Requirements Management Tools

Recommendation: Contour from Jama Software

Every now and then I come across a product that really does an exceptional job at what it was designed for. The problem with trying to find good IT tools these days is that there are just so many of them out there. At work I needed a really good RMT to help me document, sort, collaborate on and finally publish 1000’s of new system requirements.

I reviewed just about every reputable RMT on the market. The selection criteria was actually pretty basic:

  • Must be totally online with no client needed
  • Must have flexible and affordable licensing model
  • Must have great import and export capability
  • Must have a very natural and easy to interface
  • Must be highly customisable
  • Must have a very good review system
  • Must support templates
  • Must support multiple projects
  • Must have excellent customer service and support

Let me save you all the hard work I did and just go buy Contour from Jama Software.



Platforms vs The World

So you want a new app? New online services? New CRM to connect with your customers? Your a startup? Multi-National? Government Department? You read an article once about how the new Service Orientated Architecture was the next big thing, but it wasn’t. Then you heard about multi-channel and before you could finish the text book omni-channel landed on your desk asking where is your strategy?

Its a confusing time in the ICT multiverse at the moment and its not getting any easier to make decisions. I have just started my MBA and ironically the first subject I have enrolled in is titled “Managing Under Uncertainty”. The second is Digital Marketing. The academic world however doesn’t  help answers questions about how fast the ICT world moves unless it involves Digital Marketing. Its a fun course that leads to some serious questions for managers. Especially in relation to getting the best advice to make an informed decision.

The old guard are still designing solutions around an outdated paradigm involving the creation of yet again another custom database to hold your ever so unique customer names and address fields that are either not at all or only loosely validated against any PAF or GNAF source.  I was surprised recently by a casual conversation  with so called senior IT staff whom insisted that the creation of custom fields within a COTS application was a unique concept.

On the forward thinking side of the fence the Platforms have taken away the need to think about the basics and focus on the business side of those ever so important but microscopic customisations that deliver the real business benefit to system users and customers alike. It’s a new  “outsource” world that challenges the lengthy old school development efforts to keep pace and deliver real benefit in our new, ever connected omni-channel world.

Its time to re-think our approach. SOA has arrived but its wearing a new set of clothes designed in the App Store and deployed to the Platform.


Runners Knee to Barefoot Running – Chapter 10 – The End

From my experience I would recommend anyone who has had running injuries or is just curious to go barefoot. I really don’t like running in shoes now.  It is not going to be for everyone and for me it has turned into a challenge to see how far I can go. But I do have to admit that there are times when it is just more practical to wear shoes for me. For example, the ground gets really hot here in summer and feet and hot paths are the perfect recipe for blisters!

Along the way I have purchased a new slow motion sports video camera and I am now going to focus on analysing running form as I see this as a natural progression from where I have come from.


Runners Knee to Barefoot Running – Chapter 9

I am still going to do the half though. And so I did. In my shoes which was disappointing but I finished in 1:53 just short of my 1:45 target. Since the half I have been slowly trying to repair and get back into full barefoot. My VFF’s are still awesome and I love running in them. I have been running to and from work all week (6km each way) and feel pretty good at the moment. Still have some achilles heel issues but managing it with a new electric pulse device but that’s a whole other post. One more chapter and i consider this journey done!


Runners Knee to Barefoot Running – Chapter 8

Its a really cold day and I dont want to freeze my feet. And that is exactly what my VFF have been great for.

That is until I did something silly like increasing my distance too soon. I went from 5km to 7km then 12km barefoot in just two weeks. As a result I have ended up with Metatarsalgia in my left foot, Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendon pain.

Of course this happened with only 4 weeks to go before the Bay Bay Half marathon. So I have been stretching and backed off my training.   Consequently I really have only one week to train now and no choice but to put my shoes back on. I find it ironic that I missed the last half marathon I entered because I got a knee injury from poor running form and this time I got injured without shoes. Can’t catch a break at the moment. I am still going to do the half though.


Runners Knee to Barefoot Running – Chapter 7

”Its the journey that counts”

And what a journey it has been so far. I ran 12km barefoot the other day. But now it is getting dark earlier. That means hats with lights in the peak and a greater risk of injury from all the little “ouchies” on the running path. Bring on the vibrams. I love these…I was almost going to say shoes but they are more like rubber soles for your feet. I only run in them when I have to as barefoot still feels much better but they are awesome for when:

1. I am not sure about the condition of the running trail

2. Its late at night

3. Its a really hot day and I dont want to burn my feet

4. Its a really cold day and I dont want to freeze my feet.


Runners Knee to Barefoot Running – Chapter 6

Lets keep it real people.

