Can you use Jira requirements management?
June 19, 2018

Can You Use Jira for Requirements Management?

Requirements Management
Application Lifecycle Management

If you’re using Jira to manage tasks and issues, you might be wondering… Why not use it to manage requirements, too?

The tool is already there. Developers and testers are already working in it every day. And Jira can be used for requirements management. It makes sense — at least up front.

How to Manage Requirements in Jira

It will take a few manual steps to manage requirements in Jira. But, it can be done. Here’s how.

1. Create a Jira Issue Type For Requirements

This will be your requirements document. It’s where you’ll store your requirements and manage them on a daily basis.

2. Use Sub-Tasks to Add and Manage Requirements

This is how you’ll add and modify requirements throughout development.

3. Link Jira Issues

Jira allows you to link issues. So, you can use this linking to connect related requirements to each other. And you can use it to link other Jira issues (e.g., bugs) to requirements.

4. Mark Requirements as Done

When a requirement is met (and related issues have been resolved), you can mark it as “done” in Jira.

Problems With Jira Requirements Management

You can make Jira requirements management work. But it will take work to create and maintain requirements in Jira. And that can create some problems…

Tracking Requirements Will Be Your Full-Time Job

You can add requirements pretty easily. But it’s difficult to keep track of them. How many do you have? How many are in progress versus completed?

It’s especially difficult to track requirements in Jira after they’ve been completed. After all, it's a task management tool, not a requirements management tool. Once a requirement is completed, it’s taken off the backlog — and out of sight.

Trying to find those completed requirements can easily become a full-time job. And tracking down requirements isn’t the only thing you need to do in a day.

You’ll Struggle to Share Requirements

Jira might not be the only place you keep your requirements. You might route your requirements for review and approval in a document (e.g., Microsoft Word).

This can lead to extra work transferring requirements between a document and Jira. And it’s hard to keep everyone on the same page when there isn’t a single source of truth.

Reusing Requirements Is Nearly Impossible

Reusing requirements is often a best practice in requirements management. But Jira makes it challenging to reuse requirements from one project to the next.

It will take almost as much manual effort to track down a requirement to reuse as it will to simply add the requirement from scratch.

Requirements Change (and You Won’t Know the Impact)

Requirements are rarely set in stone. Sometimes they need to be shifted. Or sometimes they may need to change entirely.

And when a requirement changes, that’s not the only item impacted. If you’ve already written a test case for that requirement, that test case will need to change, too. (And so will any issues that have been detected that are related to that requirement.)

But if there aren’t links between the requirement, its test cases, and its issues, it will be hard to know the impact of changing that requirement.

You Can’t Be Agile and Maintain Documentation in Jira

Agile development is an iterative process. Requirements aren’t defined up front in a giant spec document, like they are in traditional development. But many teams — especially those work in regulated industries — still need their requirements documented.

Therein lies the problem with using Jira requirements management. You can’t be Agile and maintain documentation with Jira alone.

When the requirements of existing features aren’t readily available, it can be challenging to add new functionality or fix bugs without breaking those features. And it can be difficult for QA teams to perform regression tests after features have been implemented.

Escape the problems of Jira requirements management. Explore Jira alternatives >

Solve It: Use Requirements Management Tools With Jira

So, how do you solve these problems with Jira requirements management?

Add a requirements management tool to Jira.

This will help you efficiently manage and track requirements — and relate them to Jira issues. It can be done with an add-on or via an integration.

Either way, you’ll solve the problems that come with managing requirements in Jira alone.

Track Requirements

By tracking your requirements in a dedicated tool, you’ll be able to manage them more efficiently.

So, no matter where a requirement is in the lifecycle, you’ll be able to find it — and everything else it impacts. That includes Jira issues, too.

Share Requirements

Using a requirements management tool makes it easy to share requirements with stakeholders. And it helps you maintain a single source of truth for your project requirements.

So, everyone will be able to stay on the same page. And you’ll be able to trust that your requirements are up-to-date.

Reuse Requirements

Adding a requirements management tool will make it easy to reuse requirements across your projects.

That helps you save time when setting the requirements for a new project. (And it helps you standardize your requirements across projects.)

Manage Requirements Change

In a requirements management tool, you’ll be able to analyze the impact of requirements change immediately.

Your requirements will be connected to related items — such as other requirements or Jira issues. So, you’ll know what else will be impacted if requirements change.

Follow Agile Best Practices (and Retain Documentation)

A requirements management tool lets you be Agile — and retains the documentation for you.

So, you can focus on following the best practices of Agile development, knowing that your requirements will be documented for future reference.

Add Helix RM to Jira

Helix RM is a requirements management tool with an add-on and integration for Jira. So, Helix RM makes it easy to connect requirements to Jira issues. Learn more about the integration >

And, to see Helix RM for yourself...

Manage Requirements in Helix RM