I’m often asked “Are there any free, open source requirements management tools?”
This question is often asked by friends whose companies are using tools like Word, wikis or bug trackers to manage requirements.
In this post, I will list a few free requirements management software tools – and discuss the pros and cons of such tools.
Before I list the tools, one quick clarification. This post is not about using bugtrackers or wikis or other such tools for managing requirements. It is about dedicated tools which are often referred to as:
- Requirements management tools, Requirements management software, Requirements management system
- Requirements tracking tools, Requirements tracking software
- Requirements gathering tools, Requirements gathering software
List of Free Open Source Requirements Management Tools
- OSRMT (Open Source Requirements Management Tool)
- This is an open source requirements management tool that works in a “client-server” model. i.e. You first install a server, and then you install a client on your computer.
- At the time of this post (Apr-2012) – this project is no longer active.
- This is a free requirements management software that is a follow-on project to OSRMT listed above.
- At the time of this post (Apr-2012) – this open source tool also uses “client-server” model, but they do plan to release a web-based version in the future.
- This is probably the best open source requirements management tool listed here.
- This is a free requirements management tool targeted at developers.
- At the time of this post (Apr-2012) – it does not seem to offer a GUI (graphical user interface).
Pros and Cons of Free Requirements Management Tools
Free, open source requirements management software tools have the following pros/cons – when compared against commercial requirements management software.
- The software itself is 100% free! This can save your organization a lot of money over expensive commercial alternatives.
- Due to the code being open source, you can customize it yourself to meet your organization’s needs.
- There is a popular saying in the tech circles here in Silicon Valley: “Open source software is free only if your time is worth nothing.“
- This is certainly true of open source requirements tools too. It is going to take a non-trivial amount of time & effort to install and maintain these tools. Make sure to take this into account.
- A lot of free, open source tools are great – I love Firefox, and this blog uses WordPress and Linux. All three are built by very active open source projects. Active open source projects often create awesome software.
- However, in the requirements management space – open source projects seem to be not very active at the time of this post (Apr-2012).
An Affordable Commercial Alternative to a Free, Open Source Requirements Management Tool
After you check out the free, open source requirements tools listed above – you may decide to look for an affordable commercial alternative. If you do, cloud-based requirements management software from Accompa can help you; it has an affordable pricing model. Check out the product tour or request free trial.
BTW: In addition to being affordable – Accompa is also 100% cloud-based, so you don’t have to invest your time installing or maintaining the software.