Blisters! Blisters! Blisters!  The thing never to be told is the pain of the hardening of feet. Lets take a few minutes to think about it. You were born with no shoes. In some countries you are never afforded the privilege of wearing a pair of Nike or Asics shoes.Yet you somehow manage to randomly find  your way to elite running races and win. Need proof. Google Zola Bud.

If you are a Victim of Shoes (VIS) and want to free yourself there is only one way. Take them off. So far it has been a long and hard journey  My first barefoot 5km took me 37min. Today it took me 32 and I hardly raised a sweat.

In the interest of science I might put my shoes back on and see how long it takes me and what kind of injuries  sustain.  Ok. Self challenge accepted. Locked in for tomorrow. Stay tuned.

In the words of Phil Jackson who coached  the Michael Jordan era of the Chicago Bulls …..”Its the journey that counts”…………………..


Runners Knee to Barefoot Running – Chapter 5

I am going to continue to go barefoot.

I am going to start every new post with the last sentence of the last post. Just for fun. Hence the first sentence.

I hit the gym yesterday and did 1km barefoot on the treadmill. It felt good. None of the calf pain I originally dealt with but plenty of top of foot pain. I actually should not be running at all. My body is saying rest. But if listened to it all time I would end up like millions of salad bar dodgers needing lap band surgery. NO EXCUSES. Pain heals. Well that is kinda funny but for my own mental health I needed a run.

I decided to head down to the water front and run barefoot for 5km. If I walked a bit, I walked. No big deal. My feet have to toughen up and will just have to get used to it. After about 3km my feet were burning like crazy and I could feel the huge blister on my right foot growing with every carefully selected foot placement. I ignored it and concentrated on the lifting of my feet after the heel drop, kicking back and landing under my hips, back straight.  I eventually found some grass it was a nice relief for about 1km then I headed back to my car. The last 400m were really hard. Every foot placement was agony. Finally, 5km done, 37mins, 369 calories.

Side Note: A lot of information exists about how to go barefoot but little about the actually pain you might go through. So I am going to keep this story of adhoc chapters about mostly pain. Lets keep it real people.


Runners Knee to Barefoot Running – Chapter 4

Been on a cruise for two weeks. Told myself that I would be good and not eat too much and hit the gym on a regular basis. What can I say….I tried. 🙂  Only put on 3kg.

But I did manage to get in a few barefoot runs around the deck. It was  good place to begin barefoot running becuase it was flat, no sharp objects and course was short, 400m.

The first run was good. I did a mile and felt ok. Had some minor pain in my calf muscles but apart from that it felt good. I rested for a day and decided to go run two miles. After the first 1/2 mile the top of my left foot was really sore. I continued running not thinking too much about it because I was only going really slow and put it down to just a little niggle from making the transition. I should have  read a few more blogs. The pain the next day was terrible. It felt like I had broken a bone in my foot and I could hardly walk on it. That was the end of my running for the cruise.

I have since learnt that top of foot pain is very common among runners making the transition to barefoot. I have come across 4 main theories:

1. Stress fracture

2. Tendonitis

3. Pinched Nerve

4. Scar tissue from toes starting to move apart now that they are not protected by a comfy shoe.

Personally I like the 4th theory. It is not likely that I broke anything running around a flat 400m track. I didn’t run long enough to get tendonitis and can not see how a nerve got itself pinched up on the top of my foot. The scar tissue I am not sure about but it does make send that as your foot starts to become accustomed to its new role in life of actually supporting you that it will need to change its shape.

I have now also developed a similar but less painful issue with my right foot. I have used some rock tape to support it and done some massage which has really helped. I am going to continue to go barefoot.



Runners Knee to Barefoot Running – Chapter 3

My knee has been really really sore and painful. So much so that I have been unable to go for another barefoot run until today. Older and wiser I decided to do start out on the treadmill. What can I tell you.

1. Well, after about 500m your feet get really hot hitting a synthetic rubber pad that keeps forcing your foot backwards.

2. This eventually turns into a blister on toe (big toe in my case, damn that pronation!)

3. Followed by “Hey I this is your calf muscles and ankles and that arch your foot. If you dont mind too much we need a rest”

4. Ignore body parts and continue. You are after all running.

5. 1km in 7:35. not breaking any records but feeling good.

6. Ignore stares from curious onlookers in $250 running shoes landing heel first and grabbing knees at end of run.


Update. I can now run 2km on the treadmill. Socks help.