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Requirements management has been an integral part of the development process in various industries (especially in the military, aeronautical or the medical device industry) for years. Other industries have been adopting requirements management recently.

The automotive industry for example introduced requirements management around 1999. As requirements management spread in the automotive industry over the years, more and more car manufacturers and suppliers have been applying requirements management and making use of dedicated requirements authoring tools. Large improvements have been made in these organizations and requirements management has been established as a key discipline in this collaborative engineering environment. Now with this established discipline in place, manufacturers and suppliers strive for collaborative requirements management where requirements management does not stop at company borders.

For technical and organizational reasons, two companies in the manufacturing industry are rarely able to work on the same requirements repository and sometimes do not work with the same requirements authoring tools. A generic, non-proprietary format for requirements information is required to cross the chasm and to satisfy the urgent industry need for exchanging requirement information between different companies without losing the advantage of requirements management at the organizations' borders.

With the help of a dedicated interchange format for requirements specifications, it is possible to bridge the gap:

  • The collaboration between partner companies is improved by the benefits of applying requirements management methods across company borders
  • The partner companies do not have to use the same requirements authoring tool and suppliers do not need to have multiple requirements authoring tools to fulfill the need of their customers with regards to compatibility
  • Within a company, requirement information can be exchanged even if various tools are used to author requirements

The Requirements Interchange Format (ReqIF) described in this specification defines such an open, non-proprietary exchange format. Requirement information is exchanged by transferring XML documents that comply to the ReqIF format.

The initial work on ReqIF was done by the members of the HIS group and additional partners that were associated for this project. The HIS group is the panel of the vehicle manufacturers Audi AG, BMW Group, Daimler AG, Porsche AG and Volkswagen AG to bundle their activities for standard software modules, process maturity levels, software test, software tools and programming of control units. The common goal is to achieve and facilitate joint standards. The group that is working on the initial release of ReqIF consists of the ProSTEP iViP Association, Atego Systems GmbH, Audi AG, BMW AG, Continental AG, Daimler AG, HOOD GmbH, International Business Machines, MKS GmbH, PROSTEP AG, Robert Bosch GmbH and Volkswagen AG.

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