Savvy Shopping for COTS Software


the List!
The models you've created serve multiple purposes, so don't throw them away! These requirements will not only help you identify candidate packages but also will become the basis for evaluating the candidates. To test how well candidate COTS products will deliver your high-priority features, data, and rules, have vendors execute your scenarios in demos. Remember to grade the candidates on both user and nonfunctional requirements.

Also use your shopping list of requirements when implementing the selected COTS package. Use it to structure your project plan, placing early emphasis on interfaces with other systems. Your requirements models, especially the scenarios and business rules, should be the basis for preparing test cases. Study your "as is" and "to be" process flows to identify where and how users' work will change. This analysis will help you make plans for easing the inevitable challenges that users face when first utilizing new software.

Save yourself aggravation and thrashing by being a savvy COTS shopper. Set the context for your shopping expedition, and use business and user requirements to find products, select the best fit, and implement your COTS solution.

Further Reading

About the author

Mary Gorman's picture Mary Gorman

Mary Gorman, CBAP, CSM, and VP of quality and delivery at EBG Consulting, helps business and technical teams collaborate to deliver products your customers value and need. Mary works with global clients, speaks at industry conferences, and writes on requirements topics for the business analysis community. She is currently co-authoring a book with Ellen Gottesdiener on essential agile requirements practices.

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