How to manage customer requirements in the entire product lifecycle

Why we should manage our customer requirements

Efficient requirements engineering is crucial for successful project management and customer satisfaction, even if it is often dismissed as unnecessary ballast and as an additional cost factor. Unjustly, however, because well managed requirements enable you to reduce development costs and avoid undesirable development cycles.

Additionally, it helps to ensure that all stakeholders involved in the project contribute deliverables that satisfy the original customer requirements, so that deadlines and costs can be met. This is particularly important for all manufacturing enterprises, both for small and medium-sized ones as well as for large concerns and high-tech enterprises. The common denominator is the aim to deliver high quality products that meet customer needs and requirements.

To achieve this, not only customer requirements must be introduced systematically, but also the product development process (PDP) must be designed efficiently.

It is important to understand how the methodical introduction of customer requirements influences the further product life, and to introduce appropriate methods and tools to orchestrate all involved disciplines and stakeholders of the PDP.

SAP EPD Requirements Management

In this blog post, I want to share my experience on how SAP EPD can help with requirements management. Specifically, I’ll explore the various methods and capabilities that make it easier to manage customer requirements throughout the product development process.

Since SAP EPD is based on public cloud technology, it provides a highly collaborative and efficient work space. Additionally, the solution is database-driven, ensuring that requirements are tracked and managed with accuracy and precision.

To further illustrate the usability of requirements management in SAP EPD, I’ll walk through a use case of product development and share the results of our validation of various requirements engineering methods. By following this step-by-step guide*, you’ll gain a better understanding of how to streamline requirements management and improve overall efficiency in product development processes.

1.ย  ย  Start in the repository to create a new requirements model. The central databases makes it possible to work collaboratively on a model at the same time.
2.ย  ย  To be able to manage customer requirements, you must first collect and consolidate them in a leading place. It is often not necessary to enter requirements manually, as the customer sends their specifications, for example, in the standard exchange format ReqIF or in Office files such as Word. These can then simply be imported.
3. The next step is how to classify the requirements. This means that you have to list in detail all critical aspects, such as risk or priority, within the customer requirements. The associated values are so-called properties that need to be stored in your requirements model.

4. To meet quality standards and ensure that all agreed functions can be delivered, products must be tested against their requirements. This test relevance should also be documented in the requirements properties.

 

5. In EPD, the test cases are managed and performed in the SAP EPD Product Validation where you can create the linkage to the concerning requirement.
6.ย  ย  In product development, it often happens that requirements change. How can we ensure that we keep track of these changes and adapt our requirements accordingly?
For example, in SAP EPD you have options to track changes in requirements and keep track of model versions. You can compare different versions of requirements models and review changes in individual requirements.It is important that you ensure that all changes are carefully documented and tracked to ensure that all requirements are implemented correctly. This way, you can be sure that your product development runs smoothly and that your customers’ expectations are met.

7.ย  ย  Another important aspect of requirements management is the traceability of requirements to show their relationships to each other. Traceability allows you to ensure that all requirements are considered in a higher context and that the effects of changes on other requirements are taken into account.

SAP EPD provides a traceability matrix that allows you to visualize all requirements and their relationships to each other. This allows you to understand which requirements are affected by changes and how these changes affect other requirements.

A clear understanding of traceability facilitates communication within the team and provides greater transparency in the requirements management process.

Itโ€™s not only about managing the requirements but also about their integration within the entire product lifecycle.

How can we integrate our requirements in the product lifecycle

1.ย ย ย ย  ย Often there is a need to ask customers for their feedback or to involve colleagues from various departments. In EPD, you can share certain requirements and related data with the required stakeholder via the SAP EPD Collaboration. The stakeholder can not only access the requirement information but also edit them if necessary.
2.ย ย ย ย ย  To maintain the entire end-to-end traceability you can link different information which are related to the requirement such as system model objects, tests and linked SAP business objects. Besides the already mentioned test cases and collaboration you can link master data such as BOMs, DIRs or even SAP Project and Portfolio elements.

Summary and Conclusion

To summarize, requirements management is a crucial aspect of any product development and is essential to deliver successful products that meet the needs of the customers and fulfills the requirements. It also helps minimize risks and costs by ensuring that changes and adjustments are carefully documented and managed during the development phase.Effective use of tools like SAP EPD Requirements Management can help streamline the process and support the development of high-quality products

Interested in the topic of requirements management?

How relevant is requirements management from your perspective? Leave me a comment or contact me via the chat, or follow my profile for similar content. I look forward to hearing from you.

If you interested for more EPD related content follow the topic page SAP Enterprise Product Development | SAP Community blog feed (https://blogs.sap.com/tags/73555000100800002651/) and ask and answer questions in the tagโ€™s Q&A area (https://blogs.sap.com/tags/73555000100800002651/)

 

*All screenshots are owned by CENIT AG and may not be reused, copied or shared

Original Article:
https://blogs.sap.com/2023/03/08/how-to-manage-customer-requirements-in-the-entire-product-lifecycle/

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