key within engineering projects. Digitization has also brought the engineering industry many benefits. From more information insights to saving time spent on activities. Analyses and proper documentation for traceability are essential parts of requirement management, and lots of time is spent on these activities. And yet, many projects and companies have
yet to use digitization to their advantage to improve these aspects of requirement management.

Although documents are often stored in digital copies such as PDFs, the content of these documents is still only human-readable. It is unequipped to be applied to different computer applications. Often, requirements are manually copied from these documents to be pasted into the application where they can be used. This process is very time-consuming and full of risks, causing these processes to be very cost-inefficient.

Due to Linked Data being an Open Standard, any application can retrieve the data. Fear of vendor lock-in will no longer be
an issue. Regardless of your application landscape, our Specification Libraries can immediately be helpful to your
projects.

Other recognizable requirement management issues are the complexity concerning version control and the reusability of the exact requirements across projects. Projects often require similar, if not the same, requirements. Examples are industry standards or company-wide Quality Management System (QMS) requirements. Having document-based requirements forces companies to repeat the same inefficient extraction and application of requirements on each project.

The Solution

Semmtech believes these processes can easily be improved by using Linked Data to publish Specification Libraries (SPL). Linked Data is a method to structure data by using web standards. Using Linked Data, we can structure your entire data landscape. By having your data structured, we can bring meaning (semantics) to your data. This makes your data interpretable for
computers. This sets the stage for automation and offers new insights into your data.

An SPL is an online published data set of requirements (or specifications) and their related information (such as their subjects, verification methods, etc.) in Linked Data. This publishing method also allows you to enrich your own requirement information with those published by others – such as standardization bureaus. As an interlinked library, this data set can retrieve your requirement information to be applied to projects from a single point.

Due to Linked Data being an Open Standard, no transformations are needed for applications to read the data. Nor is there any fear of vendor lock-in. This means that regardless of your application landscape, our Specification Libraries can immediately be useful to your projects.

The Benefits

Using SPLs offers many immediate benefits compared to a document-based approach to requirements. Firstly, the requirement content becomes machine-interpretable. This results in requirement data that is directly applicable to computer programs. It also allows for automation or even Artificial Intelligence within your requirement processes. This dramatically decreases the time required and the risks involved in extracting and applying requirements from documents to your applications.

Storing your requirements in a single, interconnected data set decreases the time and effort needed regarding quality and version control. These processes can be performed once from one place instead of repeatedly across different projects. Users retrieving data from the library can always access the latest versions or retrieve updates on their requirements. Publishing in Linked Data allows you to link your data directly to other Linked Data publications, such as an Object Type Library (OTL). For example, by combining an SPL with an OTL, requirement management can be improved even further. The allocation of requirements to physical
objects, activities, and so on can be managed at the library level. This takes away time and work effort from projects or applications. Moreover, having requirements and subjects already allocated at the library level saves time in allocating requirements on the project level.

Besides linking SPLs to other Linked Data publications of your own design, you can also enrich your standard requirement data by referring to publications made by others. For example, think of publications of classification bureaus or international standardization bodies.

Conclusion

Semmtech offers an online platform: Laces. Here, users can construct, publish and host their own Specification Library. This tool is focussed on creating, extracting, and structuring requirement data whilst publishing these data sets as Linked Data. Once published, you can immediately apply your SPL data to your projects and applications.

Semmtech also offers services, consultancy, and training to ensure your SPL data is configured and applied in the best way possible.
Contact us if you want to know more about Linked Data, Specification Libraries, and Laces, or how we can best help you with standardizing and applying your requirement information.

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