In a previous blog, I wrote about keys to successful project delivery were effectively keeping track of risks, issues, and action items will minimize added scope. In this blog, I will talk about how it’s important to set clear requirements before kicking off a project.
Imagine building a house. If you don’t have a design plan or a technical drawing your builder will not have a clue what they are building. You know you want a games room but if there is no clear vision of where it will be, how much space you need and what it contains it likely won't get built.
At a basic level, a requirement is something which should be 'done' or is an actionable item. Project requirements are the tasks, and features that need to be completed for a project to be deemed successful. They allow for everyone involved to have a clear understanding of working toward the various goals for the project. Typically they are determined in the discovery phase where you undertake requirements gathering.
Consequently, they form your scope, milestones and deliverables. Once the requirements are all understood by the team and agreed upon by the clients every key member of the project team knows what all the building blocks are and the end goal becomes much clearer.
There are 4 main steps involved in the project requirements process:
Having initial discussions with your stakeholders establishes top-level requirements.
Once you've spoken to the stakeholders you'll get an idea of the business objectives and success criteria. Documenting them allows everyone to keep track of them.
Once documented these requirements are converted to user stories and form the basis for your project sprints. Monitoring and keeping track of these is key.
The final part is making sure the requirements that drive scope are kept within budget
More than a third of all projects fail because of a lack of clear requirements. But if we have an accurate picture of requirements and business objectives, and have a project plan to stand behind then everyone involved is more informed.
If we don’t know what the end goal is and how to get there it will be a rocky road to the end.
Capturing proper requirements sets the foundation for an eventual outcome that all parties will be content with. For all the stakeholders, end-users and other involved parties to have a holistic view of the product, it is imperative that proper and meaningful requirements have been captured, analyzed and shared.
Not only are they part of the overall solution but they drive budget, schedule, and deliverables. 80-90% of the work of a Business Analyst or Product Owner is accomplished if the project team understands what they building and what the end goal is.
The final outcomes of the project are measured against the agreed requirements.
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