The category of modeling tools, design products, and requirements management all fit into a pre-code step that many software developers looks upon askance. They're often associated with a bureaucratic approach to project management that flies in the face of Agile. In fact, Agile's ungainly dance with design in general is still an ongoing effort, of which more needs to be written and understood. On large projects, it can be difficult to state requirements, do the design work, and still maintain Agile's orientation towards accepting even welcoming new changes from users.
Those issues notwithstanding, I've noticed that most large or mid-sized projects with mission-critical implications invariably do indeed gather requirements carefully and design the product accordingly. Agile, if it's in use in the organization, typically is most evident in the coding and testing stages.
What this shows is that tools that can capture requirements, help illustrate and validate design, and plan the implementation are still very much needed. More to the point, though, the products must be less heavy than in years past and more easily configured to fit the needs of the organization, rather than implementing a specific methodology to which the organization must migrate its orientation, if not its processes.
The winners of this year's Jolt awards are ideal tools in this respect. They're easy-to-use, complete, and integrate well with other tools, especially development environments. As a result, they bridge the no man's land between the requirements/design and coding stages, leading to the type of collaboration that enhances the development process systemically.
As usual with the tools categories, we award three prizes: the Jolt Award for the top product, and two Productivity Awards for the runners up. These three products were chosen from an original field of 10 finalists and were tested by each of the Jolt judges, who include David Dossot, Gary Evans, Jon Kurz, Larry O'Brien, Gary Pollice, Mike Riley, Roland Racko, Steven Weiss, and Peter Westerman. As before, we thank Rackspace for kindly providing virtual machines for us to use to test products in the Jolt judging process.
The Jolt Award competition for coding tools is now underway. To see the Jolt schedule for the remaining categories, to nominate a product, go to our Jolt information page. To inquire about being a Jolt judge, please contact me diretly at email@example.com