A frequently asked question to us is, whether R&D processes need to redesigned to get them “ready” for taking Polarion into use.
– Answer: No. You can start immediately, while working as you do today. Most importantly, your team can remain productive the whole time. There is no reason to allocate resources for tedious workshops up-front.
Keep your experts on projects – get help from a partner
Surely, you cannot take your key resources away from their project work to come up with “new processes” that a new tool requires. But you don’t even have to. Polarion can be adapted to your ways, not the other way around. How to do that effectively without getting overwhelmed? – Well, that’s exactly where an experienced partner saves everybody’s time:
- Start with one project, with very few documents or little data
- Taipuva provides a base process, which is 80-90 % right for you
- We shall gather experience while doing, and adjust as needed
- Tool’s process configuration is flexible and easy to change on the fly
- Expand further after getting confidence
Step 1 – Keep writing (specification) documents as today
Polarion’s unique LiveDocTM makes it possible to start with zero experience and very easily! Just write documents – with a difference that now it’s online, real-time editable by multiple people simultaneously and always available as the latest version.
See the figure of a Polarion live document above and notice:
- Write it just like an ordinary document (you can import from Word and Excel, too)
- You can mark parts as objects – they receive unique IDs for easy reference
- Paste images, use tables, edit graphs, etc.
You don’t have to care about a “process” at this phase. The only thing to decide is to choose the types of objects, but even they can be changed later on. When the document is ready, simply take an export as a PDF or Word, e.g., for the purposes of approval or publishing it for your organization.
Step 2 – Get benefit from workflow and status control
A logical next step is to start using the metadata of the individually identified objects. Instead of just handling the document as a big chunk, you can take control of individual pieces – and therefore drill down to most relevant parts. You may also want to use any number of custom fields for giving a certain format or categorization for your specifications.
The figure above shows an example of an online review that is easy yet very powerful. Each object item is handled separately, so the content quality can be improved very precisely:
- Each item has a status and a responsible owner (plus other metadata as needed)
- Stakeholders can give their opinion (approved/disapproved) and comments
- External stakeholders can be involved online or with Word/Excel roundtrip
Disapproved items and comments can be decided about, online or in meeting(s). The document content converges fast to top quality. All history is stored in the tool for later reference of the review.
At this phase, the workflow can be adjusted to the needs of the organization. Electronic signatures may be applied as well but they can be added later too, if you want to start using Polarion as an electronic archive.
Step 3 – Take advantage of automatic traceability
This is one the most compelling benefits of Polarion: you can write ordinary looking documents, but yet you can link parts of them to form an automatic traceability matrix.
When you start writing other documents, the content of which is derived from the first one, then:
- Just create another online document in Polarion
- Choose which types of items you have there (e.g., System Requirements, Functional Descriptions, Test Cases for verification or validation, etc.)
- Choose which type of link(s) you need between the item types
- Create links between items – just by clicking them
Voilà! There is nothing else you need to do, in order to track or maintain the traceability matrix. It helps you enormously by showing where you have gaps. For regulatory purposes, the real-time traceability table can be embedded into documents, or shown and exported as a separate report.
The underlying “process” and “information model” of Polarion can be adjusted while you go. It can be made to fit your style of writing specifications, design specs, tests, plans – whatever you need as part of your documentation.
Step 4 – Expand to other process areas
Previously, we described how to advance with requirements management or documenting design inputs or design itself. It is usually the starting point. However, in some cases you might want to start by specifying test protocols for quality assurance (QA), which is quite possible, too.
Expansion to other process areas is recommended, when there is a natural need for it – e.g., for combining requirements and design with verification or risk assessment. Documentation can take place using the easy Polarion LiveDocs. The big benefit is traceability, which can be established with a click of a mouse – as different items are in the same tool.
At this phase, the actual process configuration for test management, risk management, etc. can be adjusted, when you get to it. There is no need to design all details up front. When you are using Polarion, you can rest assured that the processes can be covered and they can be made to fit your needs.
If you work in a regulated industry, such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals or automotive, you may want to validate Polarion according to your governing quality policy. This does not have to be done until you want to use Polarion’s electronic records as your quality master.
For medical devices and IVD, according to ISO 13485 and the guidelines of ISO/TR 80002-2, Taipuva has a ready-made validation package. It and our service makes the validation take place in few days, instead of weeks or months without experience.
ON BACKGOUND: Building blocks of infrastructure and service
In order to get to the described fast cycle of starting with Polarion, it needs some expertise and a service concept that saves the effort of your experts and cuts down the required calendar time. The figure below summarizes the building blocks of a successful service:
What is needed from a customer, who wants to do it?
- Vision for the way forward – willingness to improve efficiency and quality
- Budget commitment – but note that this yields almost immediate payback!
- Minimum amount of own resources: project coordination and process owners who can make decisions on the adjustments needed
- People who start using Polarion in their work + possibly others for reviews
Taipuva’s track record is getting organizations productive with Polarion in just one week! You can apply this concept for either rolling out Polarion for real or for evaluating it. Contact us for a quotation, and let’s do it!
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