Service-now as a Software Requirements Management Tool

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I am currently working with a customer who is implementing a large scale software configuration to replace an ancient system in desperate need of retirement. Our written software requirements are stored in the customer’s tool, Service-now. If you head over to their site, they proudly promote their benefits (as they should):

  1. Web 2.0
  2. Complete and modular
  3. Unrivaled extensibility, flexibility, & agility
  4. Always on the current version
  5. Integration has never been easier
  6. Scalable
  7. Security is their prime concern
  8. Flexible deployments
  9. Truly fair licensing
  10. A real partnership

Take a good look at these features. All of them address deployment or integration, but none of them describe the features of actually using the product. After diving in and using it for several months, it has turned out… average. No software is perfect, and we have had to develop several workarounds to get the level of functionality that we need.

First and foremost, data entry is tedious. Adding a new entry requires the user to use the mouse to select the option for a new entry, which then displays a new entry screen. This is unwieldy, so we have developed Excel templates to be able to quickly enter user stories and acceptance criteria. The software requirements contained in the Excel files are uploaded into Service-now, which is a painless process in itself. It would save time and be more encouraging to enter requirements off of keystrokes instead of pausing to click a button after every entry.

Next on trial is the access time. Sometimes we run what would seem to be a harmless query, but Service-now takes so long that we resolve to reset it and avoid that particular query in the future. Although some of this problem can be solved by intuitively indexing tables, the administration becomes very large very fast. Be ready to test your database administrator’s skills as you watch the query time drag on.

Service-now does have are redeeming qualities. It is easy for users to navigate and utilizing web 2.0 to load in the browser is a win-win for the user and his resident IT department. Every bit of it is fully customizable so we can get exactly what we want (most of the time). The lack of speed with which one can add new entries is understandable because of the import and export features for standard formats like Excel. Why reinvent the wheel?

All in all, Service-now earns a B.

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