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Bring Your Architects and Developers Closer

Until recently software architects have been using pen and paper to sketch out project requirements. Maintaining the whole process manually and offline makes their job difficult – whether it is to meet the deadlines or do major modifications to software codes for even a minor change in the associated requirements.  This has adverse effects on both the time and cost of a project. However, with the evolution of modeling tools in ALM domain, all these pains have significantly reduced. Now the architects have better ways to deal with design complexities as follows:

  • Viewing systems from multiple perspectives
  • Discovering causes and effects using model traceability
  • Improving system understanding through visual analysis
  • Discovering errors earlier and reducing system defects
  • Exploring alternatives earlier in the system’s lifecycle
  • Improving impact analysis, identifying potential consequences of a change, or estimating modifications to implement a change
  • Simulating system solutions without code generation

It is evident that advanced modeling tools have made the architects’ life easier to a great extent. However, in the context of facilitating an entire project team, there are still certain areas where productivity needs to be improved. Some of the major areas of concerns are:

  • Manual Communication: Though the modeling tools help Architects create designs proficiently, the process of updating or sharing information amongst the teams is still manual. Sending updates on a design getting completed or any change happening in the associated requirements still happen over a series of emails and phone calls. Such manual communications lead to unnecessary delays that may steer an entire project through the edge of risks. 
  • Lack of Real-Time Update: Managing Requirements and Design artifacts in two different tools prevent architects from getting real-time updates on any change in the associated requirement(s). Architects need to hop around tools to receive and provide updates about their design implementation status, thereby degrading the overall productivity of an architect. 
  • Lack of Traceability: Most of the software projects lean towards failure due to a lack of traceability between requirements, design models, and development codes. Architects and Business analysts use spreadsheets or some other offline mediums to establish relationships between requirements and design artifacts. This often leads to missing information, loss of productivity and fall in quality. 
  • Impact Handling: They say “Look before you leap”. So in software development process, if a change request arrives, it is very important to analyze the impact before jumping into the change implementation steps. Without proper visibility into the traceability relationships, verifying the impact becomes even more difficult, rather impossible.

Integration makes a difference

Today, integration between different tools has knitted the teams closer to each other, with the artifacts easily getting shared across the tools and team members. However, this has still left some room for productivity improvement. The architects mostly use desktop tools for their job, which limits them from viewing the Requirements from within their environment. This makes the architects to login to the RM tool for viewing the details and changes if any. This indicates that just an integration between two tools is not enough to serve the purpose.

How Kovair helps to achieve such integration

Kovair Omnibus a proprietary integration platform helps organizations to establish integration between best-of-breed, legacy, homegrown, and open source tools of various phases in ALM ecosystem. At present, Omnibus provides integration with 60+ COTS tools and many homegrown tools of different companies. The platform works on SOA architected Enterprise Service Bus – ESB model and integrates with tools through Adapters/Connectors and Plug-ins developed by Kovair. For integration with design tools like EA, RSA, and Rhapsody, Omnibus uses both plug-in and adapters or connectors.

Here is a sample use case to explain the integration flow between Kovair and Rhapsody using Kovair adapter and plug-in for the tool.

A set of Requirements comes from a client and gets maintained in any popular Requirement Management Tool such as Kovair, DOORS, Jama, and others. These requirements get decomposed by architects into different designs for better understanding and implementation in different design tools like Enterprise Architect, Rhapsody and others. Kovair Omnibus plug-ins for these designing tools allow users to connect to the RM tools and import requirements directly to their interface. Now, having the requirements right inside their tool, they start working on them and link the same with the design elements of the diagrams. On completion of the design models, they can push the entire data along with the diagrams as an attachment to the corresponding RM tool through Kovair Omnibus plug-in. Once this information is passed on to the RM tools, business users on the other side get a complete picture of the design elements created against a requirement.

IBM Rhapsody Integration with Kovair

Fig: A sample scenario depicting Rhapsody integration with Kovair Omnibus Integration platform

     Figure:  A sample scenario depicting Rhapsody integration with Kovair Omnibus Integration platform

Thus, plug-in based integration provided by Kovair helps architects to do everything right from their design environment and eliminates the need for manual hand-off between architects, developers and business users. This improves overall quality and productivity of the architects. On the other hand, it also updates other stakeholders with the latest status and traceability, thus increasing the accuracy and predictability of the release.

Kovair Omnibus creates an integrated or synchronized environment for software architects and other project stakeholders across the application lifecycle stages. This ensures seamless data flow across tools, cross-lifecycle transparency, macro and micro-level process automation, correspondence of activities across disciplines and live cross-tool metrics using Reports and Dashboards.

In addition, by importing the entire design artifacts from design tools to Kovair ALM platform, project managers can also see a complete change history of design projects and gain greater insights into the evolution of software design diagrams. This gives them a better control over the design artifacts being created, modified and reviewed among team members. By linking the design models with corresponding codes being developed, developers can also trace back to the design models and the source requirements for which they have written codes. This creates an end-to-end traceability among artifacts and keeps every stakeholder in sync across the development stages.

Sugata Dutta is a Software Engineer, involved in the Customer Solutions and Services at Kovair Software. He is an expert in configuring Kovair ALM solutions to satisfy the business needs of various customers.