How effective is your requirements management process?

robotic arms in a car plant

Bachmann electronic GmbH specializes in automation technology dealing intensively with open systems and the continuous extension of holistic automation solutions. Its product spectrum ranges from the proven controller technology to web-based HMI and SCADA solutions via extensive visualization hardware and versatile networking possibilities. Its developers realized they needed practical requirements management to reduce the number of tools its comprehensive software suite manages while improving and accelerating the departmental workflow integrations. The entire operational process of development needed to map across departments in one system to simplify and expedite collaboration.

Cobbling along with outdated methods

Bachmann’s software portfolio is complex and requires management of varying dependencies, product requirements and functional specifications. They managed it.  Somehow. With something. But not satisfactorily. And not at all integrated.

The old processes combined with the many different tools and mapping dependencies made requirements management – largely managed in MS Word documents – particularly difficult. It needed an ALM system that could cover requirements management and the entire product development operational process.

Polarion is the obvious solution

After rigorous due diligence, Bachmann discovered that working in a document-centric manner was the way to go. It engaged experts at  BCT Technology to deploy Siemens Digital Industries Software Polarion® ALMTM application lifecycle management (ALM) solution. BCT is a Siemens recognized expert in Polarion and a platinum level solution partner.

The Bachmann team selected Polarion because it manages requirements at the work item level, as other solutions do, and in a document-centric manner. “These features were requested often from users,” says Michael Ebnicher, manager of tools and runtime at Bachmann electronic GmbH. “Because we already used MS Word documents and were used to document-centric management, the transition to the new system was easy since we didn’t have to change the mindset too much.”

“Polarion made a good, well-rounded impression right from the start. And BCT as a system partner made a good impression, too. We quickly had the feeling that BCT cares about our needs, shows commitment and can answer inquiries competently.” 

Michael Ebnicher, manager of tools and runtime at Bachmann electronic GmbH

Local partnerships help optimize business outcomes

BCT engineers developed an interface between Polarion and the test management solution and involved AKKA Industry Consulting GmbH, their local service partner. Martin Anliker, manager of business development at BCT, explains, “We work with partners like AKKA in a wide variety of projects when it is appropriate thematically or geographically. We know that we can rely completely on our partners and focus on holistic customer support and project and solution coordination. This way, we can deploy the required competencies in a targeted manner to provide the greatest possible benefit to our customers.”

At Bachmann, some developers still using traditional project delivery instead of agile methods are discovering the possibilities of using Polarion in agile project management for requirements management. “Polarion is triggering a real paradigm shift in areas where the introduction of agile methods previously seemed impossible,” Ebnicher observed.

Polarion has been in productive use since March 2020, growing from 80 users at launch to over 120 employees now working regularly in the solution. Currently, the company is rolling out Polarion bug tracking and establishing its associated workflows to enter the identified bugs directly into Polarion and track them via the software’s ticket system.

“It is important to us to enable our customers as quickly as possible to map their processes independently in Polarion and to manage and further develop the tool on their own. Our focus is on process coaching and enablement of key users.”

Martin Anliker, Business Development Manager, BCT Technology GmbH

Two tightly aligned partners and one delighted customer

The partnership with BCT and AKKA was especially valuable during the pilot phase when developing the connector for test management. The developers and consultants involved in the project are highly experienced and shared many best practices that could be applied to many other areas of the business. “The ongoing collaboration is beyond satisfactory and the support is fast and competent. We regularly engage to optimize our processes and exploit the potential of Polarion as fully as possible. As a result, our competencies constantly get better – and so do our products,” concludes Ebnicher.

As a result of deploying Polarion ALM, BCT and AKKA helped Bachmann optimize processes by consolidating approximately ten teams into a single system and created a common way of working. At the same time, BCT and AKKA gained valuable experience and further intensified their cooperation and partnership. Together they form a very competent team that is ready for new projects.

Ralf Steck – Die Textwerkstatt is a German freelance technical journalist in digital product development and has been active for almost 30 years.

Bachmann electronic GmbH specializes in automation technology for particularly robust devices and develops, builds and supports control systems for machines and plants. The company, founded in 1970 in Feldkirch, Austria, employs over 500 people at 24 locations worldwide.

BCT Technology GmbH is the Swiss subsidiary of the leading German Siemens Digital Industries Software Solution Partner, BCT Technology AG. With a focus on product lifecycle management (PLM) and application lifecycle management (ALM), BCT Technology GmbH advises its customers in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Vorarlberg based on Siemens software technology.

BCT Technology AG is a specialist for software solutions and services computer-aided design (CAD) and PLM and is a long-standing Siemens Digital Industries Software development and platinum partner. BCT is recognized by Siemens for its specializations in Germany for NX, Teamcenter and Polarion. Additionally, BCT develops add-on software for the Siemens portfolio sold worldwide by Siemens and its partners.

AKKA Industry Consulting GmbH is a preferred service partner of BCT Technology in the environment of ALM. AKKA creates added value by optimizing processes and introducing methods based on best practices and industry-specific experience and requirements.

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