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

HKRP has considerable experience and expertise in Systems Engineering, Safety Assurance processes, Requirements Management, Safety Case Management and ICT tools, in particular the DOORS Next product from IBM DOORS. We have several DOORS licenses shared among our DOORS User Group for various client projects, internal management system and consultancy as well as bespoke solutions.

The various areas where DOORS is used by HKRP is described below:

DOORS for Scope / Requirements 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 can be configured to be both document-centred and spreadsheet-like.

For example, a typical Scope of Work 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 or many to one relationships. This is an important feature allowing traceability through the project lifecycle
  • Any project, product supplier or vendor may use DOORS links to individual requirements for example to demonstrate compliance with mandatory requirements.

DOORS is more than a requirements management tool. It is a multi-user multi-access database environment hosted in the cloud. It ensures all information, such as the history of the Standards and documents, are stored and accessible by our clients wherever they may be providing real-time collaboration.

On long term complex projects this ensures a full audit-trail of the justification and reasoning behind any mandated requirement, guidance note or decision.

DOORS allows fast coverage and gap analysis for example by means of links analysis. It also provides strict configuration management and change control facility without having to implement additional processes outside of the system.

DOORS for Safety Assurance Management
HKRP have successfully used DOORS for management of safety information, such as a Hazard Log, Compliance with Safety Standards (e.g. Major Project Guidelines, CENELEC, various Railway Transport Operator SMSs, etc), project-specific safety requirements, and to implement safety case notations such as Goal Structured Notation.

Again, this ensures a full audit-trail of the justification, reasoning and evidence behind any safety requirement decision with ease.


DOORS is a flexible tool that HKRP has 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 system engineering management plan, safety assurance plan and quality plan the set of procedures best fitting a particular project’s needs.

These include, for example, what documents need to be imported into DOORS and which ones are referenced, who needs to be trained and how to use DOORS in conjunction with other systems such as Model Based System Engineering (MBSE) tools.

Our aim has been to treat DOORS as a business-as-usual outcome integrated into the HKRP Integrated Management System and save overall project costs and resources. 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 collaboration).

On simpler projects we have advised that simple Office tools would suffice however, we also passionately believe it is incorrect to re-invent the wheel.

We have seen projects trying to invent new bespoke requirements management tools using MS-Access, MS-Excel or even MS-Word. Reasons for this can be varied such as cost of the tool, requirement ownership, competency, lack of understanding, doing what was done on the last project, etc).

Whilst no organisation sets out to be inefficient, there may be a false economy battling with office tools resulting in grossly inefficient outcomes. Our response in line with our values has been to demonstrate the considerable problems with this approach and explain why it is best to make most use of best-in-class Commercial Off The Shelf tools such as DOORS configured for their needs instead.

If you would like to understand how HKRP can assist your next project or to improve a current project, please contact us.

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