Monday, March 21, 2011

Top Tips for running a successful Software Asset Management programme

Launching and running a Software Asset Management programme can be a daunting prospect. Follow these top tips to make sure yours is a success.

1) Get buy-in from senior management

Before launching a Software Asset Management programme, make sure you get buy-in from the Board. This shouldn’t be difficult once you’ve explained the benefits that Software Asset Management can bring (such as increased efficiencies, cost savings and compliance) but it is an essential step in creating a successful programme given that it will involve every software user across the organisation.

2) Set your goals

Setting business goals is essential to the success of a Software Asset Management programme. They will help measure your success at various points along the line, keeping you on track and focussed.

3) Break down into phases

Embarking on a Software Asset Management programme can seem like a mountain; difficult to climb and full of impossible obstacles. Breaking down the project into specific phases will help it seem like a less daunting task and give satisfaction to all involved when each phase is completed. This will help you build towards your ultimate end goal.

4) Select appropriate Software Asset Management tools and providers

There are various Software Asset Management tools on the market which can significantly help facilitate and drive your Software Asset Management programme. These tools can make Software Asset Management a much less manual and time-consuming task. For most programmes, there is a need for several tools to be implemented, including asset inventory tools and licence management tools. When choosing a Software Asset Management specialist to help with your programme, ensure that they can provide the correct tools for your business, rather than you trying to fit your needs to their unsuitable tool.

5) On-going Management

After the initial implementation of your Software Asset Management plan, you need to develop an on-going management plan. From its initial purchase to its retirement, every aspect of each piece of software should be managed and recorded as part of a good Software Asset Management programme. You also need to create policies and procedures for effective deployment of software plus training programmes for certain pieces of software to help staff get the most out of their tools.

6) Check the authenticity of new software

Make sure you only buy software from reputable providers and resellers in order to avoid buying counterfeit products.

7) Share your success

Promote your achievements so that the entire company knows about your Software Asset Management successes. Sharing your triumphs with other departments and levels of the organisation will not only ensure you get a pat on the back for all your hard work, but make sure you receive on-going support and confidence

Monday, January 10, 2011

Microsoft Word Integration

When we first started this little project, one of our aspirations was to move customers away from creating and managing requirements in Word to using our requirements tool. And we had great reason, it provided so many benefits such as collaboration, reporting, traceability, and soooo much more.

Fast forward over five years later and we still find customers at large just prefer to document requirements using Word. OK, we get your hint customers. So after scratching our head and pondering how we can allow customers to have the best of both worlds.

We are on the heels of development building a Microsoft Word integration that will knock your socks off. In a nutshell, a GatherSpace customer can document their requirements from Word and push them to the cloud without even having to log in to

Here's how it works.
1. Customer opens up Word.
2. Customer clicks on the GatherSpace Tab (and logs in from MS Word)
3. Customer uses their favorite template and documents their requirements the way they love to.
4. They Tag (right click on a requirement) and mark them as a type of requirement
5. When ready, they simply publish the tagged requirements to the cloud.

This is just the tip of the iceberg folks. We're also looking at a way to regenerate your PRD from the GatherSpace project right back into your Word doc and have the ability to synchronize your project in both directions.

If you have any input or feedback, feel free to email us at and let us know if you have any suggestions.

Stay tuned..........We're looking at Q1 2011 for our beta.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Significance of Use Case Modeling

Gatherspace has recently provided new functionality that allows customers to turn their use cases into a use case model. Since the release, while many customers have enjoyed this functonality, we have also had many people asknig us what the benefits are?

First off, if you haven't seen the example, you can click the link below to see what it looks like.

Here is a brief summary of why having a use case is so helpful.

1) The use case model puts into perspective the relationship between the actors and the use cases. Often times the use cases by themselves can confuse people as to what the context is until you group all of the use cases together.

2) Having a contextual view of the system at the highest level is necessary before you can drill down into specific use cases. Many systems have so many actors so understanding the context of all actors together is helpful.

3) Once the context is understood, you can then view the use cases in a visual metaphor which is good before discussing each use case. Many people will get their "a-ha" moment when looking at the use case model, rather than at the specific use cases alone.

For some people, the use case model may not be as beneficial. But, it's there for you if you want to try and explore.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Release of Sample Requirements Data

A common question we get from our customers is 'Can you show me a sample project so I can get an idea of how to get started'? We have heard this enough to take this question serious and provide a very simple link for creating a sample project. When a user creates a new account, at the bottom of the features navigation there will be a link to "create sample project".

By looking at the sample requirements management project, rather than needing to read through the manual or even watch a training video, it becomes obvious how to manage requirements just by looking at the test data.

