The Connected Engineer: A Requirements Management Story




Requirements are integral to our daily lives: whether you’re looking for a job that pays six figures, buying a house with 100,000 square feet, or are searching for a wedding venue that offers an outside ceremony and inside reception. Organizations also have requirements that are placed on their products – whether industry mandated or internally determined. In Episode 7 of The Connected Engineer, we discuss how organizations can implement a complete requirements management strategy. Teejay Momoh, Global Systems Engineering Solution Architect at Cummins, led us through how his organization made the move from managing requirements in Excel spreadsheets. 

Inside the Episode

One of the top reasons that projects fail is incomplete requirements, and even large companies like Cummins, a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services Internal Combustion Engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, are not immune to this. Teejay quotes George Bernard Shaw by saying that “the single biggest problem in communications is the illusion that it has taken place.” When Teejay started at Cummins they were using Microsoft Word and color coded excel documents to keep track of requirements. Not only was this confusing team by team and department by department, but different terms were being used and people were interpreting the terms differently. There was no succinct definition of requirements management across the organization. 

These challenges led to extensive requirements for a requirements management tool at Cummins. Teejay explains, “it should just work.” They needed a tool that dictated high level process but had flexibility to be customizable for different group’s needs. It also had to be simple enough that everyone could use it, instead of just one expert. It had to configure notifications based on business logic at the user, project, and system level. The list goes on and on but finding the right tool was vital to their requirements management success. 

Fast-forward to 2017 and Cummins has a formal requirements management process in place. Benefits they have received include better product engineering, early problem detection, cost saving, better customer engagement, and more. 

Check out our podcast to hear more about implementation strategy as well as quick wins and tips for your own requirements management process.