Requirements, Requirements, Requirements!
Posted on 10th October 2017 at 12:32
How many times have you or your organisation embarked on a new project and it has failed in the later stages because some essential requirements have come to light that hadn't been captured?
I have seen this many times which has then needed the project to go into exception and recovery.
Why is it important to fully gather the requirements?
Requirements gathering is a critical part of any project definition and understanding fully what a project is expected to deliver is essential to its overall success. It is is an area that always seems to be scrimped on, especially when the message from the senior management is ''We want this in ASAP". I am sure this rings true with many reading this.
Over my many years in project recovery a large proportion had started with the minimal list of requirements, only to find in the latter stages of the project that a crucial requirement hadn't been defined and therefore a large amount of change has been needed. In a few, a number of assumptions had been made incorrectly which is always a recipe for disaster. See my previous post.
The cost of making a change in a project is significantly increased the further in it is found!
The majority of the projects could have been successful by producing a statement of requirements. This document is a guide to the main requirements of the project. It provides:
A clear statement of key objectives for the project which can be tested.
A description of the environment in which the system is to be used.
How you want the system to look and feel to meet with corporate needs.
If there are interfaces, how and when they need to work.
What the constraints are within the project.
Once you have created your statement of requirements the next critical step is to ensure your customers and all other stakeholders involved have signed up to it and understand that what has been defined is what will be delivered.
What you can do to increase the success factors
Identify the right end users from the very start and get them involved so they feel they have a stake in the end result.
Clearly define and agree on the scope of the project before it goes any further. Run through with the customer, tell the story through the requirements
Make sure requirements are SMART - specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based. You need to be able to test against these requirements to ensure they are met.
Don't assume! Clarify any points if there is any doubt.
Avoid trying to think of any solutions until the requirements are fully understood. This is a common area where customers want a technology or solution without understanding what the problems are in the first place.
If its possible why not create a prototype or wireframe, to confirm or refine the customer's requirements.
Perform an exercise to prioritise the requirements, for example, 'must have', 'should have', 'could have' and 'would have' - known as the MoSCoW principle.
Requirements gathering is about creating a clear, concise and agreed set of customer requirements that allow you to provide what the customer wants.
From experience, spending more time in gathering and agreeing what the project is to deliver saves time and money during build and testing so pays for itself.
If there are time pressures for delivery of the project you are about to start then don't try and save time by reducing the effort to gather the requirements.
If you are about to embark on a new project within your organisation and need some unbiased advice to make sure it gets of to the very best start then contact Green Giant Consulting today on 0844 259 6210 or visit the website to book your free initial 2-hour consultation.
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