IBM has begun an open beta programme for BM Rational Requirements Composer, the second product based on its Jazz ALM (application lifecycle management) platform.

Requirements Composer, due for general availability by the end of 2008, is intended to help software delivery teams gain a consensus on project design. The tool actually is first used by those who stipulate application requirements, which are then filtered to developers.

"This is a tool really for the business analysts, product managers, more business-oriented users," said Dave Locke, Rational marketing director.

Requirements Composer features visual and collaborative components, such as storyboards, sketches, scenarios, and models. Business analysts can solicit ideas and clarify business issues before committing resources to a project. The tool provides an alternative to manual, unstructured processes, Locke said.

Users of Requirements Composer could, for example, set up requirements for a loan process application, he said. Pricing for the product has not yet been set.

Jazz is IBM's project to build a software development platform for distributed teams. The first Jazz product was Team Concert, enabling collaboration between teams and using technologies like instant messaging and presence awareness. Version control and work item and build management capabilities also are featured.

IBM plans to have 20 products available by the end of the year that leverage Jazz technology. Among these are Rational Quality Manager, for managing a test lab, and upgrades to the ClearQuest process automation tool and ClearCase configuration management tool.