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I want to use IBM Rational DOORS for software development, but I would probably have to install and maintain it myself. How much effort is required? Is it something I can easily deploy on a server and start using right away, or do I have to basically become an IBM Rational specialist in order to properly deploy it?

In other words, do I run a couple setup programs and, "Voila, it's done!" or do I have to install and perform deep configuration on a dozen other enterprisey prerequisites before I can even run the DOORS installer?

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migrated from serverfault.com Jan 11 '12 at 0:41

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I'm not sure we're really the best place to ask this, but I'm not sure any of the other sites would serve you better (possibly SO or Programmers) –  voretaq7 Jan 10 '12 at 23:48
    
@voretaq7: Thanks, I did post a related question on SO asking if there were any reasonable alternatives to DOORS. After reading your answer and comment, I recognized that I needed to clarify my question here. I'm curious whether I have to do a lot of deep configuration in order to get it working properly. I remember trying to use DB2 several years ago, and while I was able to get it installed eventually, it was a huge pain and the performance was abysmal. I would have needed to spend a lot of time learning its internals in order to properly install it and tune the performance. –  rob Jan 11 '12 at 0:26

2 Answers 2

DOORs is fairly straight forward to install. However, it is just a tool, and like any tool (particularly powerful ones), you need to not only learn to use it, you need to decide how you will use it, then everyone needs to learn to use it how you want it to be used. Then everyone needs to start using it, and (here's the really hard bit) do not stop using it.

If the cost of installing DOORs is a major concern, consider that it (and anything like it) might not be the correct product for you. Using DOORs effectively requires a very serious commitment to requirements and requirements management, from everyone involved in the SDLC. If you (and all the business) have not got that commitment, it will fail, and the cost of a few days, a server and maybe an IBM consultant pails into insignificance.

The fact that you "think you might have a license" indicates that someone in the past has toyed with the idea and failed. The fact you are concerned about the effort to install it, and as a software developer, would be maintaining it yourself, indicated you are toying with the idea. The word "I want" rather than "I am" is also a warning.

Perhaps you should come up with the requirements for your requirements management tool (using DOORs?).

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Hmm, but I wonder if DOORs is the right tool for managing the requirements for my requirements management tool. Do you think DOORs can help me with that? :P –  rob Jan 11 '12 at 2:03
    
Now for my serious comment...soon I'll be the only person from my company working on our part this project, so I don't have to convince anyone else in my company to use it in the immediate future. The people upstream from me have their own processes and I probably can't dictate what they use (or how they us it). All I really want is to easily trace requirements from their specs (in MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) to my deliverables, and back. I'm willing to spend some time learning DOORs, but I'm also willing to try something else if DOORs is overkill. –  rob Jan 11 '12 at 2:16
    
@rob I feel your pain. How do the upstream guys manage their requirements? Are you able to piggy back on thier system? I ask because upstream of me is DOORS, but my specs etc I have to work with come in PDF's output by DOORs, and I have to manually cross reference customer, software and test requirements, knowing DOOR can do it inm milliseconds. –  mattnz Jan 11 '12 at 7:40
    
Youch, suddenly my pain doesn't seem so bad! If the upstream guys were using DOORs I probably could piggyback on their system, but AFAIK, they use MS Office alone to manage their requirements--which works well enough for them since they make the requirements checklist up front, then go down the list as they evaluate the deliverables. It's not quite as easy down at my level because a single requirement often expands to multiple work items, tests, etc. I'll definitely double-check though; maybe someone 2 levels up has access to DOORs, even if they haven't been using it for this project. –  rob Jan 17 '12 at 1:23

You will need to invest time in learning how Rational DOORS works.
As with any piece of software you can just follow the installer prompts and come out with a basic working system, but if you need to go beyond dead-simple basics you'll need to spend some quality time with the documentation.

I strongly suggest using IBM's trial for a bit and making sure you like it, then contact IBM's sales team and discuss your concerns - they will be happy to talk to you, and if you feel you're out of your depth IBM is always willing to sell you a consultant.

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I think we might actually have a license but it isn't being used. I'm okay with dead-simple basics starting out; it would be an improvement over the current organizational scheme for the project I'm taking over. Thanks for the suggestions. –  rob Jan 11 '12 at 1:10
    
Yeah - there's not much deep magic to Doors setup (at least not on Windows) -- I've not configured it myself but the development team at $job[-2] used it, and they set it up in about a day without needing a consultant or anything. Using it once it's set up can get complex though (as all requirements gathering can) –  voretaq7 Jan 11 '12 at 1:12

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