Use a Framework to Plan Project Requirements

Project requirements are rarely collected and made available in a final form to a project team. Instead, requirements are often collected through an elicitation process, which involves a discovery, analysis, understanding and validation endeavor.

Usually, a business or requirements analyst carries out the requirements elicitation process. The project manager is typically responsible for planning and setting up the requirements elicitation and management framework.

Well-planned and well-managed project requirements are common characteristics of successful projects.

This simplified framework can be a guiding requirements checklist for project managers:

Organizational assets: Identify the available organizational process assets for planning and managing project requirements. The organization or project management office might already have standards, guidelines and templates that can or should be used as a starting point.

Stakeholders: Use the stakeholder register to identify the stakeholders who will help provide, collect, analyze and document the project requirements.

Categories: Identify and categorize the requirements types that are to be elicited, such as:

  • Project requirements: Business requirements, end-user requirements, functional and non-functional requirements, etc.
  • Product requirements: Technical requirements, product features, functional requirements, etc.
  • Indirect requirements: Overhead imposed by organizational or enterprise environment and standards related to security, regulations, infrastructure and industry, etc.

Channels: Identify the channels through which requirements will come in, such as business-use cases, focus groups, requirements workshops, surveys, product introspection, reverse engineering or  imposed by the organization.

Documentation: Identify how requirements will be documented, whether it’s textual form, graphically or using a formal requirements language. Identify the way requirements will be tracked — through requirement tools, Word documents or spreadsheets.

Maturity Index: Establish the criteria by which requirements are validated and qualified. Is it clear? Does it make sense? Is the criteria aligned to the project vision and goals?

Prioritization: Identify the criteria on how requirements will be prioritized and scoped. For instance, list the must-haves first. Then come the “quick wins,” requirements based on the owner prioritization, complexity and costs, the project phase, etc.

Risks: One of the main inputs for the project risk management plan are the scoped requirements. Identify the requirements posing a risk to the project. Develop risk mitigation, response and tracking plans.

Change management: Establish the criteria for detecting scope creep and basic rules for handling requirements changes for applying the change management process.

How are you planning and managing your project requirements?

See more posts from Marian.

Article source: http://blogs.pmi.org/blog/voices_on_project_management/2012/03/plan-project-requirements-fram.html

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