The sample requirements data will be available starting late October or early November.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Social Networking within Project Management

I'll be the first to admit that trying to find a reason for implementing new technology is not as prudent as finding a business reason for the technology. That includes trying to find various usages for social-networking functionality not necessarily on social networking web sites.

Some people in the office have been kicking around the idea of integrating social-networking features within project management and/or requirements management. Many of us are on linked-in and facebook, and we like the idea of sharing with people
-- what they are doing right now??
-- sharing any new thoughts??

If you have a mini-social network within your project team, it's definitely doable to share features or ideas within the project team. If someone adds a new features and you select to share it, when people log in to the project tool you would see:
-- Fred Gates just added a new ecommerce feature
-- Sean Smith is posing the question about xyz

Yes it could work, but is it a stretch? The short answer is that we're not sure and until we start seeing a gravity towards this kind of functionality in other tools and having customers consistently request this functionality, this won't be a part of the project management platform for some time to come.

But we'll keep an eye on it.... Happy Labor Day Weekend!!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Benefits of Copying Features (and objects)

For a few years now, one of the most common items on our wishlist has been the ability for customers to "copy" objects from one project to another. (objects referring to features, requirements, and use cases). If you think about a project as a big folder with features and requirements being physical files, you should be able to copy these features from one project (folder to another).

As of now, GatherSpace has provided the ability to map features from one project to another. The problem with this ability is that it's been totally confusing for customers. We see scenarios where one customer changes it on a project and it no longer makes sense in the context of the originating project.

For this reason, we will be removing the ability to map features from one project to another and just allow customers to copy information from one project to another.

In working with the project managers and engineers of GatherSpace, we expect to roll this functionality out by late August. We always welcome ideas and comments regarding this newly anticipated functionality.

~Kyle, Senior Account Manager

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Experiences with Requisite Pro

As a business analyst in LA for close to ten years, I've worked both as a full-time employee and indpendent consultant working for typical LA based fortunte 500 companies including Warner Brothers, The Capital Group, Countrywide Financial and Sony. Honestly, I'm not tooting my own horn. These are very stoggy, conservative companies and the projects are typical not exciting, management is often over-weighted and slow to make any decisions. One other thing all of these firms have in common is that they want to adopt a process, usually RUP, but stumble through it and find they can't get there because of their enormous size.

I have used Requisite Pro at all of these companies, and the end result has proven unsuccessful. Now I'm not saying Requisite Pro is the cause of the failure, it's usually the fault of overall adoption. Lets face it, a tool is only as successful as the employees allow it to be. If one person has a fax machine, it's useless in the world around them. Same principal applies to software, and to requirements management tools.

Since I have seen the failure of Requisite Pro at all of these companies, I will tell you the common reasons for the failure and will get to some positive aspects about the software as well.

1) The Price Just for starters, although this isn't a reason for failure, only the deepest of pockets need to deploy a tool that goes into the 20-88,000 dollar price tag. ReqPro was built to layer into Rational Rose so they could offer requirements management.

2) Complexity of Parent-Child Relationships Requisite Pro provides vary interesting parent-child relationships in all elements of requirements -- features, software requirements, use cases, glossary terms, test cases, etc. The problem is that this complexity strangles any business analyst who wants to keep their project simple. Features are typically not parent-child based, software requirements are. There is no way to keep the project simple, unless you read documentation for simplification.

3) Microsoft Word into Req Pro, but not vice versa? Requisite Pro provides a pretty slick way of providing the ability to document everything from Microsoft Word and then migrate the document into your Requisite Pro hierarchy. After several hours on hold with IBM and speaking with several Rational consultants, there is NO way to reverse engineer requirements from Requisite Pro back into a Word document. This seems like such an obvious request, yet if you want to keep your document updated, you have to do it manually. Doh!

4) Use Cases with no Diagrams I love use cases, especially the visual context of use cases, although another Requisite Pro abortion is the lack of diagramming tools from within Requisite Pro. Any IBM expert will tell you that's what Rational Rose is for, but what about the 9 out of 10 business analysts who don't have access to Rose or don't care to have to juggle multiple layers of overloaded tools

5) Reports are plain ASCII If you like to build requirements documents in plain text, maybe this tool is for you, but for the 99% of the executives who like to bold, italicize, add images, layer in color, your out of luck with any recent version of Requisite Pro.
Requisite Pro has some pretty nifty features, my favorite being able to provide traceability at all requirement levels and being able to segregate and workflow all requirement elements -- but not for the $6,000 a seat price tag.