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DOORS (Dynamic Object-Oriented Requirements System), What? When? How? Why?

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rcm2 limited has considerable experience and expertise in Systems Engineering/System Integration processes, Requirements Management processes and IT tools, in particular the DOORS database from IBM DOORS. We have a number of DOORS licenses that are shared among our DOORS User Group for various client projects and internal consultancy as well as bespoke solutions.

We also run specialist DOORS/DXL training courses as part of our consultancy and bespoke solutions for clients and so far over 100 people have been trained in the use of DOORS by our consultants. The various areas where DOORS is used by rcm2 team are as outlined below:

DOORS for Standards Traceability Management
DOORS is a software tool for managing complex projects. It is used to store multiple Documents and Tables containing project requirements and other information. You can readily import Word and Excel documents and Access Tables into DOORS as it is both document-centred as well as spreadsheet-like. For example a typical standard may contain information notes, guidance notes and requirements. By importing the standard into DOORS:
• All individual requirements may be tagged (Attribute ‘Type’= Requirements, Guidance Note, etc.) and filtered from the rest of notes without losing the remainder of information;
• Requirements may be categorised (Attribute ‘Category’ = CAT1, 2, 3);
• Requirements from separate documents may be linked showing one-to-one, one-to-many, ... relationships. This is an important feature allowing traceability through the project lifecycle
• Any project, product supplier or vendor may use DOORS Links to individual standards for example to demonstrate compliance with mandatory CAT1 requirements. SEE OUR EXAMPLE WORK FOR LUL.

DOORS is more than a document management software. It is a multi-user multi-access database environment. It ensures that all information, such as the history of the Standards documents, are stored. In long-term this ensures a full audit-trail of the justification and reasoning behind any particular mandated requirement or guidance note. DOORS allows coverage and gap analysis for example by means of suspect Links. It also provides strict configuration management and change control facility.

DOORS for Safety Case Management
We customised DOORS for management of safety information, such as a Hazard Log, Compliance with Safety Standards (e.g. RGS, TSI, HMRI Railway Principles and Guidance, LUL), project-specific safety requirements, and to implement safety case notations such as GSN and ASCAD. This led to our now acclaimed ISCaDETM product.


DOORS is a flexible tool that we have customised to support each of our client project’s needs. It is very configurable and adaptable. The key has been to identify in a project quality plan the set of procedures best fitting any particular project’s needs. These include, for example, what documents need to be imported into DOORS and which ones just referenced, who needs to be trained, how to use DOORS in conjunction with other Office tools such as Word and Excel. The aim has been to use ‘horses for courses’ and save the overall project costs and resources (staff time). Where it was decided to use DOORS on a particular project, it has led to efficiencies in time and cost of overall information management (traceability and retrieval as well as co-working). On simpler projects we have advised that simple Office tools would suffice. However, we also firmly believe it is wrong to re-invent the wheel. We have seen projects trying to invent a new bespoke requirements management tool using MS-Access. Our reply has been to demonstrate the considerable problems with this approach and explain why it is best to make most use of best breed Commercial Off-The Shelf (COTS) solutions instead.

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